As a combination graduation/birthday/belated honeymoon (I really get my money’s worth!), I took Ginger and the boys to Santorini from May 21st through the 24th. It started out as a very early morning drive on the 21st from our home near Chania to Iraklion to catch the ferry to Santorini. After finding our way to the port and getting on the boat, I think the earliness of the morning started to settle in as we sat in the comfortable seats for the 2 1/2 hour ferry ride. Unfortunately, the boys weren’t as tired as we were, so we took quite a few walks around and outside the ferry instead of sleeping. Go figure!
When we arrived in Santorini, it was very windy and rainy, but fortunately Giannis (Yanni) from our hotel was there to pick us up and get us out of the rain. From that point, we were off on our Santorini adventure! We arrived at our hotel in Kamari, which is located in the middle of the eastern coast of the main island. Giannis gave us something to drink, arranged for a rental car to be dropped off and showed us to our room. We walked down the road, had some lunch, then headed out to tour around the island. We started off at Ancient Thera, only to find that it was closed for the day. We then headed for the ruins at Ancient Akrotiri. Along the way, we found a playground that we just had to stop at and let the kids get out some energy (probably from the chocolate and creme filled crepes they had at lunch!). After getting in the car and finally reaching the ruins, we found that it was closed “for technical reasons” – apparently having been that way for some time. Oh well, we hopped back in the car and decided to head to the lighthouse at the southern end of the island. It was well worth the drive! Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel for a nap, then dinner.
On the second day, we headed back up to Ancient Thera and walked around there for quite a while. It was actually very impressive and much larger of a site than we were expecting. We also got to watch some storms out at sea – one of which had a funnel cloud that we could see stirring up the water where it touched the ocean. Afterwards, we had lunch back in Kamari, took a nap while the kids watched a movie, then headed out to the Santos Wines, the main winery on the island (Santorini is actually pretty well known for its wines) to pick up some “souveniers.” Finally, we headed to the small fishing port of Ammoudi, just below Oia. Oia is the famous town know for its breathtaking sunsets. We met our friends Richard and Melanie at a fish taverna on the water, where we had dinner, then walked up the road to catch the sunset. It was beautiful!
On the third day, we traveled to Fira, the main town and capital of Santorini. We had breakfast overlooking the ocean out to the volcano island, Nea Kameni. We took the cable car down to the bottom, where we caught a 3 hour boat ride out to the volcano. We hiked up the volcano with the kids (I’m pretty sure there was some whining involved, even though the boys assured me there wouldn’t be…). It is dormant, but still spews out some sulfuric gases in a few places. After hiking back down, the boat took us around the back side of the volcano, where people could jump in and swim to an area where steam/sulfur from the volcano keep a pool of water nice and warm. We stayed on the boat as none of us really wanted to wear swimsuits for the hike up the volcano. Afterward, we headed back to the main island, where we caught the cable car back to the top and drove back to Kamari for an afternoon at the beach and the hotel pool.
On the last day, our rental car was picked up in the early morning, so we pretty much stuck around our town and the hotel pool. It was very relaxing and the kids enjoyed the time in the pool a lot. They probably could have stayed at the pool the whole time and called it the best vacation ever! Giannis drove us down to the port when it was time to leave. After a short wait, we hopped on the ferry and headed back to Iraklion, where we stopped for McDonald’s (we get Greek food all the time) at 10:30 PM, then drove the long, dark and dangerous National Highway back home.
Overall, it was an absolutely awesome trip; however, I will say that it made me appreciate all that we have on Crete even more – especially all that we have on the small peninsula that we live on. I could never leave the peninsula and be very happy indeed. Click here to see all of the pictures.