Saturday 19 May 2007
Our last day on Mykonos and it's pissing down! Spent the morning in hotel room packing and watching tv. Sent off some last minute emails and then we checked out at 1130 (we had to be out by midday). We left our bags at the hotel and walked into Chora for some lunch.

Got some money from an ATM and Tony bought a windcheater because he'd lost his on arrival in Athens. Rained on and off. Still an hour or so to kill. Back to hotel and waited there a while, then collected our packs and walked down to the old port ferry terminal.

There was quite a few other passengers already waiting. The highspeed ferry for Santorini left at 1500, 15 minutes late. The ride got a bit rough on the way and it rained heavily as well. Ferry stopped at Paros and Ios on the way to Thira (Santorini).

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It was still raining when we disembarked the ferry (just after 1800) and then had to located our bus to Fira (€1.60) Then had to wait in a damp bus shelter for nearly an hour for the next bus to Oia (€1.20). It had stopped raining by the time we arrived in Oia village. We tried to locate Marnikos Villa without success and tried phoning several numbers for the person that had the key. Eventually we got an answer and waited on the main alleyway for the guy who would take us down to the villa. The villa is very traditional and cavenous, being built into the side of the caldera wall, and slightly damp after all the rain. Half my stuff in my pack got wet, so I'm hanging things everywhere to dry - the villa looked like a laundry for a while.

Had dinner around 2100 at Skala Restaurant in Oia. I tried the Baklava for dessert. It's sweeter than I expected. The bill came to €45 (my shout).


Sunday 20 May 2007
The skies have cleared. Had breakfast at a nearby restaurant. I had some yummy really thick Greek yogurt with walnuts and honey... and a cuppa tea. Tony scoffed at the prices.

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Today we walked the track from Oia to Fira. It took us several hours but the scenery was magnificent. I took some photos of interesting layers of volcanic pumic.The walk took us several hours (1030 to 1415). Had lunch in Fira (savoury crepe) and booked our ferry to Crete on Tuesday. While in the booking office we booked a boat tour of the volcano and Thirasia for tomorrow.

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Caught the bus back to Oia and bought some groceries for the next few days - Tony's decided we'll be making our own breakfast from now on. Did some basic washing at the villa. Beer (yep, Mythos again!) and crisps on the terrace - it's a bit windy. Walked around to the other side of Oia and noticed the crowds starting to gather for the sunset. Viewing the sunset in Oia has turned into a kind of pilgrimage, it's something every tourist does when they come to Santorini. We've decided we won't be typical tourists tonight - we took off and did some emails at the tourist information office.

Dinner at Thomas Grill. Later took some night photos of Oia.
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Monday 21 May 2007
Up at 0700. Made our own breakfast and caught the 0850 bus to Fira and headed straight for the old port via the zig-zag steps, also known as the donkey track. Arrived early enough to do some people watching, order a coffee at the kafeneion, and try my "kalimera" on the waitress.

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We boarded our glass bottom cruise boat "Calypso" and left port at 1045. We cruised out to the first island, Nea Kameni to walk around the volcanos. It's an additional €2 entry fee and takes about an hour to do the walk. There are some dormant craters here and the landscape is somewhat reminiscent of the surface of the moon (well, I guess - never been there!).  Lots of large boulders strewn about the place. We noticed a few other Aussies on this excursion tour as well.

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We set off for the next island, Palia Kameni to visit the hot springs. They tell us on the way there that you have to swim ashore... so the adventurous dived in (Tony included) and swam for them. I stayed put on the boat and took pictures. Tony said it was a bit of a challenge - in about 12m of water, and the swim was about 150m each way - and "Hot springs" is a bit of a misnomer, vaguely lukewarm in places.

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The third island is Thirasia. The boat docks at Korfos Village where there are several tavernas to choose from and have lunch. Tony and I picked "The Rock" on recommendation of the boat captain. We enjoyed Tomato Balls and some Moussaka... washed down with you-know-what! We had time to take a few photos before the boat continued on.

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The tour boat then travelled over some shallows for the glass bottom boat viewing. Um... yes we saw some rocks, not Atlantis. The glass bottom didn't help much except for this one coral looking reef - the caldera is just too deep to see anything. After this we set sail for Oia, and although they stopped at Oia to let people off if they wanted, we stayed on board for the journey back to Fira, viewing the coastline and magnificent cliffs that plunge into the caldera.

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Back on land we caught the cable-car up to Fira and looked for a restaurant we wanted to go to on our first trip here seven years ago. I remember back then a lady sweeping out the front and she yelled out to us "You come to Mommas, yes?"... Unfortunately, we never found our way back there, so we were on a mission to keep our promise, if seven years later. We found Mommas Restaurant on the main road heading north out of Fira. I'd since heard good reports from other people that this was the place to eat in Fira. The problem was we were still full from lunch and it was only mid-afternoon. But we found something on the menu that looked like a light snack, or so we thought - I had Mummas Salad, a variation on Greek Salad - and so we force fed ourselves through the meal. There'd definitely be no need for an evening meal later on.

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Caught the bus back to Oia and set about trying to dry the last of our wet clothes. Later as the sun got lower in the sky we joined thousands of others to watch the sunset and take massive amounts of photos. This is quite a sight - both the sunset, and the large crowds. Must be a bit overbearing in the peak tourist season. I ran out of battery power in my camera so I had to conserve some of my picture taking and let Tony take the best shots.

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Next island... Crete
Santorini

... is a small, circular archipelago of volcanic islands located in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km south-east from Greece's mainland. It is also known as Thera (or Thira), forming the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands and is essentially what remains of an enormous volcanic explosion, destroying the earliest settlements thereon and leading to the creation of the current geological caldera. Its spectacular physical beauty, along with a dynamic nightlife, have made the island one of Europe's top tourist hotspots. [more]

Santorini satellite image