Santorini is undeniably one of the most romantic spots in the Island and strolling through its streets is like shuffling through postcards, one after the other, where the desire to capture it through your camera lens is irresistible. Any picture you take is a guaranteed master shot, for its very hard to not capture beauty which lay before you in the most obvious and unassuming way! We had a stretch of time but from the very moment of docking till our final goodbyes, our time spent here was nothing short of a fairytale!
We decided to stay in the idyllic village of Oia (pronounced as EE-ah and not as Oh-ya!) and not the more commercial town of Fira. Oia is everything that we imagine of Greece when we plan our travel to the island- a cliff shadowing clear blue skies perched with whitewashed houses with blue domes, pebbled streets, dramatic sunsets, fresh smell of herbs and olive oil poured on chunks of eggplant and pita bread and experiencing the time go by! The white and blue shades of the town are reminiscent of the national flag color and one almost feels like the town stands as a patriotic banner for Greece.
We wandered the streets, watching yet another sunset, and while trailing around, came across this very cute little bookshop named the Atlantis Bookstore with a sign-board that said- “Rent a cat for 5 Euros”! If you are a book lover, you should definitely take a peak in here, it’s got some fine reads and if you are missing your pets back home or are a solo traveller, well they have got you some furry company!
We went to a cute little café looking over the sea where we tasted heaven in a balloon glass in the name of Metaxa. This drink is a wine, distilled with brandy and raisins. Metaxa is the only company to have survived, with booming profits, the second world war – and for good reasons! One must try the 7 star version as it’s smoother and hits the right spot in lesser time 😉 ! Cafés can be quite cruel to a budgeted pocket and you may rather get a bottle at a general store, and drink away without being worried about your pockets hitting the Greek economic fallout!
The next morning we boarded a boat straight out of a pirate movie and head out to venture the Caldera. Until our trip to the Caldera, I was ignorant of the fact that Santorini was a creation of a once volatile volcano, which lasted two million years. An island cast out of a catastrophe only reflects the power of nature to destroy and then to recreate! There are active volcanic islets in the middle of the Caldera. It was quite exciting to climb around a lava field and experience steam and sulphur dioxide perishing from the crater. From the top of the Caldera, you get a 360 degree view of the island and the little ports around. From there, we went to a hot spring on Palea Kameni, which, to be honest, can be skipped – as it is only mildly warm and not worth a day trip. But they say that the mud at the base of the hot spring keeps your skin young forever – that bit – only time will tell!!
Once we got back to town, we rented bikes and ventured to the red and black sand beaches via a cliff top trail, flowing through the towns of Firostefani, Imerovigli and Fira along the lip of the crater, offering fantastic views of the Caldera, local wineries and the Aegean Sea.
At the end of our day, we dined at a local restaurant known not for its Greek but Thai food. The food was heavenly and it, beyond doubt,with its delectable curry and steaming rice, satiated the craving that the Indian in us was having!
The lady at our beautiful homestay welcomed us back, after a tiring day, with some local wine, flowers and a little gift – blessing us for our ongoing journey and our lives ahead of us.
The Island of Greece, although tumbling with its economy, is one of the most gorgeous places I have travelled to yet, in terms of its water view experience. However long you may stay here, one visit to this beautiful island can never be enough and while I sign out from this divine gift to mankind, I can only dream of our next visit!