CRUISING ON A CAIQUE AROUND SANTORINI
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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JOURNEY: Paros to Santorini by ferry 4 hours
WEATHER: Hot and sunny
The Blue Star ferry that had left from Athens port that morning picked us up at 12.00 noon from Paros
Island. This ferry was fabulous, cheaper at 19 euros each than the Flying Cat with outdoor seating, restaurants and even cabins if you please. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we made stops at Naxos and Ios before reaching Santorini at 4pm. Sailing into Santorini is very impressive and the white buildings clinging onto the steep cliffs could almost be taken for snow!
Kostas collected us and a Bulgarian couple at the port and we returned to Merivigliossa in Imerovigli for our 2 nights here.
We joined a caique (Greek wooden fishing boat) tour the following day that left from the old port of Thira and visited the volcano, the hot springs on the tiny island of Nea Kameni and the traditional fishing village on the island of Thirasia for lunch and then we elected to leave the boat at the prettiest village of all, Oia.
The walk down to the old port involves 560 steps which is not too bad in the cooler part of the day, at 9.30am in the morning-there are other options- donkey or cable car but we decided to walk. We actually joined an Australian couple who were taking the same tour. We thought that 28 Euros, $35 was good value!
The caique was comfortable and our guide was a born and bred Santorini woman who gave us some good background on the island. We were just 18 people on our boat and we felt privileged as some of the other caiques we encountered were full to the mast.
The hike up the volcano was hot and dusty and to tell the truth apart from the views was not really much more than a huge pile of black rocks with some deeper areas puffing a bit of steam. It was amusing to notice the footwear of all the tourists coming and going- rubber thongs, high heeled sandals etc; one Chinese lady wisely gave up in her stiletto sandals before she got to the top.
The last eruption occurred in 1950 and today the active volcano is monitored to give warnings.
A short sail and we were at the other side and the hot springs where some of the passengers went swimming in the warm water. We stayed on board and noticed the structure that house a local hermit who lived here with a few animals.
A little further and we reached Thirassia for a lunch stop and even though our guide recommended a charming restaurant we decided to eat our picnic lunch.It is said that this island resembles Santorini before the huge tourist development happened and the walk to the main town high above is a long hike of steps. We managed half way in the very hot sun on the unshaded path and decided to return to the cooler port area.
When the caique pulled into the port of Ammoudi, Oia we disembarked, because we did not explore this part of the island on our previous visit. Once again it was a hike to the town, about 360 tall steps and it was hot but we took it slowly and of course made it.
Oia is beautiful- narrow lanes, interesting architecture, blue topped churches and a lovely ambience. Many dwellings are built into the steep cliffs and have large balconies overlooking the sea and the volcanic islands. It is a very popular place to visit for the sunset and already small crowds of people were searching for prime position at 4pm.
It was a hot day and we checked out a few recommendations for lunch but chose a lovely Greek restaurant overlooking the sea that was run by a family and we were happy with our choice. We ate lamb grill, Greek salad, zuccini fritters, and baked fetta and had a freezing cold beer each...yummy!
After exploring the gorgeous town we caught the public bus back to our village and enjoyed a relaxing evening watching the sunset from our balcony with a Greek red wine; have to say Greek wine despite the hype is very average but the sunset was pretty.
Last night on Santorini tomorrow we fly out at 7am back to Barcelona.
The holiday season is beginning- May 1- and we notice that Santorini is much busier now and we are pleased that we missed the summer rush; apparently traffic is a nightmare, beaches and tourist attractions are packed, it gets very hot and prices get higher. The best way to get around the islands is to hire a car but on Santorini we managed by walking, catching public buses and touring.
We appreciated the beauty of Santorini, the simplicity of Paros but did not really find Mykonos attractive. We had ample time to see the three islands in two weeks and maybe could have added one more! The Greek people are friendly and helpful, and the food is good.
Now it' time to go.