In love with Santorini

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The boat took us to the volcano, which is technically still active, but there hasn’t been an eruption for a long long time – the guide did tell us but I can’t remember. Santorini used to be a round island, and when the volcano erupted, basically all hell broke loose and much of the island sank into the sea. The caldera where everyone goes to take pics of the famous sunset is actually the old edge of the volcano, but now is a series of viewing areas, and in Fira, amongst many restaurants.

Apparently all Greeks know that there will be another big eruption some day and it will probably be the end of the island. Also, when it last erupted, the sun couldn’t be seen for six months! I also learned today, as we were driving around the mountains, there are eucalyptus trees the Australian Government gifted to Santorini some time in the past. And that’s because, as I also learned today, Santorini is a waterless island. There is no fresh water whatsoever, and so a plant is in operation to provide the towns with water. We also passed many wineries where the vines grow along the ground, not raised off the ground. This is apparently to protect them from the very strong winds that start in October. It’s already very windy, so it must get pretty harsh. Apparently that’s when all the shops close up and the tourist season ends.

The whole island is black lava. Our guide informed us the parts we were walking was old dried lava as it had turned grey and the newer lava around the edges of the island were black. He took us to the edge, just two deep pits, and there was a section where he scooped out some rock for us to touch and it was hot. We could also see a little smoke coming out as well.

Next was back on the boat for a trip to the hot springs. Now, I’ve never been to any hot springs anywhere, but my understanding is they’re bubbling and muddy. Well, this wasn’t quite that. We had to jump into the sea and swim about 70 m or so to get to the area, and then it’s basically just hot water. Smelly and a little greasy. It was fun, and the swim was just the ticket for sore legs so I was pretty happy! Back on the boat, we went to a little island called Thirasia, for lunch and a relax at their little port of Korfos.

Around 5.30pm it was back on the boat, to take us to the northern end of Santorini to Oia (pronounced Eea), a town that sits high on the cliffs and where apparently is the best view of the sunset. It’s a long way up the stone steps to reach the top, so I opted to go up by donkey for 5 euro – it was worth every cent! Mind you, just waiting for the donkeys to come back down from the top was an experience. There were a few of us a bit worried about getting trampled! They have their handlers there though, so it’s really ok, they just get pretty close and you have to just stand to the side and hope the donkey moves before you get squished up against the wall.

There is a lot of people up the top in Oia everyday. I went with my friends to an area that’s kind of like a viewing platform – big rock/concrete walls, right on the edge way high up. I jumped up and sat on the top, and I have to say, pretty much shitting myself the whole time. I knew I was perfectly safe, and I guess I really didn’t know that I have a bit of an issue with heights. We probably waited for the damn sun to set for an hour and the wind picked up a fair bit, so needless to say, I was trying to will the sun to hurry up. The vew was great though, and definitely worth it. I had a really good day, and just further cements my love for this island!

By saledwards; excerpts, edited by Greece Travel Blog

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