We had the amazing privilege of staying in Greece during the Greek Orthodox Easter. Even better, we weren’t in a major city that would have been bustling with tourists; we stayed in a beautiful coastal town called Nafpaktos. There were positives and negatives to the smaller town surroundings. It was a bit inconvenient because almost everything closes down for Greek Easter: all shops and most restaurants were closed on Easter Sunday, and even a good amount on Monday as well. We walked around the streets searching for lunch after we arrived on Sunday afternoon, and found almost nothing open but a small gyro chop. Luckily, gyros have become something of a trademark food of the European Odyssey, so we felt right at home.
After lunch, Tom, Nicole, and I wandered through the streets to scout out a restaurant where our entire group could have dinner later that night. We walked by some promising options, including one restaurant where an older woman was dancing around outside with her scarf in the air as a lamb roasted on a spit nearby (preparing the traditional Greek Easter dinner). We eventually chose a restaurant that we were summoned to by a friendly waiter whose response to “Do you have a menu we could see?” was: “I will show you our kitchen!” And he did. We returned later that night and enjoyed food such as traditional Greek Salad, lamb, moussaka, and pastitsio. We even exchanged wishes of “Christos Anesti” (Christ is Risen, aka Happy Easter) with a Greek orthodox monk who passed through the restaurant.
Although our stay in Nafpaktos was much quieter than usual, it was still very much appreciated to see how the people of Greece celebrate one of their most important holidays….And I finally got the smell of roast lamb out of that one outfit.