Trip Start May 02, 2012
13Trip End Jul 31, 2012
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Santorini is one of three islands that form the rim of a massive volcano that blew its top around 3000 years ago, the centre sinking hundreds of metres into the ocean (another two islands are slowly rising over the centre of the caldera). Many now believe that the archeological findings here are the remnants of the famous Atlantis, and indeed the findings indicate a quite advanced and wealthy civilisation with fairly modern facilities such as hot and cold running water, and a functional sewage system
Our room had a stunning view (to say the least!) - a private balcony looking over the rising volcano and surrounding areas. We had a better view than Fira (the main tourist town), but it was a considerable walk into town. To top it off, our friendly concierge would bring us our breakfast to our room when requested each morning.
The gale force winds continued for our first couple of days, and we had a bit of trouble walking the precipitous 2km path along the cliffs (following stories from locals of unfortunate honeymoon accidents, Mel made Mick promise not to fall off, and then ensured it with a death grip the entire way). We met up with the alcoholic bar owner Mick and the boys had met last time they were in town and they had fun catching up, rediscovering Ursas - a Sloeberry Vodka.
Finally the sun came out and we were able to do a sunset cruise including a couple of stops to swim in the Mediteranian. Despite the best efforts of the volcanic "hot" springs, the water was incredibly cold. Mick the sailor fell down and skinned his knee on the boat as we bounced through the choppy waters outside the caldera. Mel, not to be outdone had to go one better, bruising her ribs as she climbed out of the water up a slippery metal ladder (means Mick has to help her with her bags for a while)
We spent our final day exploring the town of Fira. A highlight from our morning was a walk down to the old harbour followed by a donkey ride back up to the top (this seemed particularly unfair on the donkeys - especially Mick's!). Apparently we selected the racing donkeys as they spent the entire time jostling each other to be in front, and trying to squeeze each other off the edge of the cliff. Mel followed up her ride with a trip to the local "fish doctors" where hundreds of tiny little fish strip your feet of dead skin. Apparently this tickles.
We were sad to leave the beautiful scenery and lifestyle - Mel is thinking of investing in a "holiday house" on the island, anyone want in? Mick thinks it is too much of a commute (such a curmudgeon)...
There are no direct routes from Santorini to Turkey, so we used a combination of ferries and flights taking us through the Greek islands of Crete and Rhodes. Two nights in Rhodes gave us time to explore the beautifully preserved medieval town with its castle, high, crennelated city walls and quaint (very touristy) shopping. Sadly the flicky-lights vendors had also colonised this pretty town, and Mel was hard pressed not to test the local assault laws with the pushiness of the shop owners.
(our apologies for the delay on the blog postings - we've been moving pretty fast the past two weeks!)