Andio Paros ... Kalimera Santorini!

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Oct 09, 2010

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Flag of Greece  , Cyclades,
Thursday, September 16, 2010

Had our final balcony breakfast in Paros with the usual pot luck of what you get. We've ordered the same thing every day... but every day it’s been different!  Sometimes two orange juices, sometimes none, sometimes a piece of honey cake, sometimes none.  They didn’t end up charging for our breakfasts though (strange seeing the menu had prices and our reservation didn’t say breakfast was included...) so we can’t complain too much!  We’re not sure how these guys make any money though.  We didn’t pay for the taxi that collected us from the port either as we did add transfers onto our booking, but they weren’t going to charge us for them (they forgot).  A tad too laid back!

It was about 5min to 10am at this stage and we were both going, "um, we need to catch the 10:30am ferry so can you please call the taxi?"  He finally developed a miniscule sense of urgency at this and said to us “Your ferry leaves at 10:30 and you haven’t called a taxi???  You are turning into Greeks!”

Our taxi turned up, and despite having to pick up another person from a nearby hotel and putt putt along behind slow tourists on quad bikes, we still made it to the port at Parikia with 10 minutes to spare.  There was even shade over the holding pen we were told to wait in.

The ferry turned up right on time and we were loaded and off within about 10 minutes.  There's nothing laid back about the Greek ferries!

After a brief 10 minute unload / load stop at Ios island we sailed into the Santorini caldera.  WOW!  What at awe inspiring sight!  The white buildings look like iced frosting on top of the sheer cliffs.  We hope the earthworks are good and there are no earthquakes while we're here as it doesn’t look like it would take that much to make them slide off!

With our luggage firmly strapped on top of a taxi we sat back and enjoyed (more like held on in terror), the steep zig-zag drive up to the top of the island from the port.  Our taxi driver dropped us near the main viewing boulevard and then rang our hotel to tell them to come and get us.  Thank goodness he did as there was no way we could have found our hotel without being shown the way! 

Shortly thereafter, our pack mule (an extremely fit Greek guy) from Adamant Suites came along to collect us and our two heavy suitcases.  Down this way, to the left, down a bit more, turn right, down these steps,  more the aromatic donkey leavings... here is the entrance to the hotel, now down these steps and some more to reception, then down some more steps finally to our room!  Poor guy carried our bags on his shoulders down the actual hotel steps, and we were the fifth new arrival today.  That’s 5 x checkouts and arrivals for him to schlep bags for.  He said he’s lost 9kg in 7 months of working here... no wonder!

But our room ... OMG, it is just like the website, beautiful and amazing.  The view over the caldera is incredible!  We are right on the cliff face with no other buildings beneath us and an amazing amount of privacy for a place that is surrounded by balconies and viewing terraces in all directions.  There are hotels with less steps to get to them, but if you stay there then everyone else walks past your terrace so privacy is not so good.  I’m also glad our Jacuzzi is inside for the same reason.  ; )

Back up the steps to Fira for a late lunch.  We decided to follow “Clint’s rule” (don’t eat anywhere with a view) and ate at a taverna a few streets back from the caldera edge.  More flavoursome, un-pretentious Greek food was consumed – meatballs with rice, tomato fritters and Greek salad - yum, yum, yum.  Most Greek food seems pretty simple, relying on the flavour of the core ingredients rather than tarting things up with fancy sauces and such.

Found another friendly kitty on the way back to the room (are you seeing a theme here?) so Sherry stopped to give it a few cuddles and then it very obligingly posed on the wall for Jeff... until a dog appeared from nowhere and chased it down the steps. Poor kitty cat!

After a bit of a rest we took the camera out for a walk along the caldera edge for some evening and sunset shots.  It really looks amazing here at night time with all the houses lit up in a sparkling cascade down the hill.  Good thing we bought an additional 16GB card in Paros!  We ended up walking to the next village – Firostefani – where we had a waffle and drinks while watching the sun slowly sink behind the island of Thirasia.

Time to see some more pretty, sparkly things... in the form of kak shopping!  Now it was Sherry’s turn to drag Jeff around the streets of Fira – ha ha ha.  Most of the shops sell the exact same souvenirs and there are snow globes everywhere!  We bought some cheapy kak and also some not so cheap hand-painted bowls.  The designs are so bright and colourful – we just hope we can manage to get them back to Perth in one piece.  More hand luggage, oh my aching back!
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