Thursday, August 10, 2006

Sunny Santorini...

When I started this we were sitting in Santorini waiting for a taxi to take us to the old town of Ia (Oia) for a beautiful mediteranean dinner, so we could watch the sunset over the water. Bliss.

We had a lovely week just lazing by the pool, sunbathing, and drinking cocktails at our most gorgeous villa. It even has two pools and a health spa. Definitely worth the extra money. Brad and Tuti arrived late on the Monday afternoon, after which we had already spent 5 hours working on our tans. It was great catching up with them.

On the second afternoon we got our quad bikes and zoomed into town (not really - i was too chicken to let Mark go fast). That however changed and it became me going, "christ does this thing go any faster" all of course whilst driving around crazy hilly hairpin bends, while I was digging in my handbag for my camera to take scenic pictures!!! So I guess they just took a bit to get used to.

It was so nice just to relax in Santorini. I am not good at that and generally neither is Mark, not that we got bored at all, gee I mean we didn't even sleep in!! We were out and about by 9am everyday.

Firstly we drove to the other end of the island to visit the much touted Red beach, which I must say is lovely but requires hiking shoes to get to. But when we got there it was an organised beach with sunbeds and umbrellas - so important and a god send on pebble beaches. It was very small though and we only stayed a little while before we hooned off on our "pigs" (the local name for quad bikes) to Perissa beach about 15 minutes further up the coast.

At Perissa we were meant to be having lunch, mind you it was about 3-4pm, so when one of the restaurants offered us a Greek meal, plus free sunbeds we were sold. Food was good but sunbeds were ordinary and the beach, where we were, was quite boring even if the water was lovely. I only went for one swim, as swim which was cut short by the "killer 10cm fish" (quoting Mark) that I could see in the crystal clear water - ugh I just hate things in the water. Pools rule.

I think Brad and Tut both fell asleep there. On the way out we drove the length of the beach, well nearly it went of for miles and it was much more of a party atmosphere further up - some bars were brilliant, full of lots of comfy looking couches and all.

Our volcano trip was next, on the Thursday I think, though I kinda lost track of the days (isn't that what a good holiday is all about). Our little fishing boat, too touristy really, left from the Old Port. To get to the Old Port you either had to walk down the most rediculously steep windy stairs - covered in donkey poo or you could take the donkey (still able to smell donkey poo), but better yet the cable car. Yep we took the cable car - I didn't fancy holding my breath all that way!!

The Volcano was interesting, lots of walking along lots of very hot black rocks in extreme heat to see, hummm a big hole in the ground that we were told was the still active Georgiou volcano - he is expected to go off around 2025. Maybe we avoid investing in Santorini property then...despite the tempting urge to have a summer house there.

The trip encompased a further boat ride to some hot springs on the next wee little island. We thought we'd get there, walk for a bit and find a nice little bubbling pool of warm water. No such luck, the springs were right off the sea and you had to get off the boat, swim 50m and then you reach the sulphur pool. The extra catch was the little minor detail of having to swim through, oh you know harmless stingy jellyfish. Thus I decided the hot springs were not for me. Mark, Tuti and Brad went and all decided on there return - sprint return for Tuti after finding the jellyfish had multiplied in their short absence - that one the 'hot spring' water was barely warm and two that swimming while trying to avoid the jellyfish sucked.

Mark got a sting - just a baby one on his face - but he was lucky, some people had pretty nasty ones. We were told they were harmless but they had a special cream to stop the stinging. Ugh, very glad I skipped that one.

On the way back Tuti took her much wanted donkey ride back up to the town, they are pretty good and know the way and she actually beat us and we took the cable car.

Santorini is all about sunsets and beaches. It has the best I have seen. The beaches may not have been sandy, but let me tell you pebbles are much easier to deal with. They do not get into everything, including your bathers and stay in everything for days after you have been to the beach. I can also now see how they say Australia has a mediterranean climate, as all over Santorini were gum trees - lots of lovely olive coloured eucalyptus trees. It reminded me a lot of when I visited Moomba back home.

Our next beach was our most favourite it was Kamari beach which is a black pebble beach. The plan was to get there have breakfast on the beach, chill for a few hours on the sunbeds and be back in Thira for lunch. Well it was just too nice and we stayed all day. I had a massage - so nice (cheap too) and a yummy peach (weird I know but the fruit sellers by the beach had the nicest fruit).

We took two trips to the old town of Oia, first for dinner at 1800 (apparently the best restaurant on the island) and second we had a more casual dinner at a little restuarant practically jutting right out over the ocean. The people who flock there and to the rocks nearby to watch the sunset is just amazing. Some people had been there for hours vying for the best vantage spot. It really is the most beautiful sunset and it is the same every evening - lots of pinks and purples just gorgeous. Oia itself is so cute, quaint and white, with lots of windy streets all very precariously placed on the edge of the cliff.

Now sunsets were one thing but the moon setting was just awesome. One night after dinner, it was after midnight and we were having a few drinks before bed and we noticed the moon setting. It was high and yellow, then it gradually turned orange, then a bright blood red before it plunged into the ocean. I have never seen it like that and it was just incredible.

We propellored (no jet plane on that flight) out of Santorini on Sunday afternoon, after a bit of final tourist shopping and postcard writing. We were worried that we'd be tired since we were going to be arriving back in London at 9pm, but we were quite relaxed. So I must say I think I enjoyed having a real holiday and could well do with a few more of those.

Ps a final note, flying in over London at dusk, with the lights just starting to come on was also a most impressive sight; as being able to recognise Tower Bridge and the London eye and seeing them at their prettiest from the plane was really quite cool.

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