Celebrating and Sunbaking... more Greek Islands

Trip Start Nov 15, 2004
Trip End Nov 10, 2005

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Monday, October 10, 2005

Our first stop was Naxos, a six hour ferry ride from Athens in the Cyclades Islands. The main village has the little whitewashed houses on the cliff that you see in the postcards - very exciting for Kate - and the remains of an ancient temple on a small island connected to the mainland where people once worshipped Apollo. We stayed at the
lovely Pension Sophie for a few days where the owners spoiled us with their homemade wine, fetta, olives, and marinated anchovies and decided to hire a car for a day to see more of the island.

Driving on the right side of the road took a little bit of time to get used to - at first we would go to change gears using our left hand and Kate had to keep repeating "right hand side" in her head to try and avoid driving on the left (and she still needed Michael to say it a couple of times when she pulled out on to the left!). We visited some small villages, tried the local liqueur made from citrus leaves and had greek coffee by the sea (it is really thick Turkish coffee but past relations between the two countries have resulted in the Greeks renaming it). We also saw two giant half completed kouri (naked male) statues from around 400 BC lying in quarries. Naxos is quite pretty although not as green as we expected, the Greek hospitality excellent and the seafood pretty good.

Ýt was hard to not have to high expectations of Santorini after years of watching Getaway reporters enjoying it but in the end our expectations were exceeded (although Katrina Rowntree always gets the best hotels!). Santorini today is a result of a volcanic eruption in what was once the middle of the island around 3000 years ago. The main
island now has massively high cliffs with multicoloured layers of exposed rock and the famous whitewashed cubed houses perched percariously down the sides. One of the first things we noticed was the main road was lined with eucalyptus trees. A reminder we are not too far from home perhaps! We were captivated by the changing colours as the sun set reflecting on the caldera (cliff walls) from our prime dinner location in the village of Oia, and equally captivated by the colours and fish life beneath when we did two of our best dives on the hardened lava sea floor. Anyone who has dreamed of visiting the Greek Ýslands will not be disapointed by Santorini, we promise!
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