Again, we put off leaving when we should have and opted to lounge by the pool instead. Taxis on Santorini are overpriced. But so are the buses, at least if we paid more than we should for a taxi we’d be able to swim and lounge for two extra hours. So we did, and then we made the long slog from Santorini to Crete, Chania to be specific. What was included in this long slog? One taxi, one ferry, one walk to the bus station, one three hour bus ride and then another taxi to our hotel just outside of Chania. We were greeted with a shot of raki. It’s like taking a shot of soju before crawling into bed. When in Crete…
We were supposed to go to Crete today. We’ve been having more and more of these days lately. Days we’re supposed to do something, but then we… don’t. I think it’s a side effect of traveling for so long. Andrew thinks it’s a side effect of Africa, even though we’ve been out of Africa for a month now. We go through phases. Right now, the phase has been to slow. it. down. We were going to do three islands at least, but then knocked it down to two (Santorini and Crete). Crete is a bit bigger than Santorini, and neither of us are looking forward to moving more quickly around the island (sleeping in a different town every couple of days) so I was pretty grateful when Andrew agreed we could stay an extra day in Santorini. And I finally had my first moussaka IN Greece. It was pretty awesome, but to be completely honest, it might not get first place over the gigantic salads and fries with feta that we’ve had on the mainland.
I’m not gonna lie: (as you can tell by the day in a minute above) we didn’t do much. at all. We sat outside our bungalow for breakfast again listening to the sounds of the man next door go through his bathroom routine in the morning. And then it started to rain. The one day that we stay behind to enjoy the beach, and it rains… It didn’t last long, but the cloudy sky did and it’s been pretty cool most of the day.
On our walk back from dinner, we were invited to a beachfront bar that is going to have live music starting at nine. Being on the road is quite different than a two week vacation and we recognized how ridiculous we are when we rattled off our reasons (to each other) why we probably wouldn’t be attending the live performance:
me: Um, doesn’t she know that I’m watching Game of Thrones tonight?
Andrew: Doesn’t she know 8:00 is our be home by time?
me: We’re not on vacation for two weeks, we’re in it for the long haul: our budget doesn’t include expensive drinks on the beach!
We spent some of our day here, being as lazy as we possibly could before having a late lunch and then trekking to Thira by way of the local bus to catch another to Oia.
We were told to arrive to Oia around seven to get a good spot. We were also told that the bus from Perissa to Thira only took thirty minutes. We waited for the bus for twenty minutes, it took at least forty to get to Thira, and we arrived after seven to Oia. Note to self: Next time just rent a motorbike or even a 4-wheeler because it will be cheaper and oh so much more convenient than the Santorini local buses.
Also, had I known that the entire island was going to turn out to see this most beautiful sunset, I just might have stayed home. Because when there are SO MANY PEOPLE around it really takes away from the beauty of something, natural or man-made. Andrew summed it up perfectly when he expressed confusion over how we, having lived in Seoul, surrounded by 10,000 people all. the. time. could get so frustrated with the masses of people we’ve been encountering since we touched down in Istanbul last month.
We wandered. We stopped in out of the way alleys with different views- not always of the sun setting- but without other people sitting on the walls around you or stopping in front of you to take a picture without warning or speaking entirely too loudly.
Daring to go to THE best spot, we weaved our way through the masses and then sat mostly on the far, lower wall where we really couldn’t see much. I snuck down and around to the other wall with the view and had to ask someone if I could step in front of them for a quick picture.
When Andrew came down to join me, it seemed a hundred others did as well, and I think I watched more people watching the sunset or photographing themselves in front of the sunset than I did of the actual… sunset. After handing my camera off to Andrew, we both gave up and walked around town instead. We ended up in a parking lot outside of town that had a few others sitting on the wall, an attempt to escape the masses as well. The sun didn’t exactly set, but more like disappeared into the clouds that had come. Even though we left THE spot early, we didn’t really miss much. It took an hour and a half to navigate the local buses back to Perissa, and then had to walk from the far bus stop back to our hotel. We were both kicking ourselves for not having rented a motorbike, but it was a lesson learned. And if you find yourself on Santorini anytime soon, stay away from the buses and rent your own bike or 4-wheel or even car while you’re here!
Santorini is beautiful. And we were told the sunset over Oia, the northernmost town on Santorini was absolutely a “must-see” during our stay. It was beautiful, I’m assuming so, because I couldn’t exactly see it behind the dozens and dozens of others who had come out to see the sun drop. Luckily, I could hand my camera over to Andrew who stand behind others and take a good photo when I couldn’t see and/or reach over them.
The Red Beach on Santorini is definitely a sight to see, walk along, or camp out for a little while. We drove our motorbike there in the morning and while we agreed, the beach itself isn’t exactly red… The volcanic red rock cliffs behind the beach put it in the running for most impressive beach I’ve ever been on. The water is so blue as well that it really is quite striking to see against the red rocks.
I was crazy about these random doors in the cliffs. So mysterious. I mean, who put them there, and when were they put there? Is there a house behind those doors? A secret passage leading to a magical land? Why wasn’t everyone else taking pictures of the doors and wondering what their purpose was?
We walked the length of the beach. We sat and watched the waves break and people passing by. Andrew rattled off a list of our friends, and then asked me which one I would eat first if the situation became dire. I’m not allowed to divulge who he named. I am allowed to divulge that I opted for one of the dudes, you know, because there’s probably more meat on their bones and maybe we could survive longer. These are the conversations we have after traveling together for as long as we have.
The water was cold. Too cold for me to get in further than my ankles. I had more fun bouncing around on the seaweed on the beach than I did in the water anyway. Some of the beach was sandy, a dark almost black sand like we have on our end of the island on Perissa. Some of the beach had smooth red rocks and when the tide would go far enough out, you could hear this little waterfall of rocks falling back into the sea that was quite beautiful to listen to.
We haven’t had many “We’re not going to do anything today” kinda days on this trip. We had a few in Turkey, but only one of them was by choice (the others due to the week we spent waiting for Andrew’s bag). These days are the most fun to have when we’re staying at a hotel with a pool, and even if we don’t take a dip in the pool, we can at least sit by it all day long. Which is pretty much exactly what we did in Perissa, on the southern side of Santorini. That is, until we got hungry, and went for a walk in search of good Greek food.
We woke up at five to pack up, walk to the metro, take the metro to the dock, buy ferry tickets and board before our departure from Athens to Santorini at 7:25 AM. It was advised to get Economy tickets and sit in any free seats until you got kicked out by someone who paid for a specific seat on the ferry. Luckily, we never got kicked out of our seats and despite a noisy Greek mother and son, the ferry ride was rather painless! It was probably the biggest boat I’ve ever been on and to someone who has never been on a cruise ship, I was amazed that there was a coffee shop, a fast food restaurant, sleeping cabins, and airline like seating. We went out to see the ferry landing at Naxos and then again to see part of Santorini before we had to get ready to dock and get off the ferry. It was beautiful and so much better than any plane ride would have been!