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gloriajames Santorini - A travel report by Gloria
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Santorini,  Greece - flag Greece -  Ioánnina
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gloriajames's travel reports

Santorini - Love in the Aegean Sea

  33 votes
Page: 1 2
Do you think it's possible to fall in love with something inanimate? My love affair with Santorini (a Greek Island) had me making 5 trips over a period of 10 years. So what is the draw factor??


Blue cupola and white belltower.
Blue cupola and white belltower.
Santorini in recent years has developed into a summer holiday resort for both Greeks and foreigners. Its important archaeological sites and its caldera crowned with the stunning sight of blue cupolas and white belltowers of the many churches on the island (the face of many postcards), make this an extraordinary island.

Not only is Santorini impressive and simply breathtaking, the architecture makes the island truly picturesque. You will marvel at the gorgeous volcanic cliffs arising above the sea, coloured red, brown and green (leaving with three choices of beaches), and perhaps you might even leave your soul behind.

To truly enjoy the much awaited anticipation of arriving at Santorini, it is best to take a ferry from the port of Piraeus (Athens) and embark on a 10 hours overnight ride (beginning at 8pm). As you approach the island (ie around 6am), you will be rewarded with the amazing view of the walls of the caldera which stands 300 metres from the sea.

So what is the mystery about this island??

Santorini has often been described as the “Pompeii of the Aegean”, the “Lost City of Atlantis”, and references have also been made in Plato’s dialogues of ‘Timaeus’ and ‘Critias’.

Santorini would not be what it is today, if not have a massive volcano eruption that took place on or about the middle of the 16th century BC. The eruption caused tidal waves in excess of 200 metres which were sent crashing into the northern coast of Crete, causing heavy destruction. Earthquakes were triggered and the ash and debris choked the skies. After the eruption, all that remained was the C-shaped island we know today.

Mild tremors are often felt on the island to date. But don't let all this scare you and come discover why this is romantic destination favoured by many.

Favourite spots:
Postcard pic of AKROTIRI and the Boy Boxer.
Postcard pic of AKROTIRI and the Boy Boxer.
Dedicate an afternoon visiting the ancient city of AKROTIRI (located at the southern end of the island) which is the best preserved of all pre-historic settlements in the Aegean. Excavations only began in 1967 and confirmed that a volcano did erupt around 1500 BC. As you explore, you will learn that a highly advanced civilisation existed, known as the Minoan.

As you walk down the narrow cobbled streets of the site, you will see two and three storied houses and shops lined either side with walls built of stone and mortar. Under the paving of the streets waste water was conveyed into sewers, and other clay pipes acted as storm drains. Stone walled buildings were reinforced by wooden beams and joists to protect them from seismic disturbances.

On the smoothed plaster walls of the houses, you will find frescos depicting landscapes, geometric designs, animals, and scenes of everyday life in bright colors. My favourite mural is that of the Boy Boxer.

What's really great:
Breathtaking sunset!
Breathtaking sunset!
Go ahead and let yourself be overwhelmed with the cascades of bars, restaurants and hotels that are built on the sides and top of the caldera. It’s best that you spend at least 5 days to soak in all the sights.

A word of advice: DO THE SUNSETS! Why? The sunsets of Santorini esp in Oia, is magical and many tourists clamour to find a spot to take in the spectacle. And as told by my guide, “Dusk is the time of the day when the black pearl of the Aegean reveals its exceptional and unmatched beauty through a unique and exciting exhilarating experience”.

As you walk uphill along the path edging the caldera and past the cable car station, you will find one of my favorite views from the plaza in front of the Nomikos Convention Centre. You will be able to visualise the outline of the original round shape of the island and the present-day submerged crater.

Sights:
Boats berthing at volcano island
Boats berthing at volcano island
1. Take a boat trip from the main island to Nea Kameni (‘Volcano Island’) which is created by the remnants of the eruption. Allow yourself an hour to walk and feel enthralled with the experience as you head towards the centre of the island. Do not get terrified if you see sulphuric smoke wafting out of natural vents from the surface below reminding you of the past.

2. Visit the towns of Fira and Oia. The breathtaking natural scenery, the simple structures painted blue and white, and the cool blue waters of the Aegean Sea create dreamy impressions for all visitors.

3. Do the cable car ride up and down to soak in the bird eye views, and ascend to the top of the caldera on a donkey. Be warned, it takes 587 steps!

4. One of the best way to explore the island is to rent a scooter, allowing you to zoom in a jiffy!

5. Warm yourself in the waters of the Aegean, but your most difficult choice will be to decide whether to sun bathe at a black, white or red sand beach!!!

Accommodations:
Many hotels and cafes perched on the caldera.
Many hotels and cafes perched on the caldera.
Accommodation is available in a wide range of hotels, pensions, guesthouses, bungalows, etc. The tourist information centre will provide you with all the info you require.

As soon as you arrive at Athinios, the port 12 kilometers below Fira. If you have not booked any accommodations, fret not. Consider taking up a pensioner on his hotel. Not only do you get a ride from the port to the hotel, you will also be treated to home cooked meals, and a chance to learn more of the Greek culture. I did just that and also managed to squeeze a night stay at one of the hotels overlooking the caldera.


Nightlife:
Me at the entrance to a bar.
Me at the entrance to a bar.
There are many clubs all around the island, leaving you with unlimited choices. Head on down to Emborio and Pyrgos for nightclubs with live bouzouki music.

Hangouts:
Anyone for supper??
Anyone for supper??
Enjoy the pubs / taverns which provide you with endless entertainment and be warned, the night never seems to end! Once again, you will be spoilt with choices. What I really liked is sipping my ouzo and eating my souvlaki whilst taking in the view of the volcano island.

Restaurants:
Typical Food
Typical Food
The best thing to do in Santorini is to sit and drink in the brilliant sunshine and dramatic blues of the Aegean Sea and sky. Best of all, there is plenty to choose from at either towns.

Delicacies worth tasting include fava (yellow peas served with little oil, lemon and chopped onions), chloro (fresh local cheese), pseftokeftedes (fake meatballs) and down it with local Santorini wines.

Other recommendations:
Red coloured Beach
Red coloured Beach
NB1: Visit the island during spring or late summer. The weather cools down at night.

NB2: Purchase local products such as Santorini wine, handwoven rugs, crotchets and embrodiery from the greek ladies dressed in black.

NB3: Fine jewellery designs truly unique and depicting the Cycladic art.

Published on Saturday August 27th, 2005


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Sun, Jan 14 2007 - 10:45 PM rating by mrscanada

Thanks for the memories. Great report.

Thu, Dec 22 2005 - 11:54 AM rating by marianne

I loved it, a perfect description of a magic island

Sun, Oct 23 2005 - 04:48 PM rating by toribio

THIS REPORT IS MOST GOOD OTHERS IN GLOBO, NUMBER ONE, AND ROMANTIC AND VERY GOOD

Fri, Oct 07 2005 - 08:35 PM rating by miguelmarchi

Very nice report.
You are an expert writing lovely reports.
Thanks for sharing.

Mon, Sep 26 2005 - 03:25 PM rating by isaacmolina

So beautiful report ... !!!
Now I want to visit Santorini too.

Fri, Sep 09 2005 - 10:20 AM rating by magsalex

Another outstanding report. Love the colours in the belltower and sunsey pics.

Mon, Aug 29 2005 - 04:52 AM rating by downundergal

Take me there!!!
Loved your report. Well done.
Kerrie

Sun, Aug 28 2005 - 11:36 PM rating by ravinderkumarsi

excellent report

Sun, Aug 28 2005 - 12:31 PM rating by eirekay

Gloria,
Wonderful Report to a place I have longed to see!
Eire

Sun, Aug 28 2005 - 06:44 AM rating by horourke

Wonderful sweeping view of Santorini. Clearly a much loved place. Your report (reaching from its volcanic origins to its present clubs) brings the island alive. Thank you.

Sun, Aug 28 2005 - 06:26 AM rating by mistybleu

Gloria,

This is a great report, and I can understand the romance.

Misty

Sun, Aug 28 2005 - 05:58 AM rating by rangutan

A Dream-of-a-place, well reported. I have never been to Greece, this report certainly attracts one to it!

Sun, Aug 28 2005 - 05:09 AM rating by davidx

One of the very best reports I've ever read.

Sun, Aug 28 2005 - 03:44 AM rating by dipaks

Great report, definately can help for reader to about this place and pointing to real by such a nice images.
Well done san

Sat, Aug 27 2005 - 11:07 PM rating by hieronyma

I want to go there subito. Seems to be just the place I like.
Hieronyma

Sat, Aug 27 2005 - 10:36 PM rating by bear495

Great job! This makes me want to fly over right now.

Russ

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