Santorini- The Supermodel Of the Greek Islands
I was very excited to arrive in Santorini. There had been so much talk up until now about its beauty, energy and serene vitality, I almost couldn’t imagine a place with such luster.
When the ferry pulled into the tiny port, I saw for the first time a glimpse of an island that encompassed a magical body with a unique and strikingly beautiful face. I would soon learn of its vast and endless photogenic abilities. Just like a supermodel, it couldn’t take a bad picture.
I had planned to stay 2 weeks on the island. I wanted to explore every view, every turn and every point of interest it had to offer. I wanted to know this island like the back of my hand before I left.
I was lucky enough the first day I arrived to be approached by a young man who wanted to share a coffee with me. I accepted and was shortly after offered an impromptu tour of the island on his motorbike.
It was a nice introduction to the island from a local’s perspective. He showed me things that no tour group or guidebook would have tapped on, like the prickly pear fruit from a cactus plant he stopped on the side of the road to show me. He picked a piece of fruit and peeled it back for me to try.
He taught me the way they grow their grapes for wine on the island that is a little different than usual. They train the vines to grow in a circular motion very low to the ground in order to avoid the high winds that sometimes pass through.
He brought me to a special spot that even I, an adventurous wanderer, would have never found. It was tucked away in the side of the caldera far from any normal foot traffic. It would be the perfect spot for an engagement. There is a natural heart carved out from the wind in the side of the caldera leaving for a unique view of the volcano. There is also a chapel built into the side of the caldera near the heart. I will talk more in detail in a later post about where this spot is.
We stopped by the Ammoudi area, where again, I’m not sure I would have ventured if he had not shown me. It was a spot at the bottom of the caldera just below the town of Oia. There is a sweet little fishing village with a few small tavernas tucked into a cove. If you wander a bit further from the village along a small foot path that curves around the side of the caldera, you will find a beautiful and private swimming spot. We found a flat rock to lay our towels and jumped in for a swim. We swam over to the large rock, climbed up and visited a church built into the side.
He taught me of the caper bushes that grow on the island in the side of the caldera which I later went on a hunt to find (details coming to a later post) and of one other special spot. He pointed it out to me at the highest point of the caldera. There is a church located at the top that if you hiked up to it in the evening, it wouldn’t disappoint in giving the best sunset view on the whole island (another spot I will talk more about in a later post).
Another friend of mine offered me a tour of the island, but this time it was by boat. I was able to catch a glimpse of the caldera from a different angle and see some of the famous beaches (Red beach and Black beach) from another perspective.
We went to the volcano where we hopped off and made an attempt to climb into the crater, but the foot path had collapsed from the recent rains and there wasn’t an easy route around it. We also visited the hot springs that are continuously emitting a warm burst of sulfur into the water near the volcano.
All in all, I was pretty lucky this trip to have two nice men give me a local’s view of such a beautiful place.
Here are some of the photos that even the most amateur photographer couldn’t help but capture of this ‘Supermodel of the Greek Islands’.
This post was written on November 5, 2011 without a sponsor.
Some guide books to help your visit to Santorini:
- Santorini, Greece (ukloft117.wordpress.com)
- Santorini, Greece (thepassportreport.com)
- Solos holiday in Santorini (telegraph.co.uk)
- The Caldera of Santorini breathtaking (dobianchi.com)
- Welcome to Santorini (austinrovetti.wordpress.com)
- Santorini Smile – Santorini, Greece (travelpod.com)
- Ten Things You Must Do in Santorini (mysatelite.wordpress.com)