I think that our vacations become very hectic, as Suchi being a morning person, tends to venture out as soon as the sun is up, while I enjoy being out till late being a night owl. So managing both sides tends to make me cranky during the morning and her during the night. But we love it.
So, with the day break, Sucharita dragged me outside to explore the deserted streets. They weren’t empty but were quite quiet with scarce crowd around. The shops were still closed with breakfast cafes open, and the climate was quite pleasant. The whole street had a different vibe to it that we loved. One thing about Oia is, that it bedecks a different look at different times of the day and every look is as enchanting as the other.
Today we explored a different route of the street of Oia which took us to the old and abandoned windmill. This side of the town, is more of residential area with private properties. The houses are beautiful and a bit different giving these streets a rustic village look.
Besides Thira, Santorini has 2 more active ports which bring in throngs of tourists. Amoudi port is located exactly at the bottom of the market. We saw a group climbing up the stairs from the port, with their luggage harnessed on the mules, going to their respective booked properties.
There were a few morning wedding shoots that we witnessed. There are many beautiful opportunities for photography in the morning because of the less crowd. Even we ended up clicking lots of them today as compared to the day before. There is a small but beautiful church on the main street that was crowded yesterday. But it was as vacant as a void in the morning for our shutters to burst up. We strolled for an hour and a half, and headed back to the hotel for a quick breakfast.
We had gingerly planned a big day for of us, but little did we know about the unpleasant surprizes that lay ahead. We wanted to explore the most talked about Volcano on the islet of Nea Kameni in Santorini. It is still an active Volcano and also offers an opportunity to swin in the hot srpings nearby which are said to have healing qualities. There also a 30 min hike to the highest point on the islet from where the volcano can be seen with steam rising up.
We had enquired about it at the Thira port after landing there and our cab guy had told us that he could arrange the trip for us when we are ready. There were a few timings when the boat would leave for the islet. We called him in the morning and he asked us to go to Akrotiri and that is we will get a boat to Nea Kameni. We drove all the way to Akrotiri. But there we were told that the boats only ply from the Old Port or Ammoudi port.
Since Ammoudi port was at the other end of the island, there was no chance that we could have reached there on time to catch the boat. So we headed to the Old Port at Fira. When we reached at the old port, there was a huge queue of the tourists who were ready to board their ferry. We enquired further but we were lugubriously told that the seats were already full and nothing could be arranged for us.
We were really disheartened because that was one adventure activity that we were really hoping to be part of. And also that half the day had already passed shunting between the ports. But we LOVED the drive through Santorini. So even though we were lamenting about the missing the volcano trip but the drive through charming Santorini saved our day.
“If you plan to visit Nea Kameni Islet, please do your bookings at least a day in advance.”
With this plan out of our way, we had to replan our day’s itinerary. Now we decided to head back to Akrotiri and do some sightseeing there.
Enroute Akrotiri there is a newly created Museum called “The Lost Atlantis” which tries to prove factually that the lost island of Atlantis is none other than Santorini. The museum is still at its nascent stage but there is a good use of technology to prove the facts. We spent good hour and half at the museum and then moved ahead.
Akrotiri is famous for ruins of the best preserved ancient civilization out of all the excavated sites of Aegean Sea. This was a thriving civilization back in 1500BC, but after the volcanic eruption it all got buried under the lava and ash. So if you are interested in archeology, please do visit the site there.
There are also couple of beaches around Akrotiri of which Red and White beach are quite known. While a ferry is needed to explore the white beach, Res beach can be reached by a small hike and that is what we did. We spent the evening at the beach enjoying the surreal sunset. It’s the most scenic beach in Santorini.
It was already 5:30 in the eve by now and we started to head back. We thought to have a quick stopover at Imerovigli, another beautiful town in Santorini. On our left the Sea kept us company till Imerovigli and during the dusk the sight was incomparable. It was one of the most beautiful sunsets that we witnessed. Its the highest and the second most picturesque town in the island of Santorini. It offers much better views of the Caldera and sunset.
We were there briefly because it was already dark by now and also it had started drizzling getting a little cold, so we headed back to the comfort of our car. Also we were a little skeptical about our drive back to Oia at night so we hurried up.
Back in Oia, we headed to our favourite restaurant in the town 218 degrees for a quick dinner. We really liked that place as it was a good blend of amazing views and great food.
Since today was not a very tiring day for us after the volcano fiasco, we had good amount of time at hand and so we decided to go for a swim in the hotel pool. It was very clean but the water was a little chilled. Considering it is the start of winter there, pool was all empty at that hour and we had it all to ourselves. Loved it!
For backpackers or hikers or people who love to explore on foot, there is a trail that starts at Oia and goes all the way to the town of Fira. Again sea keeps you the company throughout the route and one can enjoy the scenic walk, if interested.
Being trekkers we jump on any such opportunity. So we woke up a little early next morning and hiked up that path. It was cloudy that day and hence the view of the sea was all clouded. Rather it felt as if you walking in the valley of clouds. But slowly the clouds spread away and up came the view of sea. The whole scene was quite mesmerizing.
Since it was also our day to say Goodbye to Santorini, so we had to head back to our hotel early. We could not complete the hike.
Our ferry was at 10:35 AM from the new port of Thira. By the time we finished our packing and had our breakfast, it was already 9:30 AM. Though its only a 30 min drive to the port but we had to refuel the tank of the car on the way back. So we hurried but Murphy’s law always follows us. For the first time in Santorini we got stuck in traffic. By the time we reached the gas station, it was already 10:15 and we were anxious enough whether we will be able to make it on time.
But luckily the ferry was delayed by an hour. So at the end, it was us who had to wait long for the boarding in that heat. Again Murphy’s law! It was crowded as well since there were couple of ferries scheduled around the same time. At one point, it got very chaotic with everyone fighting to get inside the platform. We got a little lucky and managed to get away from the sun.
This is our entire account of Santorini.