Also staying at our hostel was this lady and her 12 yr. old daughter, travelling for their French holiday. The mom is Japanese, the dad apparently French, so this kid already knows two languages and some English besides. And she's only 12! Wait'll she gets to high-school and learns more cool stuff. man I'm so jealous! But she was a really good kid, and it was great because I had a chance to really practice some French and try to drop out the Italian words that kept sneaking in. The girl - Ayuri - knew alllll about volcanos and was explaining all about the magma and explosions and everything to us.... bright kid. So we had our own tour guide in a way, and then finally took the boat to the nearby hot springs (on another smaller island I believe). I'll tell you what. There was no hot in those springs. There might've been a bit of tepid or possibly even luke-warm if you had a really good imagination, but NO hot. So to get to the springs (this is the killer), first you must jump, dive or step into the regular quite cold sea-water (maybe about 60/65 degrees?), swim about 20 yrds, and then slip and slide your way over murky rocks covered in reddish slime that makes the water around you the same, and oh yeah, your feet and swimsuit as well. Once you're in the hot springs, we all stood in water up to our thighs shivering for about 5 min., watching the crazies (they're not with me I swear!) from the hostel have an all out red-slimy-mud fight, before returning BACK through the now extremely cold water to the boat
. And then you get to shiver in the windy, albeit sunny, deck back to the port. Worth the money spent? I think not. But the volcano was cool, and I met this cool lady and her daughter, so whatever, in that sense, totally worth it! Arriving back at port, our options were, climb the literally shitty 600 steps back UP, take a fancy cable car, or encourage animal cruelty and take a mule/donkey/whatever up the shitty steps. And I admit since the rest of the group did the animal thing, I did as well, but didn't enjoy it nearly half as much. These creatures are MISERABLE, you can tell it in their eyes, but they are of course dutiful and pretty obeyant. poor things! When we finally got to the top (it didn't seem to take that long coming down.... hmmmm) we window-shopped through Fira and cabbed it back to Perissa. And guess what we did when we got back? Ate a giant 30cm (about a foot) pita full of fresh veggies and chicken and oh yes tzatziki, and headed for Perissa beach (the black one) to finish drying off. life is good....(well if you're not an animal in Greece anyways).
The hostel we're at offers different tours around the island, so finally feeling like maybe we should go back to being tourists if only for a couple hrs, myself and some of the hostelers booked tickets for a half-day tour of the 'volcano' island (duh it's ALL a volcano) and hot springs. First you take the rockin' minibus to Fira and then have to walk down about 600 lengthened stone steps, navigating your way around donkey/mule crap (okay, so what IS the difference between the two???) and quoting Shrek donkey-isms. You finally reach the port, get on a boat straight out of Pirates of the Caribbean (kind-of), and they take you to one of the islands where you can hike up loose volcanic gravel paths to seee a couple of different craters, but especially this main one, created only about what, 67 years ago? um, that's really not that long ago. For a volcano, it's pretty darn recent. greaaatttttt..... but it was cool because there was sulfuric (mmm yum) steam coming out of the inside of the main crater, and the views of the rest of Santorini and it's isles and the horizon was increidble