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Published: April 18th 2011
Santorini, in all its splendour, stands proud as we cruise into its harbour. Towering cliffs dotted with white washed dwellings and blue capped churches await.
We are met at the port by the owners of Villa Rose, our home for the next four days.
We have taken the fast ferry, Hellenic Seaways, from Crete to Santorini (due to our first ferry being cancelled).
The sea gods are not kind.
Less than 30 min. into our trip and the first casualties of sea sickness start to hit the passengers. Michelle has taken a couple of tablets just to be sure and they seem to do the job, though she looks a “little green” when we disembark. Much better than most I must admit. She will make the comment later that “maybe we should sell the car and caravan and buy a yacht.” Hmmmmm ????
We are blessed with a near perfect sunset and the days, whilst not overly warm, are pleasant enough.
This is a place where it is easy to shoot off a couple of gig (or quite a lot of film in old speak) of photos and not blink. It will be difficult to choose
what to use for this blog.
We spend several days meandering the cliffs and back streets.
On our second last day we take a boat tour out to the Volcano. This is only the fourth tour of the season and we are lucky to have a nice enough day. Part of the tour is a stop at one of the islands, where it is possible to swim in the hot springs that are fed by the seismic steam. What we aren't informed is that we will need to jump off the boat into the (our guide calls it refreshing, waters – bloody cold comes to mind) ocean, swim 30 or 40 metres, the spring isn't that warm and then swim back. We have befriended an American couple, so Joe and I brave the “refreshing” waters along with a few mermaids. Brave or foolhardy, I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
Santorini is an active volcano with its last eruption in 1950.
The present-day crescent shape of the island is a consequence of the activity of the volcano in prehistoric times feeding the myth of the lost Atlantis. Santorini is essentially what remains
of an enormous volcanic explosion dated back 3,600 years and which created the current geological caldera; a giant central lagoon, more or less rectangular, and measuring about 12 by 7 km , surrounded by 300 m high steep cliffs on three sides.
Santorini grows and produces some fantastic wines, WE KNOW - guess how we know!!
With the cancellation of our first ferry, from Crete, we have had to make some changes to our travel plans. We were, originally, due to arrive (in Santorini) on the Saturday and then fly out to Athens on Monday night. Due to the change in plans we are left with only one night in Santorini, so we have decided to pay extra to change our flight which will enable us to spend some extra time, head over to Naxos for a few nights before returning to Santorini and then fly to Athens. This will, hopefully, allow us time to get to Corfu for Easter.
The slow ferry to Naxos takes us just under three hours and the larger vessel makes the crossing much easier.
Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades island group of the Aegean and probably receives the
least tourists. We find the locals are much more accommodating and have a general ease and laid back manner. Rena & her father, Panos (Villa Sofi) pick us up from the ferry and already we are treated like family.
The restaurants that occupy most of the harbours dock display their fresh produce, whole octopus, large prawns and snapper. I know where I what to eat tonight. The owners tout their goods and are gracious if we decline; “maybe you will try us tomorrow?” we will try.
We hire a motor vehicle on our second day and spend about five hours exploring a part of the island. Like most of the islands, Naxos is a mountainous land, with deep gorges and narrow winding roads. The roads are littered with car wrecks, the odd bus, rock slides, goats, sheep, donkeys and one duck (that refused to get off the road - I like duck). It’s a good thing that the drivers of Naxos are courteous and patient, something of an oddity for Greece. At one point we watch as two kids ride their donkey home from school.
It would be quite easy to immerse oneself into the easy going
pace that this island has to offer and we are a little disappointed that we have left ourselves short. Rena asks what we are doing for Easter and had we not already booked Corfu, I’m sure this is where we would be. Ah, she says “maybe next year?” – Hey who knows.
So we are now heading back to Santorini, on the slow ferry, to catch our flight to Athens.
If we had to choose an island that we would return too, we’d have to say Naxos. Don’t get me wrong, Santorini is a stunningly beautiful place and we are delighted to have made the journey, but we’d love to return to Naxos, an island with soul and delve ourselves in it's culture.
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