Day 26 – Stunning Santorini
22 April 2015
The receptionist called us a taxi at 5:30am as we needed to be at Piraeus Port an hour before the ferry leaves for Santorini. We decided to catch a ferry instead of flying due to cost. Would have cost us around $250 each to fly and to ferry was $123 each return. The catch was of course it would be a lot longer by boat, 6 hours compared to 45mins flight. We reached the port just after 6am. We were dropped off by the boat but we knew we couldn’t go on it yet since we still had to get our tickets from the ticket booth which surprisingly was quite far away from the boat. Here is one tip, if ever you find a pretzel vendor near the boat, ask for the price before you buy one. We didn’t have time to eat breakfast and so I was keen to try the pretzel. I just handed him €10 note. He gave me €3 back! €7 for a pretzel!! It was ridiculous. Times were definitely tough in Greece.
We got on the ferry just before 7am. We were also told that Wifey and I weren’t seated together. I waited until all the passengers were on board and luckily the seat next to her was still empty and so I took that seat instead. The boat ride was quite smooth. I tried to nap but I couldn’t. Wifey could sleep anywhere. The ferry stopped at the islands of Naxos and Mykonos to drop off and pick up more passengers. I’ve heard of Mykonos before and with what we saw at the port, it seemed like a nice place to visit (next time).
Six hours later, we had finally reached Athinios Port in Santorini. We were greeted by shuttle services fighting over the passengers keen to reach their hotels already. One offered to take us to our hotel for €15 each, it seemed like a decent deal and so we got in their car that had 4 other passengers, one senior couple from Singapore and two students from the US. They asked us how much we paid for the ride and surprisingly the two students had to pay €5 more each than the rest of us. I just assumed that they were probably the first ones there and so they were quoted the higher price in case they were the only passengers :S.
The island was not that big. We drove past plenty of flat land planted with basket vines which created a pretty pattern on the ground. I noticed that there were hardly any trees. Not sure if I actually saw one during the drive. The houses and buildings were all painted in white. Occasionally we saw little chapels with the trademark blue dome. It took around half an hour drive to our hotel, On The Rocks. It was literally on the rocks by the cliff side and so we had to walk down many steps to reach the reception. Our room was not ready yet and so we were told that we could wait by the pool as we were going to be served some welcome drinks. The pool was even further down the cliff and so we carefully made our way there. The view was jaw-dropping. The blue sky spotted with white clouds met with the clear blue water of the Aegean Sea. It was the perfect backdrop to the white painted buildings on the cliff plus the pop of blue from the church domes and pool water. We were definitely loving life at that moment. Then came the waiter which served us the best freshly squeezed orange juice we had ever tasted, seriously. After a short while, the manager picked us up and brought us to our room. It was more of a cave than a room, like it was carved off the cliff. Everything was white inside. It was beautiful. It was very very cosy inside but it didn’t matter. The view outside our window totally made up for it.
Then it was time to explore. We asked for some directions to the main town of Thira (Fira). Our receptionist told us we could either wait for a bus or walk via the path beside the cliff which would take us at least 15mins, longer if we stopped for photos. We opted to walk instead and it did take us longer to reach the town as we constantly had to stop to admire the view and take some photos. Every view was Instagram worthy haha. We walked past a Souvlaki shop, ordered some gyros for only €2.50 each and a Greek salad. One of the cheapest but satisfying lunches we had during the whole trip. We saw donkeys that you could pay to ride down the bottom of the cliff to the old port of Santorini, we weren’t really keen on doing that. Walking up and down the paths of the cliff side town was quite a feat. It got us pretty tired too and so we decided to walk back to the hotel to rest so we could regain some energy to explore the town again at night.
Part two coming soon. 🙂