It is hard to believe that this is our last night in Santorini. It has been refreshing to know that as a little girl my intuition about this place was spot on. In the last few days Michal and I have done our best to cover the 37 square miles of this magnificent island. I love it here and am sad that our final hours are quickly approaching. Why is that when our lives are mundane time seems to move slowly but when you are experiencing something amazing time flies by so quickly?
The climate of Santorini reminds me of summers I have spent in Arizona. The sun shines fiercely day after day and the temperatures are hot and dry. Cactus, bougainvillea, palm trees and other desert plants mix with grape vines and olive trees that are offset by the stunning blue waters of the Aegean Sea. Oftentimes there are strong winds that provide a reprieve from the sweltering heat.
This weekend we explored the ancient city of Akrotiri. This settlement dates back to at least the 4th century BC. At this point in time, archeologists believe that they have only uncovered 3% of this ancient city. The volcanic ash that destroyed the city actually preserved the elaborate art work that decorated the three story high buildings. After visiting Akrotiri, we walked to Red Beach. Soaring cliffs of red lava create a backdrop for the refreshingly blue and cool waters. The beach was small and crowded but worth going to.
We also braved the narrow, steep and windy roads to go to the Akrotiri Lighthouse on the very tip of the island.
That evening we went to Oia to watch the sunset. There were literally hundreds of people there to watch the sunset. It was hard to move! Oia is known for beautiful sunsets and seems to be the most photographed place on the island. Yesterday we took a boat tour and explored Nea Kameni, also known as Volcano Island. After that we sailed to the hot springs where we jumped off the boat into the cold sea water and swam to warmer waters and bathed in the sulfuric mud. This was actually quite refreshing after the intensely hot walk on the volcano. We then visited the quaint island of Thirasia before enjoying another stunning sunset on board the boat. Today we traveled the old city of Pirgos and hiked to Prophet Elias Monastery which sits on the highest point in Santorini. We could have easily driven there but Michal insisted on hiking in order to prepare us for our our trip to the mountains in a couple of weeks. This followed our climb of close to 600 stairs from the port where we took the boat tour last night to the main square of Fira. My legs are tired!
This afternoon we visited Santo Wines and enjoyed a fleet of local wines with a breathtaking view of the caldera, surrounding islands and the vast blue waters of the Aegean. This was perhaps my most favorite stop on the island! Santorini has not disappointed me in the least! Michal and I have kept ourselves busy.
Since Santorini is the most visited island in Greece everywhere you go you can hear several different languages being spoken. I have been impressed with how many languages shop owners, waiters, and tour guides are able to speak. The food here is amazingly delicious, the locals are kind, and the sun is always shining. The views continue to be breathtaking and the sunsets are the most spectacular I have ever seen.
There are only a couple of things I don’t care for on this island. They are the insanely narrow roads with steep, sharp curves everywhere you go. And secondly, I have yet to find a good cup of coffee. I have had my fill of Nescafé. I’d give just about anything for a cup of Gimmie! or Starbucks. Santorini has officially joined Croatia in terms of places in Europe where I could see myself living. Tomorrow we are off to Crete but I will come back to Santorini!