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Last Day in Santorini

Sunrise to Sunset

sunny 83 °F

90_S3SteenyDusk.jpg90_S3FiraDusk.jpg90_S3Guys.jpgThe past few days I have been getting up around 7:30 and noticing that the sun has just risen, so last night I checked the sunrise time (7:11) and set an alarm for 6:30 so that I could get the most out of the motorbike before I had to return it at noon and drive around the island to watch the sunrise and explore a bit before Kristine woke up. After a quick yogurt and a peach to tide me over until breakfast with Kristine, I hit the road, but not before noticing how beautiful the view was from our balcony at dawn.
We have been so lucky to have such great views at our hotels throughout this trip. I’m not sure whether it’s because we’re traveling during the slower season or if we’re just plain lucky, but it has been amazing.

By the time the sun came up, I had just got out of town enough to get a good view.
I then stopped at a vineyard as the sun was coming up.
As I continued exploring, I was actually amazed at how easy it was to navigate Santorini. There are very few roads and each time a road forks, there is a sign telling you which towns are in each direction. I’m terrible with directions and yet didn’t have trouble finding my way around whatsoever. At one point, I came upon a sign that pointed to Ancient Thira. It was still too early for it to be open, but I decided to drive by anyways. Along the way, I snapped this picture
and little did I know that the signs were going to direct me all the way up the winding road in that picture. The turns were sharp and the roads were cobblestone, but I made it to the top!
Once I was safely back to sea level, I wanted to check out Perissa, which our hotel owner had recommended as a place to visit. Once I got there, I realized why…this was where the Black Sand Beach was!

After looking around the beach town, I figured that it Kristine would probably be up soon, so I headed for home. On the way, I saw this cool fruit stand. This was clearly a place where locals shop and the produce was both cheaper and fresher than anything else I had seen on the island. We were going to be on a tour boat for 3 hours later in the day, so I picked up some fruit for snacks.

When I got home, Kristine was just starting to stir, so I made breakfast before we headed out to return the motorbike and book our day trip. We’ll be going to the hot springs and exploring the volcano, which should be pretty fun. We had two hours to kill before departure, so we wandered the shops along the caldera looking for gifts to bring home. I really wanted to buy one of these funny little guys to add to our trinket collection of everywhere that we’ve been, but the shop had run out of them and these ones were glued down (although it looks like that didn’t stop one person).

The boat leaves from the “Old Port” of Fira, and there are a few options for getting down. First is to walk the path that zigzags down the cliff. Second is to ride a donkey down that path. Third is to take down a cable car. Kristine opted for a cable car,
but she has been eyeing a donkey stuffed animal ever since we got here and I told her that if she wants to get it, she has to actually ride one.

We boarded our boat, the Calypso, and headed for a swim in the hot springs on the smaller volcano island, Palea Kameni.
Here’s a cool view of Fira from the water:
The Calypso is a glass-bottom boat and on the way we got to see a shipwreck, which was pretty cool. The hot spring was a little cove in one of the volcano-islands of Santorini and was probably 15 degrees warmer than the rest of the water. Jumping off the boat to swim over to the hot spring was a little chilly, but luckily the water got warmer with each stroke.

Next stop was the larger volcano island, Nea Kameni, which they neglected to tell us was an additional 2 euros each for admission. Walking around the volcano involved a lot of hiking,
but provided pretty spectacular views.
I really appreciated that Kristine told me how absurd my hair looked after we got out of the hot springs.

On the way back, we cruised while Kristine mentally prepared to ride a donkey up a steep zigzagging slope.

The donkey owners were some pretty authentic Greeks.

She did it! And seemed to enjoy it too!
The donkeys were remarkably well trained. I expected there to be handlers holding a few donkeys each or for all of the donkeys to be tied together and walking in line, but they had simply been trained to follow their herding dog.
Occasionally they would decide to stop and hang out, but for the most part they matched the pace of the dog. The only part that was a bit nerve-wracking was that when they stopped, getting started up again would be pretty jerky and test your balance. Kristine’s donkey lead the way the whole time, and for a while she was so far ahead that I couldn’t get any pictures of her. My donkey started off slow but ended up catching up and finishing in third (of the 20 or so people that went up in our group).
We made it safely to the top. We both agreed that it was the best 5 euros we have spent this entire trip.
Here’s the view down below of the steps (as well as a view of what a pergola is actually for!)

We didn’t feel like spending a lot of money on dinner, so we decided to grab food on the street. Kristine went back to McGregors for another gyro, but I steered clear of their kebabs and went to another place down the street for a couple kebabs, which were extremely good this time.
The place that I got my kebabs was one of many places where the advertised serving grilled fish that was literally just a grilled fish on a plate. I guess you have to skin it yourself? (See top right)
Across the street was another kind of fish, which we had heard about but never seen. It was a spa where you put your hands or feet in a bowl of water and little fishes nibble at the dead skin.

Since it was our last night in Greece and we still had not eaten moussaka, we went back to Fanari for a moussaka and a good excuse to get front row seats for another beautiful Santorini sunset.
Moussaka is essentially like Greek lasagna with minced meat and cheeses, but instead of layers of pasta, they use eggplant.
It was pretty good, but extremely dense. I’m glad that we shared it.
After I asked for the check, I remembered the Vinsanto that we had been served with our check our last time at Fanari and got a bit nervous. To my surprise, this time our free gift was honeydew!! I always say that 11 months out of the year at home, honeydew is awful, but during that one month it’s delicious.
Well this honeydew was some of the juiciest, most flavorful honeydew I have ever had.

After dinner, I took as many pictures as I could manage before Kristine got impatient ☺. Here is Fira at dusk,
and a cool one of Kristine walking through Fira on our way home.
Once we got home, we made up some tea and played more 500 Rummy. As we sat down, I remembered that Dickey was pitching tonight. Then I looked at the clock…8pm, which is 1pm at home. It was a Saturday, so there was a chance that the Mets were playing a 1pm day game. Kristine was on the computer at the time and I mentioned it to her. She excitedly checked and sure enough, the game was just starting. The timing could not have been more perfect. At first we were following along online, and then I tried to find a live stream of the game. Often times, these are hard to find in the US, but I was able to find one in Greece no problem. While we played cards, we watched Dickey go eight scoreless innings, then almost blow the lead when he let 2 runners on and the relief pitcher gave up a 3-run homerun to the next batter he faced. The Mets somehow hung on, and Dickey earned his 19th win, with two starts left to try to get to 20 wins and a Cy Young! As we were watching the live stream of the game, one of the ads that popped up said:
which we both got a kick out of. I got back in the win column in 500 Rummy, then we packed up in preparation for our long day of travel tomorrow. I actually somehow managed to pack more efficiently than my original packing job, fitting everything into my backpack including the few things we have picked up. We’ll be up at 5am tomorrow to catch our 7am ferry. While Kristine was showering, I started to plan out a reasonable walking path for our first day in Istanbul. For day two, we may end up buying a ticket for a Hop-On/Hop-Off bus so that we can make sure we see everything we want to see in our short stay. While I showered, Kristine wrote down directions from the airport to our hotel.

Next stop, Istanbul!I'm not sure whether how we'll adjust back to the hustle and bustle of sightseeing and city life after all this time relaxing on Santorini, but we'll soon find out!

Posted by atbrady 09:20 Archived in Greece Tagged mets greece volcano ride santorini donkey fira caldera gyro moussaka nea kameni

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Pergola's and "fishy spa" ... I love Santorini!!! xoxoxo

by Elaine Brady

Santori was so romantic. What wonderful memories. Enjoy Istanbul.

by Dad

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