The DougBlog
"Et sans savoir pourquoi, disent toujours: Allons!" —Baudelaire

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Life in Ruins, Part 5: Santorini

The next morning I drove back to the airport in Athens and flew to the unreal beauty of Santorini.

There are few places in the world that live up to their idyllic postcards; Santorini is one of those places. This peaceful island took its current form following a violent volcanic eruption around 3600 BC—one of the largest in recorded history. The caldera is now sunken beneath the sea and the crescent-shaped island is part of its edge. Blindingly white and wildly colored houses cling to the red and black cliffs around the ancient caldera. On landing you can clearly see the crescent shape…

…surrounded by the impossibly blue waters of the Aegean sea:

Now, it’s more typical to take a ferry to and between the islands, and to visit more than one island. However, as I learned, the islands essentially come to a screeching halt at the end of October. The ferries rarely run and many establishments on the islands close for the winter. Even flights are limited, so I was forced to pick only one island to visit.

Yes, there are drawbacks to visiting the islands off-season in November: transportation is limited, many hotels and restaurants are closed, it’s too cold to swim, and there’s a greater chance of rain. But to me all of this was more than balanced out by the fact that you feel like you have the island all to yourself—the narrow streets that are made barely passable by hordes of tourists in the summer become so quiet that all you hear are the echoes of your own steps, the plaintive bark of an occasional stray dog, and Greek chatter emanating from the homes of those who actually call Santorini home.

My hotel, the Avaton, could not have been nicer—a beautiful and typical whitewashed stone building in the northern village of Imerovigli. I had a beautiful view over the hotel’s pool and my balcony even had its own little plunge pool! Too bad it was too cold to use either…

I spent my 3 days wandering the tiny streets that wind their way around the buildings that teeter precariously over the caldera. The northern tip of the island:

The village of Oia:

The Orthodox Church in Oia:

More pictures of Oia (I really liked Oia):

Of course there was a stray doggie saying hello (although Santorini is actually more known for its plethora of cats):

Fira is the main town on the island:

Travelling down to the Southern end of the island and the Akrotiri Lighthouse at sunset:

A picture is worth a thousand words, so there’s not really much more to say except that Santorini is like a dream. I had to put up with a little rain but it was worth is to have an experience that was peaceful, quiet, and more Greek than tourist. And with that I said “αντίο” (farewell) to Greece and headed off to my final adventure in Turkey…

Next up…a visit to Greece’s age-old nemesis on the other side of the Aegean. BUT BEFORE WE GO…A FEW PARTING SHOTS!

You know Greece has hit on hard times when even Athena has to open a mini-market to pay her bills:

This sad little donkey lived just outside my hotel room. The hotel had given me a giant fruit basket upon check-in, so every day I would give some of the fruit to him.

Apparently Strongbad doesn’t want you to smoke:

This is the way to, you know, the archaeology place:

This dog was very suspicious of me:

Look! There goes Another Tour:

Throughout Greece you see a lot of these little old ladies, always dressed in black with scarves on their heads, plump figures, and canes:

Next stop, Istanbul!


Post a Comment

<< Home