Santorini

When we arrived in Santorini, we got off the ferry and found George from Pension George where we staying in Kartados, a small authentic bit of Santorini located 10 minutes away from Fira, the main town of Santorini. It’s funny because I think we thought before we came to the Greek islands that they were going to be a lot like Key West with only one town on them but Santorini is pretty big and has a couple of different little towns on in it. To get from the port, George drove us in his van up the incredibly narrow, hairpin turns on the mountain.

(driving away from our ferry)

I don’t think I had ever been on a road that tight and scary. Once we arrived at Penison George and we met Helen, George’s English wife who runs the pension, we knew we were in good hands. Helen said she met George on vacation from England and never went back. They have two daughters who are teens who grew up on Santorini. Our room was again, 35 euro and amazing. It overlooked the property pool with a nice balcony and a huge loft bed with a kitchen and a tv.


We knew we were getting too used to luxury but we were so happy to relax a little while in Greece. We swam for a little while in the pool, while meeting a couple from Canada and a family from Northern England who were also vacationing there.


The outside of our room!

We went to the market and bought supplies for our kitchen and made some pasta for dinner before I fell asleep at the ridiculously early hour of eight.

The next morning, after some eggs for breakfast, we walked into Fira and made a reservation for a boat trip the next morning.



Wildflowers!


Beautiful view from the port of Fira.


Fira, little houses clutters on the caldera.

We window-shopped and looked around, watched people ride on donkeys up from the old port to the stop of Fira.

Santorini is built on a caldera and is extremely high off the water at points so people often take donkeys from top to bottom, well tourists do mostly. It is pretty sad for the donkeys it seems. After enough whining to each other about the sad state of the donkeys, we knew it was beach time. The bus schedule was complicated and expensive so for the same price we decided to rent an ATV(four-wheeler) with helmets to get us the 30 minutes to the beaches.

It was very scary at first since most cars and semi-trucks just pass you and the 4-wheeler must be driven on the main road which often includes sharp turns. I(Kelly) was petrified for my life and made Ellie drive and held on so tight and was praying to who knows what, but I relaxed a little halfway through and enjoyed it because we got to see the countryside of the island, including the wine roads and the small authentic villages and little churches.


It’s so nice to go wherever you feel like going and whenever. We started at the black sand beach of Perivolos which is black because of the volcanic activity on Santorini. Santorini is actually an archipelago of islands in the Aegean Sea. Santorini, itself is what remains after an enormous volcanic explosion, destroying the earliest settlements on what was formerly a single island, and leading to the creation of the current geological caldera. The black sand was gorgeous but really hot because of it’s dark color.

The cliffs were beautiful and the water really refreshing. We laid on the beach eating some snacks we brought with us, telling lots of Thai men and cd-hawkers that we weren’t interested in the fine art of massage and that we couldn’t understand the cds because they were in Greek so they should leave us alone. Aside from that, it was gorgeous. We decided to check out the red sand beach next. We rode our ATV, stopping a lot for photos.

Once we got to the red sand beach,

we realized we had to hike down a mountain to get to the sand and umbrellas and felt that in flip-flops that was a bit too complicated so we headed home. We went for a swim, ate dinner and then took our 4-wheeler to Oia which is the northern tip of Santorini, famous for it’s sunsets. We took this beautiful coastal road there which was flat with little traffic and just vineyards and cattle.

It was a gorgeous moment to be flying through some Greek countryside on an adventurous motor vehicle with our helmets on. Once we made it to Oia, it was packed similar to Mallory Square in Key West.

Walking to the sunset in Oia.

The sunset was worth it though as it was almost neon pink and unblocked by the clouds.

Getting home was a little scary on our 4-wheeler as we had to take the mountain roads in the dark with huge trucks coming around turns and passing us. We honked the horn every single time we came around a tight turn, holding our breath that we would make it back to Pension George with no head on collisions, which we thankfully did.

The next morning, we awoke and returned our vehicle and headed for Fira where our boat trip was taking off. Ellie slipped on some marble and scraped a huge chunk of her foot off and that was when we realized that perhaps we should have worn sneakers for this boat trip, rather than flip-flops.

This was confirmed when we got to Nea Kameni and had to climb up tons of rock paths to see the volcanos.



The volcanic material which formed Nea Kameni.
The volcano last erupted in Nea Kameni in the 50’s but is set to erupt at any time. The volcano is over 3000 years old. It didn’t look like what you see in textbooks but was just a crater full of rocks.



Ellie sitting on top of a volcano.

Our guide did tell us to hold our hands over the earth in one spot about 2-3 inches
deep and the spot was scorching hot on the surface from all of the heat being generated below. Our guide said that magma was only 3 km below us. After the volcano, we went for a swim around Nea Kameni in the sulfur hot springs.

Sulfur is not the nicest smelling water to swim in but it was fairly warm, although not so hot like you would imagine it. A lot more mild than what came to mind. We met two couples who were traveling separately but both happen to be from Florida as well. Gainesville and Destin. We chatted with them for awhile before out boat pulled into Thirasia island where you had the choice to stay on the bottom for lunch or climb 500 steps to see traditional Manolos.

The zig-zags is where we had to walk up.

Thirasia

The view from Manolos

So this group of donkeys was coming up the narrow path with little concept of my personal space, almost knocking me down a 500 foot cliff. Notice my face.
Well, we decided to climb the marble steps in flip-flops to Manolos where once we arrived at the top, we realized it was so traditional that there was nothing but houses to see in the scorching heat so we came back down and ate a rather disappointing tomato ball lunch at a trap called Capt. Johnny’s before taking the boat back to the harbor where our trip concluded. We said good-bye to our fellow Floridians and went home to finish off some Greek salad we had made and left in the fridge and watching bad tv before drifting off.

The way to the port to catch our ferry.
The next morning, we went to this amazing restaurant next to our hotel where we ate stuffed grape leaves and then headed to the port to catch our ferry back to Athens to catch the train in the morning back to Patras and then the other ferry back to Ancona. We slept at Evangelo’s apartment for 4 hours before having to wake up and travel for 48 hours straight. It was the longest we had to travel yet and we were sad to say good-bye to the amazing vegetarian food that Greece had offered but we knew that on the other sad awaited Rome and some really good red wine.

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