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Shazza's Escapades Light hearted look at my travel escapades

Hilly Santorini 2014

GREECE | Sunday, 25 May 2014 | Views [597]

One of the Greek islands I have always wanted to visit and I am finally here. At this time of the year the island is lovely and crowd free. I stayed in Perissa which was a very small quite beach town. The main action is in Oia and Fira.

My first full day was a long one. I started by trying to get on a local bus to Fira but after waiting 40 minutes I hopped in a taxi with some others. Fira was pretty busy but one of the locals told me that this is low season and I should see it when it is really busy. No thanks, I hate crowds. I walked through Fira town and loved all the quaint little houses attached to quaint hotels with their own infinity pools. I loved the little cobbled streets albeit covered in donkey poop.

The island is so small I could see Oia from Fira and the whole length of the island too. I decided to walk to Oia which seemed like a good idea at the time but after a couple of hours in the 30 degrees heat I started to waver. But the views on the walk kept me going. I walked right around the caldera and on the edge of the island looking into the big blue sea. Oia kept getting closer and eventually after 3 hours I reached this beautiful town. Every corner of Oia was a picture postcard view. The whitewashed buildings looked immaculate and pristine. The blue domed churches looked beautiful against the sea backdrop. I stayed until sunset as I have been told by many people that it will be the most beautiful sunset in the world, so I couldn’t miss it.

I had dinner in a small café I found with reasonable prices for the area but I found out why as the portions were tiny and it wasn’t the best food I have ever had. The views more than made up for it. After dinner I went about looking for a good spot to see the sunset and so did others. When the event did happen I realised that it wasn’t the best sunset I had seen. I thought maybe I was not in a good spot so rushed around to find other spots. It was beautiful but I don’t think it’s the best in the world. In fact the sunset in Akrotiri was much better.

When it was all over I had to find the bus back to my hotel down south of the island. The bus would only go past the main road and I had to walk 20 mins back on my own and in the dark. As I had never wandered around where I stayed before I was a little apprehensive but from memory of the map I saw I managed to get to back to my hotel without incident. The whole day lasted 12 hours and I was knackered.

While I was waiting for the bus home last night I popped into one of the tourist agencies and booked myself a boat trip excursion to the volcano and Thirasia which is the smaller island near Santorini. The bus was to pick me up near my hotel but it turned into a bit of a palaver as the hotel they thought I was staying near was actually a bit further away. Luckily the lady who owned the hotel drove me to the pick-up hotel and the bus came and got me. I realised the size of the group once I saw all the buses drop people off at the port. It was going to be a busy boat. We started sailing an hour after I arrived and we headed straight for the volcano. The walk to the top wasn’t hard but there were a lot of people. After my trip to Kamchatka this volcano was pretty crappy but the surrounding views was fab. Next stop was the thermal springs. The boat docked at an opening at the bottom of the volcano. Those who wanted to swim to the thermal pools were to jump of the boat and swim about 1 kilometre until you could feel the hot springs. The initial gliding into the sea and subsequent swim was very cold and I was hoping for it to turn warm very soon or I would have frozen and drowned. Luckily the faster swimmers yelled that they reached the warm waters and then further on it got really hot. I finally reached it too but had to float for a while to have a rest after all that swimming. We didn’t have long in the springs as we headed to Thirasia. This smaller island is about 20 years behind the main island which is quite nice. It was very quiet and there were a lot of steps to get to the top but I made it. There were many cats. It was too quiet for me. Not sure where all the people were but there were certainly more cats than people on Thirasia.

As I was getting quite hungry I found a local café right up the top of the island. I say local café but it was just someone’s house and I sat in their garden and had fabulous views of Santorini and the volcano. I had very oily battered squid and a very large bowl of Salad. Very nice but it left me queasy on the boat ride back to the main island. Another long day but I loved it.

The last 2 days I decided to spend in and around Perissa. Firstly I enjoyed my private pool which is the best pool in all of Perissa. Cold water but it had a beautiful mountain backdrop and just a few feet from my room. Then I decided to hire a bicycle as I was sick of walking all the time. Boy that was a mistake even though 5 euros a day was an absolute bargain. I forgot that Santorini is a volcanic island and when walking we don’t always feel or see how hilly it is. When cycling you definitely feel the hilly bits as your leg muscles stiffen up as you cycle with all your might. It looks flat but it is not. As I started my ride to Akrotiri I realised after 10 minutes that it was going to be a killer ride. It took nearly an hour to get there and it was uphill all the way, again you couldn’t see the hills but trust me, it was uphill. My legs were like jelly when I got off the bike. I parked the bike near the church and went exploring and then had a very long leisurely lunch as my butt and legs were not looking forward to the ride back to the hotel. On the way I stopped at the local spot where the sunset was coming up. Not many people there as most of them are in Oia but this was the spot to be. The best sunset on Santorini. Then I tried to get home as quick as possible as I didn’t want to ride in the dark as I didn’t have lights on my bike. Well I loved my ride back. I forgot that it was downhill all the way and I raced back and it was so much fun.

The last day I just spent riding along Perissa and hanging out at the beach. I didn’t particularly want to go for another bike ride but did anyway by mistake. I was trying to get to the other side of the mountain and ended up going the back way all the way to Akrotiri. I pushed my bike most of the way as I was too knackered to ride it anymore. I was so glad to see the back of that bike and was happy to return it to the bike shop. On my way back I stopped at my favourite place and bought lots of bakery products and spent the rest of the day in the pool.

I left for the airport the next morning and was greeted by a weird and unexpected sandstorm. I actually thought it was going to rain but it was just very windy and sandy. Because of that my flight was delayed and I missed my connecting flight in Athens. So I had a free room with dinner and breakfast at the Sofitel courtesy of Aegean Air. Thank you very much and lovely end to a fab holiday.

 

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