Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Big Fat Greek Odyssey: Santorini

I visited one other island while in Greece. I went to Santorini. Or as the Greeks call it, Thira. This island has been suggested as the location of the lost city of Atlantis. Santorini has a very different feel from Mykonos. In Mykonos, it was all about beaches and clubbing and partying. That reminds me, while hanging out at the beach, we often got tickets for free shots from club promoters, urging us to visit their clubs. It is a great way to get free drinks while checking out the clubs. Although, I was shocked at one club when a little boy about 11 was selling glow in the dark bracelets at one in the morning, on a school night! I was thinking, Um, little boy, is your mama the bartender or what? Shouldn't you be in bed sleeping?

Greece Travel Tip #14

When looking for good clubs, ask a local for all the best places to go clubbing. The hotel bartender gave me some great advice:
Eat dinner at little Italy (restaurants area in Mykonos Town), then walk around towards the clubs, listening to which music you like; find the club with a lot of people inside dancing and that's where you should go! It worked like a charm, every time.

Santorini, on the other hand, is a more romantic setting. It's a different kind of partying here. And to get there, we took the high speed ferry from Mykonos. It was a three hour trip that made stops at Paros and Ios. Once we got to Santorini, we found our ride and started the climb up the caldera. I could feel my ears popping as we drove higher and higher on the winding road.

I was amazed at the view of the caldera.

(Click on the pics for bigger view)


Now, just like Mykonos and Athens, Santorini had some really tiny roads!



I stayed in the southeast part of the island in an area called Kamari, right next to Ancient Thira. The hotel room was very purple. The hotel didn't have the incredible views of the other places I had stayed at, but I liked the courtyard and the large jacuzzi.



Also, the location was great, about a five minute walk to the famous black beaches. Kamari is amazing, a long row of restaurants and bars and shops along the black sand beaches. The food was fantastic! And really inexpensive!

Talk about fresh and succulent, like the Greek salad.



I luved the kalamari! It was so crispy and flavorful! Not chewy at all!



And the gyros were just scrumptious! The servings were huge! There was enough on one plate for two people.


And the local wines were wonderful. They tasted sweet and light and left a very nice warm, happy feeling.



The next day, I caught the bus to Fira, to see the amazing views of the caldera. It's pretty amazing to see all these villages perched precariously on top of cliffs! I'd be afraid of falling over! It's a long way down!



Speaking of getting down, Santorini is famous for its steps down the caldera. There are several in Fira. It's a whole lotta steps, so be prepared for a workout and take some water. The steps zigzag some ways down the caldera, and you can either walk or ride the donkeys.




I decided to walk down, and while the view was indeed breathtaking, no one warned me about the donkey doo!











Filthy asses!

Greece Travel Tips#15

Be aware if you do walk the steps. Avoid the ones that utilize a lot of donkeys. There will be a lot of donkey doo! There are other caldera steps that don't use donkeys.


Luckily, there were several rest areas along the steps that provided shade and a great vantage point to see the caldera and the nearby islands.

And when I reached the bottom, I was sweaty but exhilarated!









There are shops and restaurants down there at the bottom of the steps. They are a lot less expensive than the places back at the top.

And if you don't want to climb back up those donkey doo filled steps, there is a cable car that takes you back up from these particular steps!

After a long day of exploring Fira, I returned to Kamari, to sit by the beach and enjoy a Mai Tai and a Pina Colada.



There are other towns in Santorini with their own caldera steps. And I went to the very north of the island to Ia (Oia), to see some of these steps. Ia is smaller than Fira, but it boasts some incredible scenery!








The beaches were rocky in Ia, but the water was nice, clean, cool, and blue. The black sand beaches of Kamari were much smoother than Ia. But that black sand gets really hot under the sun!

Right next to Kamari is Ancient Thira on Profitis Ilias, the tallest mountain in Santorini. I decided to climb that mountain and check out the view.

And have a little fun along the way.












And when I finally got to the top, I could see the village of Perissa on the other side of the mountain!



And what better way to celebrate reaching the peak than by doing some more silly poses.







Vacations are so much more enjoyable when you let yourself go and have some fun!

5 comments:

  1. wow, sugar! y'all are in some seriously good shape!!! i got tired just looking at those steps! xoxox

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  2. Who is that tranny clinking glasses with you?

    Did you pick her up on the ferry boat?

    Anyway, all my friends who've been to Greece said they wanted to stay there forever and not come back. And one actually did just that!

    Can you imagine living there?

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  3. Savannah, All that hiking and climbing made us fit! It was quite the fun, intense workout--the perfect excuse to stuff ourselves at meal time :)

    MJ, That's my dining companion, helping me celebrate the wine god, Dionysus.

    The only thing I picked up on the ferry was my luggage.

    I, too, wanted to stay longer in Greece! The great food and wines, the beautiful scenery, and the friendly people made for a terrific environment. I could picture myself living there permanently! I can totally understand why your friend decided to stay.

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  4. Classic!
    The whitewashed blue roofed domiciles are amazing. It's just so unimaginably beautiful innit?

    The food looks ridiculously good..and my feet are burning just thinking about black sand!!!

    Awesome posing Dude..it's awesome that you can channel your inner Hans & Franz!

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  5. Donn, Thanks! It was an unreal scene, the landscape and the beautiful houses perched precariously on the cliffs.

    I totally understood why people went for the sunchairs and umbrellas on that hot black sand at noontime.

    I thought it'd be funny to recreate the poses of the statues I kept seeing around Greece.

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