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 -----


Anonymous said...

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Greece travel said...

The island of Santorini it is such a popular destination.The spectacular sunsets, the unrivaled landscape, the historic sites and the views over the sea set Santorini apart from other islands in Greece.The sunrise gives the buildings a beautiful glow.