Ok, worse blog post ever, but with internet woes, and using the blogspot website to post this instead of Windows Live Writer has led to a mash up of pictures and little writing. I will fix this in a few weeks time, but at least I've done a post for the first time in aaaages! Stay tuned for Athens, Croatia and a cheeky trip to Venice!
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
A volcano island in the Cyclades
So Nana arrived last week from New Zealand and off we jetsetted to Greece; sun, white and blue buildings and ancient ruins!
So we headed straight to Santorini - a largish (small) island in the Cyclades which is in a crescent shape with some smaller islands around it. It's actually the caldera of a volcano, surrounding Volcano Island which is still active with hot pools, sulfur smells and all. The last eruption was in 1856 ish (don't quote me on that) and they've had earthquakes since then, including a serious one in the mid 20th century.
All the buildings look like this:
White and blue!!! SO PRETTY! With bright flowers - magnolias, bougainvillea, wild poppies, and geraniums galore! Once again I have hundreds of photos so will put up a picasa album at some point.
Santorini is probably the most touristy destination I've been to. There were huge cruise ships docking each day with boat loads of visitors, and Thira (the main township) was heaving with souvenir and gift shops. We stayed in the smaller village of Imerovigli, 25 minutes walk from Thira with a caldera view. It was much quieter there, and the family who ran the place (Mero Vigla Apartments) were lovely. Would recommend in a heart beat! Nana found them on Trip Advisor - her favouritist website in the world.
Apart from enjoying yummy Greek food (fresh yoghurt, fruit, breads, olives, the best fish EVER -see pic) we did a lot of walking. We accidently ended up at Ancient Thira after hiring a car and so walked up to to see the 9th BC city on the hill overlooking the island. Pretty incredible to see civilisation from so long ago. The city had evolved until 8th AD with Hellenistic, Roman and the Byzantine times, until the city was abandoned after an eruption.
And we had the most glorious sunsets, night after night. Apparently the sunrises are pretty good too, but we were too busy sleeping in to notice.
The beaches are all fine, black pebbles - not as cool as Taranaki beaches, but man they felt good running my feet through! We sat in beach chairs under umbrellas while the bar brought drinks - so very civilised! And with a wooden boardwalk running down the beach to stop your tootsies getting burnt Nana and I giggled at the thought of someone trying to do the same thing back home.
There were little white churches everywhere. This one is at Red Beach, up against the red rock that has something to do with the volcanic environment.
One day we decided to walk to Oia, along the caldera (as seen below.) Lunch time is NOT a good time to do this, but it was pretty epic, and highly recommended.
A pretty awesome bookshop. I found a Janet Frame double edition! And bought J.D. Salinger's From Esme, With Love and Squalor, and stopped myself from buying Sartre's Nausea and a million books by Simone de Beauvoir (one must have led to the other) but managed to restrain myself after an hour in the shop and recognising that not only did I already have 8 books in my bag and was at travelling capacity, that it was the most expensive second-hand book shop I've ever been to!
Santorini was relaxing, hot and sunny, absolutely stunning and a wonderful break. (Also a lot more upmarket than my previous travels!)