Friday, August 29, 2008

2008 Greece trip: Santorini is MAGICAL

After Crete we headed north to a very small island called Santorini. If you've ever been or heard of or been to Santorini then immediately your face will light up when you read this. Santorini is beautiful, exotic and yes very magical. Everyone who has been is enchanted.

Santorini is essentially what remains of an enormous volcanic explosion. It was formerly a single island but after the volcano blew it created a giant lagoon is surrounded by thousand feet high steep cliffs on three sides. Some think that Santorini is the origin of the lost city of Atlantis.

The santorini caldera is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my entire life. I still can't believe how beautiful it was. The beautiful cliffs rise majestically out of the Mediterranean and are frosted with white villages with winding paths and endless staircases. Here you can see the new volcano raising out of the Lagoon. A thousand feet above the lagoon the island villages are nestled on the caldera's edge.

Santorini is famous for it's black sand beaches. This however is known as Red beach. But Santorini is not only a great place to enjoy geology. The beach is just as great too. We made our way to the beach on the first day and as you can see we really enjoyed it.

After the beach we headed to Oia the northern most tip of the main island which we heard was rumored to be the best place to watch the sun set. It felt some how so pagan to be up on the cliffs with hundreds of people to watch the setting sun.

We ate at a very posh restaurant overlooking the caldera. We had a beautiful view of the lagoon and the cliffs. By the time we had eaten our squid and fish-kabobs the sun was glowing over the Mediterranean.

The view from our table
We tried to take pictures but it was REALLY windy.
more views from our table.

Goodnight sun. You were great today. No complaints at all.

We stayed until dark. Everyone else had gone. We had the place to ourselves. It was so Romantic. Both Megan and I were wishing we could have swapped the other one out for our husbands.

Goodnight Moon. Goodnight sun setting over the Mediterranean. Goodnight beautiful Grecian village.

************** * * * Santorini Adventure Day II *****************

The next day on magical Santornini started with Donkeys. Lots of Donkeys. Megan and I decided to do a glass bottom boat ride tour of the Lagoon. The only way to get to the tour is by way of the old port. No cars can access this as the trails are way too windy. The rich tourists can pay $$$ or Euros to ride the donkeys down but of course Megan and I were too cheep to pay for it and opted to walk instead. Walking wasn't really too bad except that we were the only ones doing it. The Greek Donkey drivers scowled at us for not supporting their lifestyle. We realized that most people vacationing on Santirini are in a richer class than we are. The donkeys didn't seem to notice that they were sharing the road with humans other than the ones on their backs. They butted us out of the way when the path became too narrow and switched us with their tails when we got to close to them. We hiked down and down the narrow steps navigating around tons and tons of donkey dung until we reached to port.

Once at the old port we hopped onto a ship and we set off to explore the Lagoon.

You can kind of see the switch backs at the edge of this photo.
the Lagoon.
Stop I: Volcano.

The Volcano seems rather flat and desolate if one compares it to the towering cliffs which enclose it. However considering that this volcano was responsible for one of the biggest eruptions of all time, and has had volcanic activity as recent as 1957 it makes this island of black rock very interesting. The jagged volcanic rock provides a beautiful contrast to the smooth waves inside the lagoon. From the top of the crater you can see all sides of the Island.

On the Volcano looking out at the broken part of the Caldera that turned out to be stop III.
Our beautiful boat.
Stop II: The hot springs.

After hiking around on the volcano we re boarded and sailed around the volcano to a smaller island in the very middle of the Lagoon. This island is famous for its hot springs heated by thermal activity of the still active volcano. It was too shallow for the Boat to dock so we dived off the side of it and swam to shore. The hot springs were so warm and wonderful. We could have stayed for hours but then the boat called us to shore.

Stop III: The broken off island Thirassia. The most memorable part of this trip was lunch. It looked like this (Above) It was delicious.

Stop IV: Oia. Once again everything you ever wanted in a Greek village.

Good by Santorini. I hope I see you again some day soon. I would recommend you to all of my friends especially Jake Michaelson and his wife Jaz whom I am delighted read my blog.


JEM said...

GORGEOUS. My jaw was hanging open as I looked at your pics. And thanks for the shout out. I'll keep working on Jake. Hopefully we'll be able to wear him down eventually.

Evenstar said...

Oh! I am writhing with envy. You get to have all the fun! I want to visit Greece! Although I think I would skip eating squid.

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Sugarsmax said...

Wow, I love the photos. You have to tell your favorite 5 year old volcanologist to have a look at your blog. Good night moon, good night little house, good night mouse. . .

Grace Rich said...

These pictures are amazing Joan! It looks like a fabulous trip!