Yesterday was a very relaxing day. After breakfast we took a walk to the beach and went for a swim. The water was salty of course and a comfortable temperature. My family will probably know what a wimp I am in cold water so when I say it was nice, it was probably like a Jacuzzi for most Canadians. As deep as I swam, I could see the sandy sea floor very clearly and not a single fish which brought Mom some assurances against the possibility of running into a shark. We sat on the beach and people watched a bit afterwards. The sound of the waves reminded me of Hilton Beach and the hours we spent there as children trying to catch minnows by the cottage.
Afterwards we went to the pool near our room and I sat and read my book while Mom went for another swim and dozed a bit in the sun. Not too long though for we are not burned. It is not very often that I just lay out in the sun but when I do it is as if the sun seeps right into my bones.
Next we had lunch by the harbour overlooking the sailboats and went for a climb up to the castle. It is mostly a residential area up there with a few museums and churches. I like it for the narrow crooked streets, curved underpasses, stairs going every which way, and potted plants and small garden courtyards to soften the whitewashed walls and concrete. We wandered along more streets and window shopped as we found our way back to our room. Mom swam some more, I napped, and we basically relaxed the afternoon away. Just what we needed. We had an excellent dinner by the harbour again before returning to rest some more.
A few notes: Throughout our trip we have seen large cylindrical containers on the tops of houses and other buildings. They actually look like huge batteries sitting on top of the houses. Today I found out that those are Greece's version of a solar panel. It is called "geyser" and it provides heated water without using electricity. The bougainvillea plants here grow tremendously large… like trees. They are blooming and beautiful. Stray animals are not exterminated here. The receptionist, Maria, was appalled to learn that in North America we kill stray dogs and cats if they are not adopted. She said they have societies here that have formed to protect the interests of homeless animals and besides, they keep the mice and cockroach population down. They provide a service.
This morning after breakfast I decided to take a walk along the beach before packing up our things. We took off our shoes and walked in the water to the end of the beach. On our way back we were passing by a couple who looked like tourists so I said “Hello”. Immediately the gentleman stopped and said, “That accent sounds very familiar. Where are you from?” Now I didn’t think I had any particular accent. I thought I sounded like just about anyone else from North America except maybe someone from the deep south. We eventually figured out that he lives 3 hours from me. Not only that, when he noticed that I was interpreting everything for Mom, he asked if she knew Keith Dorschner and Andre Bourget. Mom was amazed and said “Yes!” Apparently, this man, Richard Dominico, came from North Bay and used to work with Keith on the night shift at the local newspaper in North Bay called the Nugget
. Mom and Richard exchanged many stories about the old days. Mom then told me that we had stayed at Keith’s home in North Bay on our way back to Maryland one time when I was a child. I actually have a faint recollection of that trip. Keith had 6 kids and we all went blueberry picking up in the hills around their house. We ate too many and on our bus trip back home, poor Mom had 4 children throwing up blueberries all over the bus! Richard is on vacation with his wife, Christine, and has 3 books published. I think I will read them.
Our ferry to Santorini went quickly and what a lovely sight boating into this crater. Santorini used to be a regular island but in 1625 BC there was a volcanic eruption so that the centre of the island blew its top and sunk into the Aegean. What is left is the circular rim of the volcano on which houses and towns are perched on the edge. The island is now shaped like a sickle. There is a black island in the middle which I imagine is the volcanic lava and there are other islands extending the rim around the central lava island. All of this makes for some dramatic scenery. Once again I was so happy the travel agent organized our transfers to our hotel. All I had to do was look for the person holding up my name and we were whisked away on a 1/2 hour drive (along some pretty narrow roads and cliff faces) to our destination which is a picturesque town at the east end of the island called Oia.
Wow, we have a nice little apartment with a nice balcony and a lovely view. It has a little kitchenette so we can keep food on hand. Mom was hot when we arrived so after sending a few emails we were off to the pool where I had a chat with a lady from Wales who is leaving tomorrow but has been here for a week. She gave me some tips on restaurants, where to buy food, and the path to the town centre. After we were cooled off, we took a walk into town. The town is white, clean, expensive, and stunning. I have seen many pictures of this island over the years so I knew what to expect, but it is still something to behold in real life. I took a few pictures during our evening stroll before the sun went down. Santorini is famous not only for the beauty of the streets and village, but for its sunsets and although we can see the sunset from our terrace, we were in town at that time and were swept along with the wave of visitors from other towns to the end of the island where we could watch the sunset with people from all over the world.
We walked back toward our hotel and found a reasonable restaurant and who should take up a seat at the next table… but the guy who took the picture of us in front of the Parthenon in Athens 3 days ago. It is a small world.
We will be in Santorini for 3 nights. I’ll make one more post on our last evening here (Wednesday) to wrap up our trip.
Hope everyone back home is well.