Friday, July 8, 2011

Santorini.... the island of my dreams has finally come true!

Hello friends,
I am writing you from the lovely island of Santorini, Greece.  My best friend, Sol knows that for as long as she can remember, I have always longed to come here.  Especially after watching, "Sisterhood of the traveling pants," I wanted to come here even more.  Everyone knows that I have traveled all of my life and I have been all over the world, but Greece was just always difficult to get to.

Well, I have been here now for 3 days and it is everything that I thought it would be and more.  The harmony between the picturesque hillside against the deep blue water is like the way a man softly caresses the sensual curves of a woman.   The white washed buildings on a hill, overlooking the bright blue Aegean Sea, along with the cobalt blue domes of the Greek Orthodox churches will leave you breathless. These landscapes are like nothing that I have ever seen in the world.  I have been to Athens for historical monuments and archeological findings. I have also been to Crete and the quaint town of Chania and it's beautiful beaches but Santorini is in a completely separate category.  If you speak to any Greek, they will tell you that Santorini is an island that you CANNOT miss!!!

Santorini's reputation of it's beautiful scenery, volcanic landscape and perfect weather is absolutely true.  It's 78 degrees and sunny with a a refreshing breeze in the evening.  The weather has been perfect since I arrived.

95% of the revenue of Santorini Island relies on tourism.   Santorini was formed from a huge explosion from a volcano which destroyed the earliest settlements and formed a huge caldera and and is only about 30 kilometers long and 7 kilometers wide.  The island which was once circular in shape had one of the largest volcanic eruptions that happened 3600 years ago. Because of such a large blast, the central part of the island sunk deep into the sea.  The crescent shape of the island forms a long bay called a caldera.  It is the largest caldera in the world.

Santorini is considered a drought island.  Although the volcanic soil is very rich, the crops are not very abundant.  Anything that the island grows cannot be watered because there is a lack of it.  The crops have to survive without any watering.  The tomatoes are tiny like cherry tomatoes but rich in sweetness and flavor.  There are no trees on this island accept for olive trees because they require very little water.  Their largest export is soil to mix and produce concrete.  The Suez canal was actually built from the concrete made out of this soil.
I will definitely be back here again!!!  I think of all of the places that I have been to,  I have taken some of the most amazing picture in India and Santorini.  Let me know what you think.  I have uploaded so many pictures that I will have to split up my pictures on my blog.

I left Crete and hopped on a speed ferry to Santorini.  It is only 2 hours away.  It is said to take a normal boat into Santorini so you can appreciate the landscape coming into the port but there weren't any available. 

My adorable host from Crete, drops me off once again with my crazy luggage and backpack on his motorcycle.  Crazy but fun!  Thanks again, Apostolis for getting me there safely. 

View of the port from the hillside

Ahhhh!  I have finally arrived to Santorini!

I couldn't find a CouchSurfer to host me in Santorini.  There were only 25 available couches on the whole island so I had to book a hotel.  It was very clean and it was 3 kilometers from the town of Fira (30 minute walk) but I figured I could use the exercise!  

My balcony

view from my balcony

my pool

I started to walk to the town of Fira.  Fira is the capital of Santorini. The town is a half and hour walk from my hotel. 

mules passed me by

The town of Fira is definitely the best area to stay.  It is often crowded but with lots of cafes, restaurants, live music and shopping.  The narrow streets were filled with so many cool picture opportunities.  White washed buildings with splashes of cobalt blue windows and doors with hints of yellow and red painted the hilly landscape.  It felt like going through a maze, not knowing what would be on the other side.  It usually was a cool doorway or some picturesque balcony overlooking the the deep blue waters. 

These sculptures were very sad.  It depicted the people of Santorini as they watched the huge volcanic explosion. 

The interior of the St. John Catholic Cathedral

The beautiful sunset from the town of Fira!  

My sweet, new Albanian friend, Zachary!!  

The next day I went on a tour of the island.  We left from Athinios port and explored the volcano, hot springs, the  folk town of Thirassia and visited the most beautiful town of Oia to witness an amazing sunset. 

Our knowledgeable guide spoke 5+ languages fluently.  He did the tour in English, French, Spanish, Italian, greek. He was born in Amsterdam to Italian parents, married a Greek woman and moved to Santorini.  

We hiked up the volcano to the highest point!  It was very hot and pretty hard to do it that day.  I was dripping in sweat!

My two new Indian friends, Riaan and Jolene

Riann lives in Bombay.  He is a writer for a luxury travel magazine.  Sweet life!

The sun was so strong that day!

We went to Ia to discover the famous sunsets and landscapes that made Santorini popular throughout the world.  

I had to walk more steps!

I decided to walk up the crazy hill because the riding the mule up the steep hill was dangerous.  The mules are not treated well.  They are often hit and beaten for no reason.  The mules often ride close to the wall causing scrapes and cuts to the legs of their passengers.  I once saw someone thrown from a mule so I decided to trek up the hill during the hottest part of the day.  

I finally made it to the top of the hill.  Hallelujah!!

Famous postcard windmills of Santorini

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