Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Santorini, Greece

Once we arrived at the top of the mountain to the town of Sanotorini we took off exploring the tiny streets that wound through shops, cafes, and hotels.
The view was absolutely breathtaking.
Almost all of the buildings are whitewashed and as we walked around we say a few of the the traditional bright blue domed roofs. We went in a few shops, walked through an old church, and then headed down to the main square .
We rented a scooter so we could get out and explore more of the island.

We had the option to rent an ATV or a scooter, but a scooter sounded more fun since we had been on ATVs before. Steven had been on a scooter before, but I hadn’t.
We took off and drove about 15 minutes before we looked at the gas gauge and realized that it was on empty. We retraced our path back to the nearest gas station and thankfully made it without running out! It would have been quite a feat to push that thing up the hills that we had just driven down. The gas tanks are small and the mileage is good. It only cost about 7 euros to fill up the tank.
We drove around for hours and saw lots of houses, the airport, hotels, shops, restaurants, and more. It was neat to see the houses under construction. The support structure of the homes is made of concrete and it looked cool to see the start of a house with concrete floors, stairs, and archways.
We found one of the well known black beaches and took a walk out to the water.
The beach is smooth black rocks that become tiny black pebbles as you reach the edge of the water. I liked walking on the little pebbles as opposed to getting all sandy, but they are hot on your feet if you’re not wearing sandals.
There was a group of large boulders leading from the beach out into the water. We climbed out on them to get a closer view of the crystal clear water.
As we were walking back to the scooter we started looking around and realized that European beaches are a bit different than American beaches and the women treat swimsuit tops as optional….mainly older women! We picked up the pace a bit and quickly made it back to our scooter!
We continued our journey around the island and drove along the pretty coast for awhile.

We found a village and stopped at a Greek restaurant for lunch.
The waiter, who I assume was also the owner, was a funny guy and spoke decent English. He asked if we were on our honeymoon and when we told him we had been married 4 years, he asked if we were 15 when we got married. Then he wanted to know if we had any children. When we said we didn’t, he draped his arm around Steven’s shoulders and told him Santorini was a great place to make babies, ha! After a delicious lunch of gyros for me and lamb and beef kabobs for Steven we headed back to our scooter to continue the explorations.
On our way out we stopped to take a picture in front of the restaurant and the waiter joined in the middle.
That afternoon we drove to the northern side of the island and found the Red Beach.
It is surrounded by red mountainsides and the sand has a reddish tint. We parked and climbed up the rocky pathway to get a view of the beach from above.
Steven kept encouraging me to drive, but I had never driven a scooter and was a bit hesitant. I decided to give it a try and was quite scared as I was driving uphill, alongside a cliff, with other vehicles on the road. I was certain I was either going to fall over on the scooter or drive us straight off the cliff. The wind made it difficult to hear so while I was yelling to Steven that I couldn't do this and needed to stop, he was yelling good job to me! Finally, he figured out what I was saying and grabbed the handles for me. He took over and I gladly switched places with him! I decided to give it one more try when we were on a quieter flatter section of road with no cliffs in sight.
It was getting late in the afternoon and we made our way back to return the scooter and return to the ship.
We took the cable cars down the side of the mountain to get back to sea level.

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