Hello my dear readers,
As you recall from my previous post, the next stop on our itinerary was the Greek island of Santorini. I don’t know a single person who, if they haven’t been here, or have at least seen a poster, a greeting card or photograph depicting the blue domed roofs overlooking the sea.
We couldn’t wait to see it with our own eyes. My husband wanted us to rent a car so we would have the flexibility of going anywhere at any time that we like, so after our plane landed in Fira, the modern capital of Santorini, late in the afternoon, we went straight to the car rental desk to pick up the car. When the clerk behind a counter handed us a map and explained that the streets and roads don’t really have names nor you will you see any traffic lights and all we need to do to find our way around the island is to follow the main road, I immediately knew that we were in for some “fun”. So we loaded the car with our luggage and off we went.
Well, the fun began right outside the airport gates. First of all, like everywhere in Europe
and US of A, people drive on the opposite side of the road to us, Australians; second - the roads of Santorini mostly are quite narrow and winding and the main one that runs along the coast is flanked by the sheer drop down to the sea far below on one side and the rocky cliffs on the other. The cars are understandably compact, everyone drives quite fast making tourists fear for their dear lives, being either hit by another car or thrown over the railing. None of this actually ever happened except in my imagination. Meanwhile, the view from the road over the sea was absolutely breathtaking but I was so terrified in anticipation of an accident that I didn’t take my eyes off the road, time to time begging my husband not to run us into a cliff.
On the second day, however, I felt more relaxed, the roads looked more familiar and the drivers less threatening and I began to appreciate the idea of having your own mode of transportation and not having to rely on buses or taxis.
There are several villages and towns in Santorini and choosing a place to stay is a matter of personal preference. We chose to stay in Oia, probably the most charming cliff-perched place on the island about half an hours drive from the airport. It is less touristic then Fira, besides it is renowned for its blue domes, spectacular sunsets, peace and tranquility.
The majority of accommodation is provided in the form of villas or estates mostly facing the caldera with a sweeping view over the Aegean Sea. But do be careful when choosing one as many of them are situated on the steep cliffs and if didn’t do your due diligence properly, you might end up carrying your suitcases down quite a few flights of narrow stairs to your hotel and then hoisting them up on the way home and if you leave your hotel you need to confront all those steps every time. And that is not fun, believe me.
Anyway, we only had to take thirteen steps to the front door of our villa, which unusually had its own parking area, and as we stepped outside onto the balcony and took in the view and the surroundings, we felt that we were in heaven.
We spend the next two days driving around Santorini, exploring the coast with its astonishing view over the caldera and the Aegean Sea and myriads of small islands, visiting the black sand beach, eating local food and just enjoying the vistas, the ever changing presence of the water, the sun and the magic ambiance of this gorgeous island.
There was one flaw, though. As in Athens, the wind was so cold that at night I had to wear a coat that I would normally wear during the Sydney winter, gloves, scarf, and warmers - the works.
But even cold weather could not stop us from falling in love with Santorini. This island is a perfect example of the saying: “A picture is worth thousand words" and the memories that we took away with us are all about the warmth and beauty of one of this world’s natural wonders.
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