19 June 2018

Santorini Part 1


Ah Santorini, a paradise for every kind of person. With a multitude of terrains, from mountain to beach, city to farm, Santorini offers experiences that will suit a vast amount of preferences and personalities. The second leg of our Greece trip took place solely in Santorini, which was a change from the original plan but everything ended up working out just fine. A little note when it comes to traveling; think through all of the transportation for your trip, don't just leave things to chance or ambiguity. For instance, if you're planning to take a ferry from one place to another, check the length of time it takes as well as the prices, that way you're not blindsided and have to book emergency flights to and fro. Just for instance… Any who, once we arrived in Santorini (which has a teeny tiny airport so it's hard to get lost) we headed to our first hostel. Because of the last minute re-jigging of trip, we would only be staying in this hostel for one night before we moved location. The constant moving of locations ended up being a blessing in disguise because it made it so much easier to see and explore different parts of the island. 



Our hostel was just a ten minute walk away from the most gorgeous black sand beach of Perissa and along the way, there was a little bakery with the most wonderful treats like all sorts biscuits, cookies, baklava, fresh bread, sandwiches, and coffee. To say we ate well here is an understatement and much to our surprise, the prices were ridiculously low. We never spent more than seven euros for two people and still managed to gorge ourselves in everything they had to offer. 


Once on the beach, we found a place that offered sun beds, which gave us a much needed break from the scorching black sand, and you only had to buy one drink. Six euros to lay in a sun bed all day with a drink, yes please. And that's exactly what we did for the rest of the day. Believe me when I say we did not move except to eat and pee. When we needed a break from the sun, a quick dip in the water proved to be the perfect solution. The water in the Aegean Sea is crystal clear and glitters a sort of impossibly pure blue. It genuinely looked like something out of a movie, so completely unreal. I am by no means a water baby, and therefore swimming in the ocean comes with a bit of stress. I usually say where I can stand, mostly because I'm a terrible floater and and I tend to panic if I can't see what's under my feet. Throughout the trip I tried to test my boundaries more and more, but for the first day, I stayed very much within my comfort zone. As we returned to our hostel, we were greeted with an unexpected, but much appreciated surprise, air conditioning in our room. I can not even begin to express how excited we were to feel the cool, machine generated air, and it was pretty much the best sleep we had the entire trip. 
The second day in Santorini was much like the first because I strongly believe in “if it ain't broke don't fix it”. Pigging out in the bakery, basking (burning) in the sun, swimming in the ocean, the whole nine yards. Add in a drink by the water brought to us by a very nice looking Greek man and some fantastic pizza, and we basically could have been a poster ad for traveling the Santorini beaches. In the afternoon, we decided to mix things up and go parasailing. While at a rather steep price for two people, eighty euros together, in the moment it was definitely worth the prices. Now… maybe not so much but the memories are really wonderful. The view we were able to get was like none other, we could see the entire city of Perissa, as well as a lot of the mountain and out on to the unending sea. 


Our next day in Santorini took us to Thira, which is the city at the top of the mountain, which was very different from the beach community we had previously partook in. With the closest water being a bus ride away, we took a brief sabbatical from the sun and sand to explore the more vibrant side to Santorini. Our first day in Thira happened mostly because of an accident and our inability to read a map. We decided to take the cable car down the side of the mountain —a view only rivaled by the parasailing— expecting there to be a beach-esq environment but came to only find a port. After a lot of back and forth ( both walking and verbally) we decided to take a boat to the Volcano of Santorini. After about a thirty minute walk, a lot of sweating, and a fair amount of swearing —life rule about sandals comes back to haunt me here— we reached the top of the volcano. The view was breathtaking, both of the sea and Thira. Once we managed to make our way back down the volcano, which was a great deal easier than going up, we boarded the boat again and took off to our next location, the hot springs.


 Now I’m going to preface this part by reminding you that I am not a strong swimmer by any means and often, I don't even particularly enjoy swimming, but you see, this was a very unique opportunity and I knew that if I didn't partake, I probably wouldn't get another chance like it. The boat stopped about 20 meters from the shore, which for some seems like nothing to swim but for me, that may as well has been the entire ocean. We were to jump off the boat into the water, which was about 10 meters deep and this point, and swim to shore. The guide repeatedly said that is you weren't a strong swimmer, she strong advised against partaking, but of course I ignored her and jumped. For someone who hasn't put their head under water in about ten years, the impact was a bit shocking but I came up for air, sputtered for a few seconds and then started to swim. For the first fe seconds it was fine, easy, but then I started to realize that I was trying so hard and the shore wasn't getting any closer. In fact, it looked like it was getting farther away. I kept pushing but every part of my body was aching, my chest was  tight, and all I wanted to do was stop swimming and cry. Thank god for my best friend Kylie, she was truly the only thing that kept me pushing forward. A little bit, then float, a little bit more, than float. Eventually we got to a place where I could touch down, and I felt both sweet relief and a wave of triumph flow over me. As we headed closer to the shore, we could feel the water getting warmer and warmer, and once we reached the beach, we noticed mud beneath our feet. So we did the only reasonable thing to do in that moment, we slathered ourselves in it. I mean why pay for a mud bath when there's a free one right there? Alas, our allotted time at the got spring ended and we had to get back to the boat. While it was still definitely a struggle, this time the swim was a tad bit easier which was definitely a confidence booster. But to say I wasn't overjoyed when I got to the ladder would be misleading because I grabbed onto that thing like I was never letting go.  The boat returned us to shore where we rewarded our day of exercise and accomplishments by scarfing down the most amazing crepes with fresh made cream, as well as the best spaghetti I've ever had. A perfect way to end a great day.


The final part of our Greece trip will be coming soon, stay tuned! 

-xx-


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