Nowadays Santorini is thus a gigantic ring of jagged rocks about 3-500 meters tall around a deep blue caldera, and crowned with a series of lovely Cycladic villages, looking somewhat like white teeth on top of some enormous mouth
. The place is indeed beautiful in a savage way, and the villages themselves are absolutely charming. Of course like any other beautiful and somewhat famous place, these villages have been inundated by mass tourism. Instead of the traditional fishermen who used to live here, you now have streets lined with one shop after another, chock-full of merchandise made in China and jewelry; all made for the purpose of emptying the pockets of the tourists which periodically invade the island upon disembarking off cruise ships. Fortunately, some villages,such as Oia on the north side of the island, have preserved some of their traditional character and are truly a magical place.
We spent 4 days here, some of them spent wandering and admiring the beautiful sights, but much of it spent on the south side of the island, away from the caldera, where we cooked on some unique beaches: the sand there is black being formed out of volcanic rock and can get really hot in the sun in a hurry.
The island of Santori or Thira as it is also known is truly spectacular. 3 and a half millenia ago, one of the largest volcano eruptions in recorded history sunk a large chunk of the island into the sea leaving a gigantic ring of volcanic rock around a large sunken crater (also known as a caldera). Incidentally, this eruption was responsible for destroying several brilliant civilization: that of the island itself which has been identified by some historians as being Atlantis!, that of the Minoans whose remains we visited in Crete, and it is also speculated that it may have caused the 10 plagues of Egypt made so famous by the Bible. Two thousand years later another eruption caused another small island to appear in the middle of the caldera: an active volcano which as we found out, is still active and creates enough steam on certain days to envelop the whole island in a deep fog.