Santorini is a thoroughly enticing volcanic Greek island in the Aegean Sea. It is one of the Cyclades, and was devastated by the eruption of a massive volcano in the 16th. century B.C.
Perched on the cliffs, Fira and Oia, the two prominent cities of the island, stand watch over the enormous underwater crater called the caldera. The most recent eruption was in 1950, but was a relatively minor event.
The famous Santorini donkeys who provide transportation from the port, as well as their likenesses to the labels of the local Santorini beer. They are notorious for leaving steaming trails of pungent pony pucks on the stone streets for some poor guy to sweep up throughout the day. In ten trips to Paris I’ve never stepped in dog crap, but I stepped in donkey dung twice in only three days. It’s so beautiful here that it’s easy to get distracted, and the next thing you know you’ve trodden in it.
FIRA – Fira, the capital city, is comprised of whitewashed houses built on the 400 meter tall Western edge of the semi-circular island of Santorini. It can be accessed by car on the East or by donkey or on foot on the zig-zag path from its Western port. A cable car is also available for 6 euros.
SUNSET FOREPLAY – Now, what you don’t see is an obnoxious Chinese version of Austin Powers, except the guy had bad skin instead of bad teeth. He is about four feet to the left of the young lady, and he is babbling orders at her as if they are shooting a clothing ad for H&M. Meanwhile, his yammering is ruining the beautiful view that I am trying to enjoy with my beverage. Thankfully, they departed after five minutes, and I am convinced that I got the better photograph. First, she didn’t look so good from the front, and I’m positive I had a better composition.
CARPET OF THE SUN
Meanwhile steps from my room, a dip pool offers a twilight swim.
Sunrise on my side(the cheaper side) of the Fira.
The donkeys head down to the port to ferry up their first customer’s of the day.
GALINI – This is my go to breakfast place for the duration of my Santorini experience. They provide a fluffy omelette with a considerable lineup of ingredients.
THE VIEW THAT COMES FREE OF CHARGE WITH BREAKFAST
FIRA TO OIA HIKING TRAIL
It is an 11 kilometer trek to Oia, and thankfully there are a number of places to pick up water along the way. It takes a good three hours if you stop to take pictures.
SIGHTS LIKE THESE MAKE THE 11K A LOT EASIER TO ENDURE
One of the many enticing view lounges offered to guests willing to pay 500 euros a night for the privilege of staying in one of these cliffside hotels. My air conditioned single with a very comfortable bed ran a most economical 60 euros, and I am five minutes from these cliffside views.
Another lovely property that I suspect costs a pretty penny. Did I mention that I have an ocean view from the deck outside my room?
I LOVE THE WHOLE BLUE AND WHITE COLOR SCHEME, AND COULD SERIOUSLY GET BEHIND A FLAG LIKE THAT
ACCORDING TO MY LIVERPUDLIAN FRIEND, COREY, YOU CAN CLIMB TO THE TOP OF THAT MESA
THE RIM OF THE CALDERA
WILDFLOWERS ARE IN ABUNDANCE ALONG THE TRAIL
VOLCANIC ROCKS MAKE FOR AN AESTHETICALLY PLEASING WALL
INTERESTING GEOLOGICAL FORMATIONS ARE EVERYWHERE TO BE APPRECIATED
THE CITY OF OIA DOESN’T LOOK SO FAR AWAY, BUT IT IS AN HOUR AND A HALF BY FOOT
FORTUNATELY A YOUNG LADY HAPPENED BY WEARING A TOP THAT MATCHED THE CHURCH’S DOME TO A TEE
I RISKED FALLING TO MY DEATH FOR THIS SHOT
REMINDS ME OF A BOAT CALLED MEGALOPS BELONGING TO AN OLD FRIEND IN BERMUDA
THE LAST KILOMETER TO OIA
The town was a mob scene with traffic to match. You have no idea what it took to get a clear shot of this church. Nothing but people and selfie sticks everywhere.
OIA – Clusterf**k Central
FUNNY LITTLE BOOKSHOP
ECRU – Stylish Boutiques
FINALLY FOUND A QUIET SPOT IN TOWN
Oia has lots of nice shopping, as well as boutiques with big-name luxury brands and expensive jewelry.
That high point on the left is where people go to watch the sunset. I can’t even begin to imagine how crowded it gets especially after dealing with the town in the middle of the day.
It was a mad dash to catch my ship to the island of Nea Kameni. I had been taking a nap, overslept, and ran for the cable car that takes you down to the seaport. Fortunately I made it in the nick of time, grabbed a sandwich to go and leapt onto the boat before they pulled away.
NEA KAMENI – This island is the uninhabited dome of volcanic activity in the area and our destination.
OUR SHIP IS PARKED IN THE MIDDLE
That is the freshest lava field on the island, having been dispensed during the last eruption in 1950.
This is an active crater with gases escaping on a regular basis from those white colored rocks on the right.
Islands in the distance comprise the rim of the caldera.
CALDERA RIM IN THE DISTANCE
SANORINI, THE MOST SUBSTANTIAL CALDERA RIM
THIRASSIA – We parked next to this island for a lunch of souvlaki, dolmas, and other treats.
It was about this time that I met Corey and his wife Sarah on their fifth wedding anniversary. They have actually been together 16 years, and are enjoying their second visit to Santorini. We bonded over our mutual dislike(putting it mildly) of Morocco, as well as our sly wit. Santorini has turned out to have everything. Beautiful sights, fine dining, great shopping, cute donkeys, volcanoes, history, charming churches and most importantly, an unexpected friendship.
AWAITING SUNSET WITH A LITTLE JAZZ
OTHER BOATS VIE FOR POSITION
I MANAGED TO MAKE GOOD USE OF THIS INTERLOPER FOR MY SHOT
There was a very small window of opportunity before the sun ducked below the clouds and out of sight. However, there was a pleasant afterglow.
GALINI – My daily breakfast routine.
NEA KAMENI – Volcanic dome.
CRAZY DONKEY ALE
YELLOW DONKEY ALE
SANTORINI ROAD RALLY
SMART CAR CABROILET
NAOUSSA – A restaurant that knows what to do with four large prawns. Now we go from seafood to seafood art. Some of the pieces address the issue of overfishing which is yet another challenge our planet faces.