The next morning we both took showers in the aqueous environment of our little bathroom, which did a perfectly competent job of containing all the water.
Stairs to the tavérna
We went down the stairs to have breakfast at around 9:00 or 9:30 (having nothing but relaxation planned for the day, and therefore no need for precise timekeeping). We took a shaded table—the ones outside the roof's shelter were pleasant only at night. The English page in Níkos’ Akrogiáli website describes the sun as “boiling hot,” and although this unintentional hyperbole needn’t be taken literally, it’s true that, even in October, no one really wants to sit and eat a meal entirely unsheltered from its rays. We ordered toast, butter, jam, and what the menu billed as choriátiko (‘country’ or ‘village-style’) cheese; it turned out to be Cretan graviéra, which we’d both come to like. Beyond there, our tastes diverged: I got yogurt and honey, with coffee, while Dorothea ordered fresh orange juice to go with her toast and its supporting cast.

Our breakfast delighted not only ourselves, but a crowd of flies and wasps, who descended on all of its sweet components. As their numbers grew, so did our anxiety (mostly on Dorothea’s behalf, as she’s allergic to bee-stings). But after we'd emptied a couple of jam packets, we pushed them to the other side of the table. Some of the insects went to frolic undisturbed in their sticky residue, and there were fewer intruders left to shoo away from our food.
Busy day in Káto Zákros
We sat all morning reading on our terrace, made comfortable by the big tamarisk’s shade and a cooling breeze. The flowers on the tree attracted butterflies and little finches, as well as bees (who paid us no attention), and we did nothing to disturb all this peacefulness until it was time to go downstairs and eat lunch, beginnning with a shared Greek salad. Greeks call this choriátiko salad, indicating that it—like the graviéra cheese on the previous night’s menu—has rustic origins. This isn’t a put-down—many a Greek comes from a small rural village (the word for which is chorió) and I suppose some percentage of those who move to larger places to make a living may develop snobbish attitudes, but many remain proudly attached to their country roots.

After the salad, our tastes diverged, as they often did. I had a plate with a tomato and a pepper, both stuffed with rice and meat; Dorothea had moussaká. With the usual rakí, we were served vanilla cake soaked in honey and sugar water.
Shady beach
For a change after lunch, we sat down to read on chairs that were stationed under the trees at the bottom of the steps, next to the tavérna. But Dorothea, soon pestered by tiny biting ants, left off reading and went off for a walk. I ascended to the terrace with my iPad, and when she returned she joined me there, in what remained (as far as our experience went, at least) an ant-free environment. As in Chóra Sfakíon, Dorothea’s walk led her to some sights I never saw, one of which is in this picture.

So the day passed, which, apart from Dorothea’s walk, was blissfully untouched by any sort of activity other than eating good food and reading good books. (I was deeply into Trollope’s Palliser novels at the time.) Our reward for all the effort we put into this frantic agenda was yet another good meal at 7:00.

Once again, we sat as close to the gently lapping sea as one could without leaving the tavérna’s dining area. Our shared appetizer was a plate of dolmádes. This word, like the food it applies to, comes from a Turkish original meaning ‘stuffed.’ In Greece, dolmádes are usually stuffed grape leaves, but they can also be stuffed cabbage leaves or even zucchini blossoms. The ones we got were half grape leaves and half zucchini blossoms, and were the appetizer version, which is always meatless and generally no longer than one’s little finger. The entrée version, stuffed with a mixture of rice and ground meat, is bigger and rounder. (Either type is sometimes called dolmadákia, with the added -áki suffix that means "little.")

I ordered fish again: a variety of sea bream called sárgos. (This is very similar to its name in Spanish and Portuguese.) If memory serves, I enjoyed it a bit more than the previous evening’s mullet, because of its greater proportion of meat to bone. Dorothea had keftédes. We shared a vegetable dish of green beans and potatoes, cooked in tomato sauce—a method known as yakní (more Turkish borrowings, both the cooking method and the name). It’s a favorite in our house, where it’s made in the mainland style that Dorothea learned from her mother, the sauce being flavored with spearmint. But in Crete they use cumin instead. (“Cretans really like cumin,” she remarked in her notes.) We did encounter that herb in quite a few dishes during our trip, and it was always a friendly encounter. The yakní was good, though neither of us thought there was a need to change our family style. Dessert was a reprise of the cake we’d had after lunch, which was still both good and free of charge—who could complain?