Santorini, classically Thera is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (120 mi) southeast of Greece’s mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera. It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area of approximately 73 km2 (28 sq mi) and a 2011 census population of 15,550. The municipality of Santorini includes the inhabited islands of Santorini and Therasia and the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana. The total land area is 90.623 km2 (34.990 sq mi). Santorini is part of the Thira regional unit.
Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island, and created the current geological caldera. A giant central, rectangular lagoon, which measures about 12 by 7 km (7.5 by 4.3 mi), is surrounded by 300 m (980 ft) high, steep cliffs on three sides. The main island slopes downward to the Aegean Sea. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Arriving into Santorini, we prepared for bad weather – again. After a quick breakfast, and a tender transfer to the island, it was a trip up the cliff face in a cable car and to find the car hire company that Lindley had organised for the day’s adventure. The alternative mode of transport up the cliff is by donkey but they have a habit of leaving you with smelly clothes for the day. They are not the gentle kind of beast one would like between their legs either.
Lindley had never driven on the right hand side of the road so I’m sure he was happy for our help, “keep me near the gutter” although, that didn’t help when we passed one rubbish bin and found the right hand rear vision mirror facing a different direction than it was meant to be. Long grass on the side of the road, was often mown down by that same mirror. It is not known if any side walkers suffered the same peril.
You know when you hire a car in most countries, the attendant asks that you bring it back full of fuel? Well, our guy asked us to bring it back almost empty, because “it is almost empty anyway”. Obvious to the educated, we purchased fuel at the first service station; 10 euro worth. Fuel is much more expensive here, up to twice the prices in Australia per litre – why do we complain about fuel prices?
We found a beach area away from the main town and walked along what becomes a very busy resort in the high season. Cafes side-by-side all along the foreshore, each with a perfect Mediterranean view of the ocean and black sandy rock between. No one seems to enjoy lying on the ‘sand’ so beach lounges are provided to make money out of the tourists. We stopped by a café for 60 minutes or so to soak up the atmosphere and rest a little before trying to find some ruins that Lindley had taken note of while doing his research back home. We paid 3.50 euros for the car park and then baulked at the entrance fee of 12.00 euro. Fortunately we did bypass the ruins as it gave us much more time at a village at the other end of the island, the village of Oiu.
Just near the ruins was the “Red Beach”. If you take a look at the photos, you will work out why it is called “Red Beach”. (But then my guess is that more people just look at the photos and don’t worry about the ‘written word’ anyway. Why am I writing this?)
Narrow roadways, with huge coaches to pass and overtake, at times, made driving even more tedious for Lindley but he managed well – we are still around to tell the tale. (He did ask us if our life insurance was paid up before we took over the car – why worry about life insurance if you’re gone any way – such a kind guy. Oiu, like most of the villages on Santorini, is perched on the top of cliff faces. I’m not sure how the rates are calculated or how the council guarantees “you can build your house there but there is no surety the house wont end up in the ocean in the middle of ‘a’ night”.
Quaint shops line each side of the narrow pathways. The buildings are generally painted white with blue window shutters and doors; similar to Mykonos. Of course, the obligatory photo of Santorini includes a church with its blue dome roof – of which, there are many to choose from.
I collect patches to have sewn on my ‘photographers vest’. This town is one of the most difficult to shop in for patches. However, I do manage to find one but not really to my liking. I kept trying and finally in the last laneway we walked for the day, we found a really smart patch at last. Lyn H, I have another 13 patches that need your attention.
After returning the rental car, which Lindley was worried my navigational skills would not lead us to, it was time for a quick look around the main town of Fira and to test out the gelatos before boarding the cable car for the transfer to the ship.
After a later dinner than normal, we thought we would try the “Jazz and Jive” dancing lesson. The facts are now confirmed that Lyn and I are not born to dance and have withdrawn from this year’s edition of ‘Dancing With The Stars’. That, I am sure, you will all be pleased about. Well, we are anyway.
On our way back to our cabin for the night, a “Do not say YES or NO” show was being recorded to be played back in our staterooms for tomorrow. So we stopped by. Many of the contestants were surprised that they used the ‘not allowed’ words so easily when asked not to. It was good entertainment.
Tomorrow, we are at Sea for the day before, arriving at the port of Kotor, Montenegro.
Even the shortest journey expands the world.