Sunning ourselves in Santorini

Trip Start Aug 11, 2009
Trip End Sep 30, 2010

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Flag of Greece  , Cyclades,
Friday, May 21, 2010

When people say Santorini is stunning, they certainly aren't exaggerating. The island was once a circular volcano, but eruptions half sank it so these days it is almost a semicircle, with surrounding islands that appeared from the water after bouts of volcanic activity. The main town, Fira, is built right on top of the caldera (the cliff forming the ring of the volcano) making for spectacular views from the whitewashed town over the cliffs. The town itself is an intriguing maze of alleyways, which fill to suffocation point as the cruise ship day trippers descend.
We stayed a couple of kilometers out of town in a small village, marketed as 'traditional' and indeed there were grape vines and mules as far as the eye could down the hillside leading to the beach side of the island (there are no beaches at the base of the cliffs). The hostel was run by a family which meant that every morning as we emerged stumbling from our room (well hey, the standard wine bottle size is 1.5L) Stavros the dad was with effusive greetings and open arms to herd us into the lounge room and offer us coffee and biscuits.

Sadly on Santorini, we were our own contenders for the obnoxious tourist award as we succumbed to peer pressure, and practicality and actually hired an ATV / quad bike, oddly reminiscent of a ride on lawn mower without blades. The one downside to Santorini is the possibility of being woken by the incessant whine of a quad bike flying past. As the top speed of these things was about 40km/hr and the roads all winding, the island seemed disproportionately large and it took us all day to see the island from the red and white beaches in the South, the mountain top ancient Minoan city of Thera in the middle, to the sunset town of Oia in the North.
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