Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Santorini - Good Bye

With some sweet memories and lifetime experience we left Santorini on Day 3. In morning, we went to Oia, to take some pictures. Oia is one of the best picturesque places in this small Island. So, we have been there 3 times in our stay. This is the best memories I am carrying from this exotic island, which is the result of the activity of volcano Santorin.
As I said before in the earlier post, most of the island’s terrain is covered by deposits of volcanic material; its west coast is sheer cliffs, while the east cost is an extensive fertile plain, with red black white beaches. After visiting Oia, we went to see the last destination of Santorini – Monolithos beach. It’s again a typical black beach like Kamari, and volcanic rocks are scattered even in the beach. So, I decided to take here one shot of mine, before bidding Santorini Good Bye.
Finally we came to the main post, where we have deposited the car and bough some tokens for family members. Token items are very cheap here and worth buying. The Hellenic Seaways Ship came and we departed towards Athens.
I took some nice pictures from the ship again. In the picture below (click to enlarge) the traditional ascent from the Ammoudi port is shown, which was the only means of communication is ancient time. These islands have impressed me so much that I bought a book on Greek Island.
From this book (The Greek Islands) I came to know some historical aspect of the island. It says “Excavations have shown that the island was inhabited in prehistoric times, during the cyclic period (3200 – 2000BC) …. The island reached its apogee during the ensuing period (2000-1550BC), which was cut short by the eruptions of the volcano in 1500BC.”

I felt amazed to see this prehistoric, geomorphic island blessed by absolute picturesqueness with enchanting landscape.
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Santorini - Oia

Oia Village : a view from the port

Oia village is not over 10km from Fira. The small houses, carved into the rock, the mansions with their stairways and their neoclassical architecture, with white and ochra as their dominant colors, the walls decorated with small stones, the roads paved with flagstones, and the flowers, form a harmonious total of the impressive picture of the Oia village.

We went to see the sunset on day 2 and reached the port near to Ammoudi beach. Unfortunately the sky was covered by cloud and we could not see it. The port was really nice to watch in the twilight. Small boats are scattered indiscriminately in the sea. We took evening snacks with cappuchino in the colourful restaurant in the port. Fresh fish fry from the is available in these restaurants, however they are bit costly.
Oia is considered one of the Top 10 picturesque places of World, at least in terms of number of photos taken. The landscape is too enchanting to be bewildered. We went there on Day 3 to take the special snaps which basically represents the whole Island - Santorini.

Santorini - Day2 - Temples of Pyrgos

We went to many different beaches; like Perivolos and Perissa (both are black beaches) and it was almost an end of southern part visit. We were coming back to the north to see sunset, but we had enough time in our hand. My friend proposed me to take a detour through Meghalocholi and Pyrgos; as these places are famous for some churches.
The first one is very near to a film studio in Meghalocholi, while the second one is just at the entrance of Pyrgos. Pyrgos is a small village famous for getting married. People across the world come here to get married in holy orthodox Greek churches and which is special and cheap also.
What I liked about Pyrgos is the Byzentine Churches and the view of eastern vally, which was flat and green. The picture above captures one of traditional Cyclades Churches and the picture below is an ancient Byzentine Church.
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Santorini - Day 2 - Red Beach

Santorini is famous for its volcanic Geomorphology. The sea beach in southern part of this island is almost red due to the effect of Lava. On day two we reached the ancient town of Akrotiri, where we found that the nature of the houses and land are different. The black and golden sea is in the east side of the island whereas the western part is the cliff; the effect of volcano can be seen vividly. The red beach of Akrotiri is on the west. As a consequence of volcanic sedimentation the nature of the beach is completely different as shown in the picture below.

This beach is in Akrotiri - some information from wikipedia. "Excavations starting in 1967 at the site called Akrotiri ("Upper Thira") have made Thera the best-known "Minoan" site outside of Crete, the homeland of the culture." - The town looks very exotic and ancient (3000BC) - a part of which was destroyed by the volcanic eruption on 1500BC.

The stones of the Red beach are also not conventional. Its really touristy and often hampers the privacy in taking sea bath. As usual I was bit shy when saw some semi naked, almost naked beauties, and closed my camera. We are so dark that we can hardly take any sea bath, otherwise could have enjoyed for some more time.

The way to the red beach was challenging. We had to climb a small hill, which was stony and slippery. One must have to have a good shoe and open hands to be safe. We enjoyed the small adventure in the red nature. The picture below is taken on the way to red beach.

After that we went to watch the fascinating view of the light house, which is considered to be the last (south most) point of Santorini. The view of the sea was really beautiful from here. I kept on taking snaps, but unfortunately I can not post all of them in this blog. Believe me this place was absolutely fabulous that it kept me bewildered for some moments.

Santorini - Day 2- Hotel View

The above picture is attached to give some idea about geography of this island. The North most end is Oia, precisely Ammoudi port, and South most is Akrotiri, precisely the light house. Fira is in the middle, centre of Thira (Santorini); whereas we stayed in Imerovigli which is in west. In the west of the Island we have the sheer cliff and the volcano. The eastern cost is full of different beaches, like Red Beach in Akrotiri, Perivolos, Perissa, Kamari, Monolithos etc.The hotel was excellent in the cliff of Imerovigli, quite close to centre Fira.
We stayed in Nefeli Homes for couple of days, for details
It was basically a family apartment with swimming pool and continental breakfast and nice window view. From the window the dormant volcano was clearly visible, which is situated in the middle of two islands.
Before we went to traditional Greek Restaurant for exotic dinner, we tried to enjoy the surroundings of the hotel from the open top with dome snacks .. but could hardly bear the chill wind for more than few minutes. Came back to the rooms for short gossip and then have had a traditional Greek dinner with roasted baby lamb & French fries. After hectic day2 we had a long sleep and woke up quite late next day morning.
Before we leave this nice hotel, I took some pictures of the fascinating landscape. I liked the hotel not only for its amenities, but for the view of the sheer cliff and Volcano. The volcano is in the above pic.
Very close to it, I found one gorgeous church (local people call it Temple), which was looking majestic in the captivating landscape of Santorini.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

POROS - Island the Saronic Gulf, Greece

From Wikipedia, Poros (Greek: Πόρος) is a small Greek island-pair in the southern part of the Saronic Gulf, at a distance about 48 km (32 miles) south from Piraeus and separated from the Peloponnese by a 200-metre wide sea channel. Its surface is about 31 square kilometres (12 square miles) and it has 4,000 inhabitants. The ancient name of Poros was Pogon.

The landscape is very hilly and mountainous in this Island.

In the northern part of the island there are the remains of the Sanctuary of Poseidon, the centre of the Kalaureian amphictyony. The exact date it was built is not known, although researchers estimate it to have been around 520 BC.

The picturesque town of Poros with its beautiful neoclassical buildings is built amphitheatrically on the slopes of a hill. Its most famous landmark is a clock tower, built in 1927.

Monastiri is located tothe east side of the island. It is a quiet, organised beachwith clear waters and picturesque tavernas.It is under the hill that lies Monastiri, next to pine treesand luxurious hotels.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Santorini - Thira Island in Greece

Santorini is not easy to describe. Santorini is not comparable with any other Greek island. What makes it so different from any other island, is its imposing landscape, the caldera with its impressionistic contrast of colours, its terrifying birth...

We had a long Easter Vacation here in Greece and utilized it fully. After spending couple of days with my brother and taking rest for another couple of days, we managed to see Poros Island and then to the famous Santorini; the best Island I have ever seen.

I was also skeptical like others about what makes it special. A Volcano? So what!!
But once I have seen it first time; it indeed appears marvelous. The whole island (called Thira) is situated in an extinct volcano and a dormant volcano (called Santorin) is nearby. The unique geomorphology, sedimentations of rocks and picturesque landscape in the Aegean Sea made if completely different from other islands of Mediterranean.

However flights are available quite often from Athens and different parts of Europe; we went from Piraeus (Port of Athens) by normal boat (although its better to call it a ship) as it is quite cheap. For the air tickets we had to book well in advance. But we planned our trip almost in last moment, after Malay (one of my colleagues) returned from Paris. Both of our them accompanied us as usual and we caught the normal ship at 7:25 in the morning 12th April 12, 2007.

The ship was huge and thousands of passengers can be accommodated. There was not much rush as the pick season yet to be started. Though the temperature was almost 25, the temperature of the Aegean Sea is still quite cold and thus tourists wait till the summer comes. We went to the covered terrace and managed to form some sleeping arrangements joining some chairs. Last night was little bit hectic as my friend got an injury in his leg pervious day while traveling in Poros in the sanctuary of Poseidon. We haven’t had a good sleep.

Just a week back one of the ferries of same company sank in the sea on the way to Santorini. We have seen it in Youtube. It has been a hot topic for discussion all around. So he was quite afraid to travel, but once it started, seems to us a smooth sailing in the blue Aegean.
Aegean is a part of Mediterranean Sea between Greece and Turkey. The Myrtoan (Mirtoan) Sea is a subdivision of it that lies between the Cyclades (The Cyclades is a Greek island group in the Aegean Sea, south-east of the mainland of Greece) and the Peloponnesos. So we entered Miratoan Sea to approach Cyclades. Santorini is one the islands of Cyclades.

We passed thorough the deep blue waters of Mediterranean Sea with mild waves and gentle cool breeze. As usual the kaleidoscopic nature of the sea hypnotized us. We loved the journey with gossiping, taking food and closely watching a Bulgarian Dog close to us. In the sea, small rocks, hills and islands were unevenly scattered. In most of the island there are no inhabitants. Due to one of these rocks the ship sank last week.

On the way we found two big island with captivating landscape. Paros and Naxos; both are in Cyclades. It took 8 hours to reach Santorini.
I have encountered some of the professional photographers in the ship busy in taking snaps of everything. However some of my friends also tell me the same, but they were something very uncommon, busy on taking shots after shots especially when we are approaching the gateway of Santorini Island.

First I could not recognize it as an island due to the sheer cliffs and black look. It was something exceptional as the rocks of this island was completely different than the normal island. Gradually I found small housed with typical characteristics top of these volcanoes which are extinct for hundreds of years. I was amazed and was not expecting this landscape. Basically I have not done enough searches in net, not even booked any hotel also. So, the new rocky natural beauty was something extraordinary to me.

Reaching the port first we though to rent a car. It was quite cheap. We took a blue Peugeot – 25 Euro for each day; in addition they offered us a package for honeymoon suit for 2 days for 80 Euro each day, in the cliff of the mountain. We were looking for two rooms and bargained little bit as any normal Indian does. Finally they agreed on 70 Euro.

While driving from the port to Main Island I got little bit nervous. The road was two ways, very thin with sharp hair pin bents. I have never driven in this kind of roads and with a new car it was even more dangerous as next to the road it was deep sea. I had driven slower as we went higher, but finally managed to reach our Hotel quite safely.

Just after a short refresh we went to Ancient Thira and Kamari beach. Kamari is one of the famous black beaches of this island. This is unique as we never seen unique black pebbles in sea beach. The whole island is paradise for geologist. The small stones are of different colors and types. In red beach it was again something very unique. Lava has a deep influence of forming the geomorphologic nature of this island.

It was already evening and we took a try to see sunset in Oia, but was not able to reach in time. Just late by few minutes. We have seen the red shades in Mediterranean and reddish sky. The drive again was wonderful in the midst of nature.

After the picturesque landscape of sunset we came to Fira for having dinner with Subhluky, French fries and Coke. Gone to bed bit early and had a nice sleep.

----- End of Day 1 -----

Monday, April 09, 2007


Though Athens is not an Island of Greece, still I kept it in this section as it a harbour city in Mediterranean Sea / Aegean Sea. lets see how wikipedia is describing the great historical place.

Athens (Greek: Αθήνα - Athína) is the largest city and capital of Greece, located in the Attica periphery of Southern Greece. Named after the goddess Athena, Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world with a recorded history of at least 3,000 years.

I have uploaded some of the pics I have taken during Easter's holidays in My Album.

Parthenon and The Propylaea - Gateway of Acropolis

Goddess Athena and The Library and below The Athens Academy. (My Bro) and first Olympic Stadium. The Panathinaiko Stadium in central Athens, site of the 1896 Olympic Games.

This is Zappion in Day and Night

The Temple of Zues at night

The Guard Evzones in front of the Tomb of the The Greek Parliament, located in Syntagma Square.