Days 22 – 24: Greece [Santorini; Thira / Fira]

Day 22 – Thursday 12th July

We left Crete around noon today, and caught a ferry to the stunning island of Santorini.

Beautiful Santorini

The main part of Santorini, where we were staying, is Thira and it’s “the epitome of relaxation, with it’s sun-drenched beaches and ambling white washed stone paths. The island is a partially submerged volcanic caldera poking above the oceans surface in five places” – from ‘The Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget’.
From the ferry port we caught the bus in to Thira, then from there it was a 2 minute walk to Hotel Flora. After check-in we went for an orientation walk, being about 5 minutes to the entry point to the main build up of shops, restaurants, bars and clubs. Stumbled across ‘Obelix’ gyros, which turned out to be the best gyro’s in all of Sanotirini, according to their logo, and I couldn’t argue with that. Costing less than 3 euros for a feed, I knew we would be coming back here multiple times within the next few days.

Deeeliciouss Obelix gyros

After lunch we walked through the town and found the cable cars with a beautiful view.

Jenny and I overlooking Santorini

*Travellers tip* – If you’re going to catch a cable car, either do it from the bottom up, or pay for a return ticket.
Jenny and I are on a pretty strict budget so we bought a ticket one way, down to the bottom. Costs about 3 euro, or 4 for return. The ride goes so quick down that you can’t even get a photo, and at the bottom, there’s not much to do…at all. It’s the old port so there are some boats, a few restaurants, and a lot of donkeys. The alternative way to get down and up, other than the cable car, is ride a donkey (4euro) or take the steps.

Mother flippin’ asses!

Now, as I said, we are on a pretty strict budget and once we were at the bottom, didn’t want to fork out for another ticket. I thought it was pretty cruel to make some poor ass schlep my ass back up the stairs on a 40 something degree day, so Jenny and I told Annie and Aidan we would meet them up the top, and take the stiars. Turns out, stairs fu*king suck! Especially when there’s 588 of them. Yep, we walked 588 stairs, winding there way up a really steep cliff face. Anyway, about an hour or two later, a lot of sweat, tears, and a mild panic attack along the way, we made it to the top! I’ll be happy to never see another donkey in my life.

Day 23 – Friday 13th July

Santorini, like most of the islands in Greece, really comes to life after sunset. Last night, after getting over the massive stair-hike, I went hopping around the different bars until early morning with Aidan, so our morning today was written off.

We woke up and dragged ourselves to Murphy’s, an Irish bar that played the AFL live, from back home, which Aidan was very excited about to watch his team play. I wasn’t too fussed.
After the footy we met up with Jenny and Annie again and all caught the bus from Thira to the north part of the island, Oia (pronounced ee-ah).

Amazing Oia

Oia is an absolutely flawless village, famous for it’s postcard sunsets and definitely a must see.

Other than the tourists who pepper the streets, making it almost impossible to move, you instantly understand why so many people go there once the sun begins to go down.

Bloody tourists

Once the sun had actually set below the horizon, everyone along the strip applauded. Quite an amazing sight.

Travellers tip – When visiting Oia it’s probably worth getting there at least 2 hours before sunset to secure yourself a good viewing spot. Take a picnic along with you as the restaurants are a rip off, and practically all booked out anyway.

Stunning + sunset = Stunset

Day 24 – Saturday 14th July

Today was probably one of the best days I’ve had so far, definitely the best day in Greece anyway! All four of us hired quad bikes [2 per bike] and toured around the island. It cost about 22.50euro per bike (I’ve heard you can find even cheaper) and filled up with petrol twice, costing 11euro, which is very reasonable for the whole day.

Broom broom!

With our map we guided ourselves around and visited several beaches. One was called ‘Red Beach’, as the rock faces surrounding it and the sand were a deep crimson.

Jenny and I at Red Beach

Nothing like the beaches back home. From the red beach you can catch a taxi-boat to the black beach and white beaches (again, named after the colour of the sand), which I think is the only way to access them, as you can’t get there by road.
We also went to a nice strip along the south part of the island that seems to be another party hub as it was surrounded by bars and clubs, and undoubtedly would be very popular at night time.

After beaching it for majority of the day, we went to a Santo Wines and sampled 12 different wines, all made locally. Aidan and I were the drivers so didn’t want to drink too much…well, might have wanted to, but wisely chose not to get pissed.

Click here for a full list of wineries in Santorini.

From there we went over the road to a Mexican restaurant, Señor Zorbas, for some delicious grub. Of couse, enjoyed another amazing Santorini sunset. It was pretty devastating having to return the quadbikes at the end of the day. But it was probably for the better as I couldn’t work out how to turn on the headlights. Turns out it was an easy flick of the switch.
Soon to follow; the final days in Greece, on the party island of Ios..