Wednesday, August 10, 2016


One of my most anticipated trips was to Santorini.  Went here just after my graduation and this place deserves every bit of hype it has seen.
When you land, the airport throws you off - it is tinier than some hotels and restrooms aren't always functional. But as you set out in humid air and catch glimpses of the Greece you expect, the heart soars. Santorini is like no other place. It is also called the Caldera (cauldron) because of its volcanic nature. Although Santorini itself hasnt erupted in a long long time, it is close to more volatile islands. Santorini has 3 main regions - Oia, Imerovogli and Firastefani (aka Fira or Thira).

Our stay was in Imerovigli and it has been my best stay till date. There are two reasons I say that.
First - our hosts (Annio hotels) were extremely helpful, hospitable and went out of their way to accommodate our unusual departure times.
Second, for 4 days we lived like locals in a typical limestone hut with the trademark blue door and bright pink bougainvilleas blooming from our windows. It was located right in the centre of Santorini and we had our own spacious patio overlooking the complete expanse of the island. Oia stretched forwards at one end and Fira at the other. We had unobstructed view of the other two islands Nea Kameni and Thirasia, and of the picturesque sailboats and cruises right in front of us. A bit before the start of that view stood a small hill with a cathedral that rose up from Imerovigli (where my partner managed to go on a morning jog).


We walked everywhere. It is the best way to enjoy the winding, colourful streets and bookmarking restaurants for the next meal. With every turn we were stunned by the view of the sea and islands and cliffs. Our first day was spent exploring Oia (apart from getting a massage), and watching the sunset from here. All the tourists on the island flock to Oia for sunset because it is at the western tip of the island. We had a private viewing with free champagne (offered with the massage booking) and it was some evening - that!



On day 2, we set out to board our boat for a sailing tour. From Imerovigli we walked and walked till we reached Fira, grabbed a quick bite and took the cable car down to the docks. A beautiful wooden sail boat called Poseidon took us to Nia Kameni first to see 3 volcano craters. It was a couple of hours' trek up the island and was a good start to the day. Next we changed boats to Odysseus that took us to the Red Sea. Here Odysseus waited as almost everyone in the boat dived off to enjoy the water for a brief time. From here, our last stop was Thirasia island. This was a smaller island with restaurants along the coast and a very uphill climb that took us to Manolas - a traditional Greek village, untouched yet by commerce and tourism. White windmills with blue caps caught our eyes and provided some soul as we puffed and panted on our way up.

Donkeys are a popular way of commute in Santorini. I couldn't help feeling bad for the poor creatures as they jingled and passed by us carrying tourists. They looked very colourful and unique though.
After a tiresome journey, we squatted over the narrow road on top for a good amount of time enjoying the view and annoying cats that were trying to get by.
The climb down was easy and we stopped to take many pictures, contemplating starting our own diving school (inspired by the very tall cliffs) or an oceanography institute on this untapped land. Yeah right..

We made our way back to Fira on Odysseus and ended our tour with yet another long walk in search of some Indian cuisine. Patience paid off and we relished it. Once home, we sat on our patio till late in the night enjoying the cool air and stars above us.
We decided day 3 and 4 should be complete relaxers. We took it easy, slept in, and treated ourselves with some good food in choice restaurants. Took a slow walk again to Fira and enjoyed it end-to-end, looking for souvenirs, choking our phones with photographs and just window shopping. It was with a heavy heart that I mounted the plane back.


Santorini is a beauty. I hope everyone gets to see it atleast once!

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