Santorini, Greece

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August 18th 2017
Published: September 6th 2017
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Atlanta, GA to Santorini, Greece

Time for this years European vacation. Something a little different this year, as I decide to go to Greece, and in particular, Santorini. I had a long day to get to Santorini, as I flew from Atlanta to New York to Athens to Santorini. Needless to say, I was exhausted by the time I arrived. I booked ahead a transport from the airport to my hostel just so I would not have to deal with the buses, taxis etc.. After I depart the Santorini airport, I saw someone holding a sign with my name. This was a welcome sight, and I felt very relieved. The sign holder was not my driver, however the driver came there to greet and pick me up fairly quickly. Off to my hostel I go. We get near the area, and the taxi driver could not go down the pedestrian street, so he lets me out at the end of the road. I leave the cab and make my way to my hostel. No too much of a problem to find after asking some locals, I was so happy when I saw the hostel name on a sign. I proceed to check in, and make my way to my room. Standard eight bed room with a bathroom and shower. I was lucky enough to get a bottom bunk. I also had a very large locker to secure my things, so all was good. The hostel I stayed at was right on Perissa Beach, and I could not have been more satisfied. Perissa Beach is a black sand beach. I have never experienced anything like this. Anyway, I cleaned up and made my way out to explore. Off on my Santorini adventure. Seeing I was taking a full day tour on the next day, and I had been travelling for quite some time, I mainly just walked around taking photo opportunities the first day. I walk both ways up and down the beach. I was just so amazed at the black sand on the beach. As mentioned, I have never saw anything like this before. I did not really feel like swimming at this time, but of course I had to stick my feet in, and I proceed to do so. The water was a bit chilly, however once you I got used to it, it felt pretty good.

It was getting dark, so I proceed to make my way to where I was going to meet for my tour the next day just to be sure I knew where to go. I find this, and make my way back to my hostel to just chill out and relax. I must say, the bed was probably one of the most comfortable I have slept on since staying in hostels some eight years. No complaints, and I awake the second day, and I am eager to take my tour. I go to the meeting place, and I am picked up by a transfer bus that takes me to the tour bus, for the tour actually started in another part of the island. I arrive there some twenty or thirty minutes later, and I am the last one on the bus for the tour. I heard the guide apologize to the other tour members saying I was delayed by traffic. Oh well..and off we go. The guide was from the island of Crete, however she was very knowledgeable of Santorini. She gave us good insight and information all along the way. Our first stop was the city which was destroyed by a volcano. The ancient city of Akrotiri. We enter into the site, and I was amazed. The entire city was destroyed, and the excavation had dug down only three stories of the buildings. There was so much more to uncover, however the Greek economy is very bad, and there is not money available for this. We walk around and are shown some of the beautiful paintings that were taken from the walls. This all occurred several thousand years ago. I could not imagine what life would have been like then when you became aware that your home was about to be destroyed. Anyway, we finish up this part of the tour, and we head to Perissa Beach for lunch and a swim if we so choose. I went into the restaurant, and order my lunch. I had meatballs with rice and fries. Delish. I went and laid out in the sun for a bit, and then I decide to go back to my hostel to wash up seeing it was only a short walk from where we were at. It was extremely hot, and washing my face felt really good at this time. I meet back at the bus, and we continue on with the tour. We stop at a city of Megalochori to walk around. We were told there were only around 350 inhabitants of this city. It was a quite city, and you just don't see the calmness like that at home. We spent a little time just strolling through this town lost in time and steeped with tradition as we see how the locals lived in the past. Come to find out, Megalochori is one of the most picturesque villages on the island. I asked the guide if the area was safe, and she told me it was, and people leave their doors unlocked. Can't do that at home.

We get back on the bus and are taken to the highest point in Santorini, Prophet Elias, which is 567m high. It is located at the Southeast part of the island, 3km away from the traditional village Pyrgos. There is a monastery and a church at the very top of the hill. This is the oldest part of the island, and from my understanding is the only one that existed before the eruption of the volcano. We get to get off and take photos which were amazing. We were overlooking the landscape and the amazing panoramic views of the whole entire island. I sat and just gazed out looking left then right and back again. So beautiful. Saying that however, there are radio towers, power lines, and an army base in the backdrop of the monastery. I tried my best to not include these in my photos. Unfortunately we did not have the time to go to the monastery, and actually most of the monastery is closed off to the public.

Our next stop was Venetsanos Winery where we toured and had some breathtaking views of the caldera. I personally enjoyed the views from here. I found a way to get down to this little area overlooking the sea, and took some amazing photos. I am not so sure I was suppose to go down there, however there was a wedding party going on, and I just kind of slipped in with them. Some times you have to do this to get the best photo opportunities. Time was short here and off to our next and final stop.

We get back on the bus to go to our final destination which was Oia. I had heard, and now I will get to witness the stunning sunsets from Oia town. We got there a bit early on purpose, as we were told of the huge crowds. We were there in plenty of time to walk around the village and get a good spot for the sunset. While walking around the city, I really had one mission in mind. If you ever see a picture of Santorini, you probably see the blue domed churches. I wanted to see and take an exact photo of what I have seen online, postcards, photos, etc. I was fortunate enough to find the exact location, and I took some pretty neat photos. I was pretty thrilled I was able to do this. I find my way to a few good spots to view the sunset, however the crowds were so large, one could not hardly walk on the street. It was really packed. I just elbowed my way back out, and decided I would just take whatever pictures I could from wherever I could. Actually, come to find out, at least for me, I found some really cool spots to take photos of the sunset that were not near the ever growing crowds. Sometimes I have to get off of the beaten path to find some of the hidden gems. I proceed to make my photos, and head back to the tour bus. As I am being transported to a different location than most of the other tourists on my trip, I board a separate bus than the one I was on to take me back to Perissa Beach. Good for me, for this saved me thirty or more minutes of travel time.

I get back and just decide to walk and take in the beautiful sights at night one final time.Santorini is a beautiful place to visit. I am so happy I decided to come here, and I hope to be able to visit again some day. If not, I will have memories for a lifetime. I had to catch some shut eye, for I had to catch a ferry on the next day, and I had to figure all of this out. Luckily, the hostel I was staying in had a shuttle for five Euro that would take us right to the port. I was pretty excited to go to another island on the next day to see what adventures were awaiting me.

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