Those of you who have been following the blogs posts had probably breathed a sigh of relief over the last few posts as we talked of sunshine and heat rather than the rain that had been following us for most of the trip. Thank goodness he is giving that subject a rest.
Well it has found us again, on the Greek Island of Santorini. What on earth do you do on Santorini when it is raining? Um, write a blog post.
Santorini was not really in our budget but as we would be nearing our “wedding” anniversay (you could not have called our pizza and video evening with the kids in a partially demolished house a normal wedding) we would splash out and include it in the itinerary.
This is not a “get to know Greece” experience, all you will get to know here are other travellers. We used to occasionally frequent a Greek restaurant in Little Manly in New Zealand (sadly gone now) and they had a painting of Santorini on the wall. It looked like a fascinating combination of awesome natural and man made activity that looked like a pretty special place.
Now in our crater rim cave house, I can confirm that it is probably more awesome standing several hundred metres above the sea than I ever expected.
It is so photogenic that you just want to get the camera out and start shooting but as your digital storage starts to disappear faster than the Euros do here, you do have to check yourself and start being pretty brutal in your culling of photos.
When we were in Paris and London we always saw (usually Chinese) bridal couples having their wedding photos taken near famous landmarks. Here it is taken to a new level. Vertigo is not a condition potential photographic subjects are allowed to suffer from as they are made to pose in all types of life threatening locations.
We have seen little children being dragged around in their “sunday best” to undergo similar photo shoot sessions, what looked like a magazine shoot below our cave house at 7:30am this morning and, I witnessed a group of young girls going through various gymnastic poses (handstands, etc) on the precipice. I have a few ideas for Ruth for our walk along the crater to Fira (the main town) tomorrow that will make great shots for the next blog post.
We are staying in Oia at the Northern end of the Island which is about 30 minutes from the port where we landed.
To get from sea level to town level is challenging as the island is essentially one giant volcanic crater and the crater rim is high and pretty much just a cliff face. They have carved a road with many switch backs up the side of the cliff and like all of these roads it is a white knuckled ride even with a safe driver.
Rather than catch a series of buses we decided to take the soft option and catch a cab. This was no normal cab ride but a terrifying ride that would struggle for patronage in a “fun park”. It started by the driver rushing out and pouring water into his radiator (it was a Mercedes but in pretty poor condition). I assume the subsequent speed that he drove at was to ensure that the car would not get the chance to overheat again. He had two mobile phones that he worked the entire trip and the car was a manual transmission so the “wheel hand” actually had to be used to change gears as the phone hand was more than occupied. It made our other road trips look tame.
We were met off the taxi by the airbnb “porter” who directed us to the cave. He gave us a quick run down on the area. The very crowded lane we were in (there were five cruise ships down in the crater and it was peak hour, the “roads” were chocked with buses) was main street, the sunset was that way and that was all we really needed to know.
Well the sunset was apprentaly a BIG deal in Santorini so we decided to go down and check it out at the designated hour that the sun was due to sink below the horizon. Wow, did we need reservations? The pathways and tops of houses were shoulder to shoulder with people, it was like going to a major sport event. When the sun finally sunk, the crowd broke into applause, it is the first time I have ever heard nature being applauded.
Well, hopefully the rain won’t hang around too long, I don’t want to bore you with too many more posts from Santorini.