Santorini, Day 2

Such views to wake up to!  We could spend days taking in the clean lines, the colors, and the sea against the sky.  J asked today, “why doesn’t the US have more blue and white?”  Seemed like a good question when you start the day with this view just outside of your front door.

IMG_8404But we didn’t rest on our balcony for long — because Jocelyn has not yet nailed my feet to the floor, as she apparently threatened to do in an email to Dusty, we started our day with a brisk 4 1/2- mile hike to Firostefani.  Now this hike was J’s idea, mind you, so all my feet had to do was walk very far, uphill and downhill, in the growing morning heat.  It was nice to start the walk through Oia without all of the people — no one else is up at 8:00am.

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There’s a great deal of up and down on this island — basically, everything is carved into or just on top of old volcanic rock.  We saw a lot of plants — many of which were fairly ferocious looking — and lots of rocks.

 

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 But it was totally worth it for the views — we were able to get away from the tourists and just look out into the sea, down at the arid desert that forms most of Santorini, and out at the other islands.  Lots of little chapels dot the hillsides, so they provided a break from the many views of rock, sea, and island towns.

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The hike was long, hard, and hot — and entirely exposed.  We were grateful for the brief spate of clouds that ushered us into the first major village.  And we saw very little in the way of vegetation.  So when we did see a small hillside of short, windswept pines, J took five pictures (and I collected a pinecone):

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We walked to and through the town of Imerovigli, which has an amazing chapel out on a cliff edge (this required an incredible walk down — and then back up — to see it).

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We then hopped over the village border into Firostefani, where we waited for the bus back to Oia.  We’ve decided that the next time we come here, we’re going to stay in the resorts just north of Imerovigli — they look relatively quiet and very beautiful.

When we returned to Oia, very hungry, we had lunch again at Skala — this time, fava (mashed yellow spilt peas) and an amazing salad of bulgar that had been steeped in wine, cucumbers, tomatoes, and the thickest yoghurt we’ve ever seen.

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Spent the afternoon lazing by the pool, working on our suntans (burns) and finally investing in some serious relaxation.  The pool is very cool, because it’s about ten feet deep, though it’s pretty small.  But it’s lovely, covered in part by one of the oldest olive trees in the city.  Then, after a brief nap in our cave, we went out for a brief bout of shopping before we did some serious sea-of-humanity sunset picture-taking at the ancient, crumbling castle at the end of the island.  J did not appreciate standing among so many people — few of whom share our concerns about person space — but she managed to look cheerful nonetheless.

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From the crowds, you might think that no one here had ever seen a sunset before.  It really was a mob scene — you’re lucky if you can find a place with a view to stand or sit.  Nutty.  But the sunset was truly amazing, with the sun turning three distinct colors of fiery orange and red — the kind of thing that it’s impossible to catch on ordinary film.  But here’s what we have.

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Dinner at Pelekanos, which had great caldera views and really yummy food.  This was the view when we sat down to dinner (sadly, the price of the view is added onto the price of the food at these touristy places, but it’s worth it).  And from our dinner terrace, we could see where we’d walked this morning — it’s the white-dotted hillside far in the distance!

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We had more fried tomato-mint patties (a Santorini speciality, with good reason), grilled eggplant covered in tomatoes and fabulous soft cheese, and a Greek salad made with Santorini’s famous (so they say) cherry tomatoes and chloro goat cheese.  My red wine was delicious.  And dessert was a panna cotta with quince sauce — yummo!

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Now we’re sitting by the pool (our only real hope of wireless here), enjoying the cool evening air.  The evening temperature is perfect — you can see why people here stay up late into the night (dinner here starts well after 9:00pm, and it’s rare to go to bed before midnight).  It doesn’t work very well with our early-morning excursion goals (nor does the dinner hour work with our snack-hungry tummies long about 6:00pm), but this late evening air is hard to resist.

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