Santorini!

Trip Start May 22, 2009
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Trip End May 31, 2009


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Flag of Greece  , Cyclades,
Thursday, May 28, 2009

Running like crazed waddling ducks with all our luggage, we jump off the metro at the port of Peraeus just in time to catch the ferry ship from Athens to Santorini.  This ship is huge!  Picture a cruise ship that has a tailgate to load cars, RV's, and big tanker trucks and you get the idea.  We were finally off to the islands.  It's a long trip, Santorini is the furthest major Greek isle and it takes almost eight hours to get there!  Besides the Acropolis, the images of Santorini with its cliff side dwellings in blue and white hanging over the Aegean Sea are what I imaging Greece to be.  On the way, we make a few quick stops at the ports of Paros and Naxos.  These ferry ships make this run every day and are a model of efficiency.  It only took about 10-15 minutes at each port to dock, unload vehicles and passengers, and be on our way again.  Cool!

So after a long voyage, we arrived at the volcanic island.  Santorini is a volcano that blew up thousands of years ago and the crater filled with water so the island is cresent shaped with othe small islets that outline the rest of the old mountain.  Compared to the other islands, it's very dramatic.  The sheer cliffs rise hundreds of feet straight out of the water.  There are actually several towns perched along the knife edge ridges. 

We rented a cool little two seat Smart Car   at the port and zoomed up the steep road that zigged and zagged up the mountain to the town of Fira.  Trying to find our B&B was a challenge.  Hao wipped out his trusty iPhone and used the GPS to locate the general area, but we still needed to make several calls for directions and through trial and error finnaly got there.  Fira is the "Capital" of the island, but the most picturesque town is called IA (eee-uh), this is the place that all the famous pictures are from.  Of course we drove there immediately.  Our timing was good and we got there just before sunset and stayed for the suns show.

We were instantly blown away by how beautiful the city is.  All the colors, the fantastic shapes of the homes, and the crazy location.  Awesome!  We came back bright and early the next morning to explore in more depth.  We were hungry and looking for a place to get some breakfast.  All the cafes and restaurants were closed.  We found a nice place to eat, but the shop was being cleaned.  By sheer persistance, Hao got them to open the doors for us and we got the bet patio view in the place all to ourselves. The food was great, a real slice of heaven.

The next day, we had arranged to take an afternoon sail and sunset cruise on a sweet catamaran.  The wind had been dead the day before, but we lucked out and it was really pumping (20+ knts) that afternoon.  Instead of doing some cheesy beach tours, we took advantage of the wind and did some real sailing.  Rippah!  The boat capitain was from Serbia and the Crew/Cook was a former CTO for a tech company in New Jersey.  You meet the neatest people, in the strangest places.  We had a fresh seafood dinner of grilled squid, prawns, pork steaks, and veggies.  Besides the wine, we capped it off with some local white lightning.  Yowzaaah!

We only had two days on the island, but they were amazing.  We move on next to the island of Mykinos.  On the morning we left, we had breakfast in Fira at "Mamas House".  Mama was a little Geek fireball who kept calling us, crazy sex bums!  : P  Turns out, she lived in San Jose for years just down the road from Hao!

Well, on to more adventures...

~JR~
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