Beautiful Island - spoilt by cruise ships Jul 27, 2011
Santorini is a great little island, very beautiful, but infested with tourists (mostly the annoying American kind from cruise ships - sorry, don't mean to offend my American friends here).
I stayed in Perivolos, which was nice enough, because the hotel was very isolated. But I pretty much stayed around the hotel pool, because when I did venture out to the beach there was really bad euro pop trash Lady Gaga type music blasting from the beach bars. Not good if you're trying to relax and read a book.
But my view of Santorini changed once I'd hired a car and explored the island. There are some really magical places, unspoilt by mass tourism. And so beautiful !!
So my tip is, get in a car and go...you'll have a fantastic time and because the island is so small, the beaches and little towns will be easy enough to find.
The people are wonderful and I wasn't hassled once. But I did meet one lady who stayed in Perissa. The hotel wanted to charge her extra for the air con, so she slept with the window open at night instead- big mistake, cos one night she woke up to find a man in her room stealing all her stuff ! Passport, money, jewellery, everything gone, with the man, through the window !
I did enjoy my time in Santorini and would recommend it to anyone. But just be aware, you will be one of thousands on this beautiful little island.
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SANTORINI May 14, 2007
Santorini… the most romantic place on Earth…. I can say it 100% surely; because this place has something that can touches every person’s heart. I went to Santorini this year in May. The place amazed me so strong… So, I decided to buy a trip and give it as a present to my sister, who at the moment lives and works in Cyprus. I wanted her to feel and see same beauty that I did. Because of her job, she could take only two days off, so I booked her a night flight through Athens. But the trip was worth it!!!
I was surprised how nice was her letter describing the adventures in Santorini. So, I am posting her letter here. Of course I had to do all the translation, but it was worth it!:)
Enjoy:) And start planning you trip to Santorini!!!
I have no idea what to begin from, because when I close my eyes, I still see feel that warm spirit which lives there and make every person better.
My trip started in Cyprus (Larnaca) and was through Athens. When I landed to Athens, there were more then 5 hours left till flight to Santorini. Monitors still weren’t showing gate number, that’s why I went to look for a place to put my head down. Airport was full of people, who were sleeping right on the floor. I joined them. I have no idea how much I slept, but when I opened my eyes I saw a strange Indian man and his wife. They were watching how I sleep. I decided that there is no reason for them to look more at “sleeping beauty”, rolled my stuff and staggered to look for my gates. Suddenly got cold, that’s why I decided to drink some tea. For hot water and pack of bad tea I pay 2 euros and went to my gates. There were so quiet so peaceful, somewhere beyond you could hear an echo of soft music… I decided to take a short nap, because I still had an hour and a half till my boarding. But suddenly some local countrymen came and started all open throats to discuss whose potatoes cropped better this year… Probably this was the theme… No sleep again… That hour and a half went very fast looking at the ceilings…
When I took a seat on the plane I didn’t feel how I fell asleep and opened my eyes when the plane’s wheels touched the land of Santorini. We landed. Early morning. Absolutely everything and everyone were sleeping. Just a big red sun round sticks it face under the sea’s bed sheets. Nice, quiet, peaceful. Since I didn’t have any baggage, went straight outside to look for the bus station. I didn’t want to get late to travel agency from where I had to pick up a ticket for the whole day excursion over Santorini island. Of course, the bus is only after half an hour. I was the only one who stood near bus station. Well, let’s wait. After some time six short Chinese girls and one retard Spanish joined my company. I felt kind of weird, because I had no idea where I am and where I go, but I liked the way I felt. Finally the bus soundly arrived and took as to capital’s bus station, which looked like a basket ball stadium with a kiosk in the middle of it. I asked a man who was sitting there how to get to Cathedral church which is a guide or a landmark of the city. After few minutes I realized that the man doesn’t speak English. Cool. Well, I’ll find it anyway, I thought so. I started climbing the stairs up to the centre. The more I climbed, the more beautiful view was greeting my eyes: little white houses with blue blinds, local women cleaning the streets and the smell of morning coffee and rolls coming from local cafeterias… mmmmmmmm….. I couldn’t keep my self and stopped to have breakfast. A woman who was working in a café didn’t know where the Cathedral church is… I got a strange feeling – am I stupid or maybe those people don’t live here? I am showing them the map, they just swinging their heads and wondering “is this place in Thira (capital of Santorini)”?! Amazing… :) Fifth person I asked showed me where the church is; nearby I found the travel agency. There was so much time left till 9 pm, so I had time to look around. Small streets, like labyrinths, were taking me by meander lanes up and down, when I came to a place from where opens unreal view: huge scars, little houses bulging on them, far beyond sleeping volcano in a misty air and below this beauty big ships were waking up… I started screaming (not loud – in my head) and the only thing that came in to my mind was “OH GOD, IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL HERE!”. Of course I took my camera and started taking pictures of everything. There was no one around me, so I had to use a “Photographer for myself” favour. Because of amazing view I started dreaming looking at the horizon… I felt like in a fairy tale. I swear!!!
Well, at 9:00 am I was knocking on the travel agency’s doors, because 9:15 am I had to take an all day tour. I paid 35 euros for the whole day excursion which covers bus and boat rides. Detailed excursion you can find in the end of my letter. Suddenly I heard a woman’s voice behind my back: “Are you Lithuanian girl who yesterday reserved the ticket”? Hurray! I took my ticket and went the direction that woman told me to get to the bus. There were waiting all king of people:) At last our bus arrived, everybody got in. A strange girl met us – with a mat hair, red big nose, look like after drinking all night and whipped make up: Hello my children!!!” We looked at each other with a respectable age man and understood each other perfectly without words…. Mdaaaa….. Well, excursion has begun. Our LADY red nose guide Tatjana had a great information about the island, but sometimes just felt lack of thoughts or when she forgot what to say, she started to grumbling something and repeat “Tania dura,Tania kuku” (Tania stupid, Tania kuku ). Would you like this kind of guide through your fairy tale island?:) I wouldn’t… :) But what happened that happened. This is not the point but it was fun.
After visiting the highest place of the island, we went down the mountains to the port. We were heading to volcano! There were around 200 strange people on a board. Almost everybody was so nervous, pouter, some of them were moody, some meditating, another one was smoking one cigarette after another, someone was still sleeping… I sat near a couple which seemed to be not better then others. The woman was with unshaved legs, man – without one front tooth. I thought that’s mother and son, but as it turned out lately – they were husband and wife… :) They both were from Spain, both didn’t know English, I didn’t know Spanish, but we perfectly understood each other :) We spent almost all the time together. I was taking pictures of them, they were taking pictures of me, together we climbed to volcano, later had beer and lunch. On the way to Oia town, which is famous with it’s sunsets I met a very nice family from Australia. It was so sad that they didn’t go out of ship with me because they bought an excursion only for half a day… Well… I had hairy toothless family… still something… :) When we got out of ship, guide “mother” Tatjana announced that sun will go down after 2 hours and we have to meet her after it at Oia’s town square. If you want to reach Oia from the port, you have to climb 400 steps or take a donkey and ride on it all these 400 steps. Everybody seemed to be very lazy; they jumped on donkeys and started the journey. I and few people decided to do some sports and climb the stairs. Of course, my new family was climbing with me:) We had so much fun, laughed a lot from each other; it was so hard climbing the stairs… As well it was so hot, and we were so tired but so good mood. When we reached the top, we appeared on a huge scarp, from where opened one more fairy tale. We were so tired and wet from climbing but we didn’t care about that. We were fascinated of the view. I couldn’t hear any sound or comments during next few minutes, only the wind was blowing my hair… After some time we got back to reality and went through narrow small lanes to see what’s going there, what local people are selling in their small shops and galleries. Unforgettable impression: exceptional variety of colours, ideal cleanness and very strange smell – neither flowers nor incenses. Something sweet. The entire island has the same smell….
Finally I lost my “couple of the year” and left alone. Through the small spaces between little houses there was standing a castle on the top of the rock were people were gathering to wait for sunset. It seemed that everybody were waiting for some kind of miracle, that something important going to happen very soon, everybody were so happy, so calm, with light smiles on their faces at the same moment holding their second sides… Old and young people were hugging and kissing, it was so nice to look at it… I sat and watched how red sun goes down thinking that maybe there is somewhere over the sea someone who misses and thinks about me…
During the most amazing moments my camera’s battery just “died”… Maybe it was the best way, because I could just sit and admire the view, not living in my cam as usual…
After beautiful sunset I went towards Oia town square where I had to meet “mother” Tatjana and go back home. All “children” of her was slowly coming to fixed place. Here come my Spanish friends!!! :) I told them that my camera “died” so they put my email down and promised to send some pictures. Oooh, how nice :)
Suddenly, a voice of crying woman was shouting and screaming her child’s name. She was scouring the square full of people looking for her boy. Once everybody got quiet and petrify. All we could hear was just her crying voice and quick running sound of a high heel shoes. I don’t know if she found her son, I home she did.
When our guide with a smell of last night’s hangover came and picked us with a bus, I had to do the most cheery part of the day – to find a place to sleep. After left Oia town, we got to Santorini’s capital Thira. City was in the middle of parties afloat. Night life in Santorini is “in da house”, but different as well. Streets are full of small outdoors cafes, offering only national dishes – no McDonalds, no KFC, and no other junk food!!! I went back to the same bus station and called a woman where I booked a room during my stay in Cyprus. She, as rest of local people, didn’t speak normally English, that’s why she asked me to stay in a station – she will come and pick me up. Nice:) Two minutes did not pass and there she was. We hugged each other as an old friends and funny talking went down the alley to her small hotel – house. There were her family sitting in terrace. The woman introduced me to her family and said that tonight I will be sleeping at their house. I answered that I will be their new child :) I am always joking in my style.. :) With a large smile on my face I went upstairs to my room which was so cosy and sweet, yellow white walls with blue toy style blinds. Just took a shower and went straight to bed. I wasn’t tired, I just was full of energy and kept saying “This is amazing place!”.
Next morning at 9:30 am I was poping in Thira city’s streets and looking place where to have breakfast. I climbed to one of the cafes downhill were I could see all the beauty and took a seat. I was alone in a café so got all the service and attention of waiters. While I was having breakfast, the owner of a café was drawing me a plan where to go and what to see. After thanking to the owner I went to bus station, because was heading to black sand beach. On my way to bus station I understood that I am very happy, it seemed that I can hear music, but in reality it was calm. Maybe I got crazy? :) Well, maybe not! I was smiling and people were smiling back at me. Good…
Black sand beach didn’t leave me big impression, so I decided not to waist my time. I had lunch, beer, took a few shots (pictures) and took a bus to red sand beach.
The red sand beach was on the other side of the island. After 25 minutes the bus driver dropped me in some desert and told to go “THERE”. Well…peep… I thought… another one tourist trap… Walking… walking… so hooooot… wanna take a swim as sooner as possible…. Suddenly I looked up and saw fabulous burgundy colour rocks. WOW!!! That was a view… I couldn’t stop admiring how natural it was, not created by somebody, not built…. Fantastic. I spent there two hours, because I had to go to the airport and fly back home…
I got to the airport too early… as usually… So I had some time to taste some local wine:) Quite jolly and smiling I waved and said good bye to beautiful island of Santorini and flew to Athens. There, during transfer boarding to Cyprus, customer woman latched to my passport – she said that I need a visa. WHAT??? What visa? Get real, woman, European Union, what visa? She went somewhere with my passport to correct my words, by that time there was a big line of people who started to mutter and grizzle. When custom woman came back, she started asking me what I do in Cyprus. I said jaja I live and work in Cyprus and I am here with my business stuff. The woman grudgingly gave my passport back and let go. I thought that last minute they will announce through the speakers: Miss Lithuanian girl, please step out of the plane :) But thanks God it didn’t happen. On the plane, next to me was sitting elderly, very reserved man and was reading something all the time. I thought he was a lawyer :) When stewardess gave as “food packages” – if you can call them so – we started to talk. Every talk is better with food :) He was an academic teacher of Dubai University. I was close – not a lawyer – teacher – almost the same :) We had conversation on different themes, he was very interesting person. It turned out that every morning at 6 am he goes to our beach where I live to take a swim :) FUN. After the plane landed we thanked to each other for the interesting conversation and headed different ways. At the passport control point I head same question again: do you live here in Cyprus? Doooaaaah!!!:) YES YES, I DO! Where are you from? LITHUANIA!!! Oh, so you come to Cyprus from Lithuania via Athens? YES YES YES YES!!:) I didn’t argue, just smiled and went to my girlfriends who met me at the airport. They had a bottle of champagne while were waiting for me, because the plane was late half an hour, so I was met very lively and happily! :) We went thought the pictures, I gave them some souvenirs from Santorini, and then started “small” tasting of brandy and zivania till 5 in the morning :) So, that’s how my trip to fairy tale island – Santorini looked like.
Some detailed description what I saw and where I was :)
Santorini in one day. Cost 35 Euros. First, we visited Prophet Elias Monastery which was built on the highest point of the island in 1711 AD where the view is breathtaking. TThen we headed to picturesque village of Pyrgos so I captured some magnificent photos. Then we went by bus to Athinios port and got on King Thiras boat board, which took us to the Volcano. After the visit to the active crater, we continued sailing to the Hot Springs where we could swim in the green sulphur waters. After half an hour twith a boat we sailed to Thirassia island. There we could swim at the beach next to or you can visit the traditional village Manolas by the winding steps, either walking or riding a donkey. Back on board again and sailed to Oia which was our last destination. Oia is built along the rim of the caldera wall. You could walk in the village; enjoy the magnificent panoramic view and the spectacular colourful sunset.
Part of the Santorini, Greece 2007 travel blog
Part of the list SANTORINI
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