Let Go - jj
Before going further into this post, it should be brought to the attention of the reader that this post is entirely dedicated and intertwined with my my experiences in both a foreign culture and I suppose what some may refer to as an exotic location. With that said, Santorini was probably one of the coolest, most unique places I have ever been. What a beautiful place. When pulling into the port, I noticed that the city of Fira (though I had no idea at the time what city it was) sits high up on the cliffs of Santorini, far above the sea level on the port side of the island. As you can kind of tell from some of the pictures I took, once we arrived in Santorini we had to get in a bus that zig-zagged its way up the side of a cliff until we reached the top and were taken to our hostel. Once we got to our hostel, I was rather confused as the hostel laid right next a black sanded beach (which was extremely cool looking). What confused me was that I had not realized that we had slowly gone back down to sea level. I don't know, I was really confused for some reason.
Santorini is a small, circular archipelago of volcanic islands located in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (120 mi) southeast from Greece's mainland. The largest island is known as Thēra (or Thira, Greek Θήρα [ˈθira]), forming the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area of approximately 73 km2 (28 sq mi) and a 2001 census population of 13,670. (via wikipedia)
Our hostel was very nice and it was extremely convenient that it was located right on Perissa Beach. On a random note, we did run into a girl from St. Cloud, MN who was also staying in the same hostel as us. She knew some of my friends at CU, so I definitely had "small world" experience while there. As you can see on the map below, Perissa Beach is located almost on the complete opposite side of the city of Fira. It would make for one hell of a long walk and we really didn't feel like killing half of our walking while there. So we decided to find some type of transportation while there. We found a local automotive rental place and decided to rent either a vespa or an ATV for 10 euro for the entire day. Seemed like a pretty good deal to us. So we did both, getting one the first day and the other on the next. It was definitely a good idea as it was a good 15-20 minute drive to Fira from our hotel at Perissa Beach. Once we got to Fira, I immediately enjoyed the vibe of the city. First of all, because we were there a little early on in the season, there were hardly any tourists anywhere we went. In my book, this is awesome. Frankly, for the most part, tourists (people in general, kind of) suck. The city of Fira is the capital of Sanorini. I would have no idea how many people actually reside there, but it there was definitely a lot of action there but it still had that small town feel. Every where we ate was fantastic and very authentic. We climbed towards the top of the city and took advantage of the breathtaking views by snapping a few photos. Fira was a very cool city and we ended up coming back there on our last day to grab a bite and kill a few hours before we got on our Ferry to head back to Athens.
On the second day in Santorini, we decided to check out a beach. The beach we had heard most about was simply referred to as the "red beach". This beach was located pretty close to Fira and was again a short vespa ride away. Once we got there, we realized how nice it was to be 2 of the 7 people that were on that beach at all during the time we were there. The beach itself was unique in that the sand and the rock surrounding the beach were red colored (of course) and really reflected the sunlight giving it a radiant appearance. The beach was super chill and we spent most of the afternoon basking in the sun, taking in rays and exploring the beach. Fun in the sun. To my comrade Pistol's request, the first song I jammed while on the beach in Santorini was played and posted at the top of this note. It was a relazing day at the beach, with beautiful views and perfect weather.
We got back on the atv and headed back towards the direction of our hostel, stopping at a local grocer to grab some food. That night we had a nice dinner at a restaurant located right next to our hostel. It was fantastic as we ordered several different dishes and split them all family style. The lady who served us owned the place with her husband and treated us extremely well and gave us free ouzo at the end of the meal. Ouzo is a licorice flavored aperitif that is widely consumed in Greece. I would compare it its taste to that of absinthe. Seems like it is very hit or miss with non-Greek people. Personally I enjoyed it but Caitlin was not fond of it. The owner also gave us a shot of some dietary cleanser that was served to us warm. Not sure what I thought of this one as it tasted kind of like Pine-Sol. Oh well, free booze and booze that cleanses. Have to drink it.
Santorini was an amazing island and quite possibly my favorite of the three places I went to in Greece. The perfect way to cap off my spring break in 2010. So relaxed. Hard to say it was my favorite because they are all three so different, but Santorini was definitely the most beautiful. I definitely felt like I got the authentic greek experience in the 9 days I was there and through the three places I traveled to. Going into it and planning the trip, the authentic experience is what I really wanted, so I was satisfied to say the least. Greece was a beautiful country with the most hospitable people you will meet. I loved my time in Greece and look forward to making my way back.