Greece Part 2: Santorini

Next up on our Greek adventure was Santorini.  It’s known for its picturesque views of the blue domed church overlooking the water and the “best sunset in the world”.  We didn’t really have an agenda for any of the islands, which was really nice.  We just showed up and played it by ear.

Once we arrived, we were greeted at the port and taken to our accommodation.  But before we went to the house, we went to the rental office to get our keys to the house and our very own car to use while we were staying on the island.  We saw this perk advertised on the website but I was pretty skeptical.  But it turned out to be completely valid.  It wasn’t quite as luxurious as our Fiat Panda that we had in the south of France, but it got us around for the most part and it had 67 horsepower (that’s 8 more than the Fiat Panda).  Behold:

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Hyundai i10 1.1 Liter

This thing was really beat up.  When we had a look at the car to mark down any existing damage, it was pretty eye opening.  There wasn’t one panel of the car that was unscathed.  Even every wheel was scratched.  The bumpers had evidence of being bumped.  The hood and grill were scratched.  Only 1 headlight was working.  Someone had put a huge bumper sticker from a local bar on the back of the car.  And to top it all off, you couldn’t get into 1st gear from a dead stop.  But really, how often do you need to get into first gear from a dead stop?  Actually, quite often.  I didn’t know about this feature when I tried to pull away from the rental office.  Looking back now, it’s obvious why all of the rental office employees came outside to watch us pull away from the office.  After the i10 refused to go into 1st gear, I did the next logical thing of putting it into 2nd gear and giving it a lot of gas.  It made for some very loud noises, but we eventually got rolling and headed off to the apartment.  I think the crowd was satisfied.  Later I realized that it works better if you put it in reverse to get it rocking backwards, then it will kick into 1st.  Lesson learned.

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Made it to our apartment

We were staying on the southeast corner of the island near Perissa beach.  There were 5 or 6 apartments sharing this pool.  It was really relaxed and we had a nice lady make us breakfast each morning.  It didn’t have all the amenities of our Mykonos place so we had to eat out for our meals here.

Santorini is also famous for it’s black and red sand beaches.  I had never seen either before, so off we went.

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Black Sand Beach (Perissa), but it doesn’t look that black

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There, now it’s black

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Most of what we did in the ocean

Looking back, the first and closest (and also black) beach was the best.  But we had to check out the rest to be sure.

After black sand beach, we had to go see the red sand beach.

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Yup, looks red

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Muscles!

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Not sure what they are looking at

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One last red beach pic

After the red and black beaches, we headed to Oia, pronounced ee-ah.  This is the postcard looking place with the blue domes and amazing sunset.  We took a ton of photos here, and for good reason.  Here we go:

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found the blue domes

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There they are. Turns out there are only a few in the whole city. I figured they would be all over the place since there are so many postcards.

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Searching for the best spot

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One of my favorites

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Tara made me awkwardly take a photo of this bride. She caught me and turned around and smiled.

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Another good one

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Megan and Hamish

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After we got plenty of the postcard photos, we headed to the western edge of the city for the “best sunset in the world”.  The secret was out on this sunset because it was PACKED.  Every available viewing spot had people camped out reserving their spot.  Our initial idea was to find a bar or restaurant that had a good view.  When we realized that was not possible, we found a spot on a ledge just outside a convenient store that sold Fix (beer) for 1.50 euros.  It had a great view, so we camped out and enjoyed some Fixes and watched the sunset.  I set off while the group reserved my spot to take some photos in the “magic hour” of photo taking time.

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Best spot for sunset and 1.50 euro Fix

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Greek flag, windmill, sunset = cool picture

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Everything is glowing

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Look at the crowds!

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Me and Hamish have trouble focusing after a few Fixes

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Group shot

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The sunset was great.  I’m not sure what makes it the best sunset in the world since if you just looked at the sun setting over the water, you could see that anywhere.  But the light on the buildings as the sun set did look amazing so that must be what makes it the best.

After the sunset, we got some dinner and headed home to our place on the complete opposite side of the island.  I was DD that night and it wasn’t that fun driving on tiny cliffside roads with 1 headlight but we made it back.  And the group took the DD out for a beer since I did all the hard work.

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On the way home from the bar, Tara became friends with a cute little kitty that we called dumpster kitty.  Although we didn’t see this actual cat in a dumpster, every dumpster we saw had lots of kittens inside.  I forgot to mention this before, but our beds in this apartment were the worst beds ever.  I would have rather slept outside on the pool chairs.  That thought inspired me to improve my bed situation by using a pool chair cushion as a mattress pad.  Tara did not like this idea.  We got in a fight over the proper use of a pool chair cushion and somehow the dumpster kitten became the bargaining chip of how the bed would get worked out.  “If you get the pool cushion, then I get to sleep with the dumpster kitty!”.  This went on for a while.  I ended up getting the pool cushion in the bedroom but also landed myself in the doghouse.  Hamish and Megan were very entertained by all of this I’m sure.  Luckily, we did not end up sleeping with the dumpster kitten.

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Hello Kitty

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Sweet sweet dumpster kitty

After a restful night’s sleep on the pool cushion, we had a busy day planned.  Megan booked us on a boat tour of the volcano (see island beyond the cruise ship below) and hot springs.  First up, we had to park in Fira and make our way to the cable car down to the port.  The alternative is the 1 million stairs route down to the port.  Actually it was 587 but it felt like a lot more.

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View from Fira, with the volcano in the distance

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Fueling up with Gyros. This was our favorite meal of the whole trip and it only cost 2 euros each!

We tried to take the cable car down to the port but the line was huge.  So we ended up doing the walk of shame down 587 steps lined with donkeys.

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Donkey walk of shame

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You could ride one down for 5 euros, but I didn’t see the point. I didn’t see anyone riding one down. More people used them coming up

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The cable car and me about 200 steps in

Finally made it to the bottom.  The next step was to get on our boat.  Too bad our ticket didn’t say which boat to get on….. We tried to get on the wrong boat and were frantically running around as the boats were pulling away.  At the last minute, they let us on to the wrong boat and gave us some dirty looks.  Even though it was the wrong boat, it was going to the exact places we bought the tickets for.  This can’t be the first time they have experienced this.

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This is the boat we took. Apparently we were supposed to be on a pirate ship looking boat. Oh well

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The hot springs are in the brown water over there.

The boat parked a good ways away from the hot springs.  It was a 2 minute swim to the hot springs.  Once you got to the brown part, it wasn’t really hot.  It was more like luke warm.  The brown clay water ended up staining anything brown.  It also stained your feet or anything that touched the bottom.  I would not go to the hot springs again.  I think we got duped on this one.  And to top it off, there were 2 near drownings on the swim back to the boat.  Two separate people (random strangers) couldn’t make the swim and were yelling for help as they fought to stay afloat.  Luckily, fellow passengers on the boat threw them floating rings and assisted them back to the boat.  I found it odd that the crew did not jump in to help the drowning customers.

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Oh hey, that looks like the boat we were supposed to take. Dangit!

Next up, volcano.  The big thing here is that when it erupted back in BC time, somewhere around the bronze age, it was probably the biggest eruption ever.  It was known as the Minoan eruption because it rocked the Minoans.  No one knows for sure if it was actually the biggest, but the Greeks claim it, so I’ll claim it until I visit another one that claims to be bigger.  Some even say that this eruption caused the lost city of Atlantis to be buried.  Anyway, the volcano itself wasn’t that exciting.  Good thing our guide made it interesting for us.

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Looking back at Fira port. You can see the zig zag donkey steps that we had to climb down

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lots of rocks

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Tara’s “Ray Bans” look so cool

When we finally made it back to the dock, we decided to neg the 587 donkey infested steps and take the lift.  We had to wait in a 30 minute line, but it was worth it.  We found some Fixes to pass the time.

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Fixed it

We had a late flight to Athens the next day so we went back to our favorite local beach and enjoyed the black sand and comfy chairs.

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There was Fix in there. Don’t let the Amstel label fool you

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Back at the house, we finally took advantage of our outdoor billiards table.

And then we set off.  Dumpster kitty was sad to see us go.

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Don’t leave me!

And that’s all she wrote for Santorini.  We had a great time exploring the island and hanging out on the beach.  Once again, the food was great.

Yum!

Yum!

Adios Santorini!

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3 thoughts on “Greece Part 2: Santorini

  1. Pingback: Greece Part 3: Athens | Schetzels in the UK

  2. Pingback: Brugge, Belgium | Schetzels in the UK

  3. Pingback: The Best and Worst of 2 Years in Europe | Schetzels in the UK

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