Kalimera (Hello) Santorini.
Our program after four days spent in Mykonos, take again the sea to discover Santorini.
Santorini and Mykonos are the most famous islands in our hexagon, but there are so many that it could be a good excuse, to come back and explore some other wonders of the Cyclades.
So we leave for Santorini – Thira, 2h15 crossing. The ferry was not on time for weather reasons, it will not be this time either, for unknown reasons. Thankfully, there is no plane to catch afterwards, just a taxi for Oia, which is pronouced Ia. To locate Santorini, it is the southernmost island of the Cyclades archipelago. It is located between the island of Ios and Anafi. Unlike Mykonos, Santorini does not have a flat surface and Fira its capital, as well as Oia are at the top of a cliff, which is falling abruptly on the Caldera. When we arrive at the port, we see better this Brown, ochre, red land, in contrast with the white villages and this sea (Aegean) with this deep, magnificent blue the result of a cataclysm that took place 3 500 years ago. From the port of Santorini (Athinios) and Oia it is about 30 minutes by car.
Do not be surprised if you hear the name Thira used for the island of Santorini, this is the name that was given to it at Greece’s independence in 1821. But in fact Santorini means the five islands of the Caldera : Thira, Thirassia, Aspronissi, Paela Kameni and Nea Kameni. The particularity of Santorini is the houses, to describe them : the “ktista” built on the ground, the semi-troglodytic ones that are entirely dug in the layer of volcanic ash ; because the creation of Santorini is due to the eruption of its volcano. What strikes me when i arrive in Oia is the configuration of our hotel, nothing is on the same level, but i will say better the whole city is drawn on the same pattern. It is picturesque.
The best time to stroll through the alleys in the early morning or evening after sunset. During the day it can be a bit difficult to circulate. The sunset, to be admired at the end of the village, on the ruins of the Kastelli is overrun by tourists from all over the world. I arrived quietly, thinking of settling there, to watch this spectacle of the blushing star that fades into the sea, but unfortunately, we were hundreds and hundreds.
Best to book a table at Kastro Oia restaurant, you will be in the front row, while tasting a local cuisine. Another table a little further away, but where you cans also watch the Sunset at Le Petrosia restaurant. We were there two nights consecutively, and we were never disappointed, we were well advised on the choice of our dishes and on our drinks.
In the main street we discovered a good address to taste greek pastries : baklavas, milk pies, walnut pies, chocolate cakes, strawberry cakes. You can also have waffles, pancakes, breakfast and lunch salads on the terrace overlooking the Caldera : the patisserie Melenio.
In the Sideras district are grouped the houses built for the capitains of 19th century ships, and on the side of the abyss, the sailor’s houses. They have been extremely well maintened, in a bright white or more rarely light yellow, pink, Brown.
The windmills of Santorini are identical in every respect to those found in all the Cycladic islands ; no longer really in operation they are maintained in very good conditions.
Most of the churches on the island are of the type of basilica with one nave, with dome, the others are cross-shaped with dome, they can be white or blue, dominated by two steeples.
In the foothills of the Oia cliff are the localities of Ammoudi and Armeni, to which lead two path intersected with steps, 241 exaclty for Ammoudi. To have borrowed them, the descent is almost easy, to got up it is another story ; but it is there that i crossed the famous donkeys, not there by accident. It is the departure for the excursions in the Caldera. It is also an ideal place to enjoy a good meal and watch the sunset at Sunset Ammoudi restaurant.
It took me a while to discover the greek islands. But i must admit that even if i had fallen in love with Mykonos, the beauty of the landscape in Oia did not leave me indifferent as well as the kindness of the people. The easiest, come and discover by yourself, the best way to understand what attracts the world so much.
Bye bye, Avtio.
Useful addresses :
Restaurant Le Petrosia : Oia Sidewald, Oia 847 02, Greece. Tél : +30 22 86 071 623.
Restaurant Kastro Oia : Oia 847 02, Greece. Tél : +30 22 86 071 045.
Patisserie Melenio : Nikolaou Nomikou, Oia 847 02, Greece. Tél : +30 22 86 071 149.
Restaurant Sunset Ammoudi : Ammoudi Port, Oia 847 02, Greece. Tél : +30 22 86 071 614.
A great location :
Kirini Hotel : Main Street, Oia 847 02, Greece. Tél : +30 22 86 071 236.