Kyla and Nick Around the World travel blog

Leaving the port of Piraeus on our way to Santorini

Our rooms at the hotel Kykladonisia - fantastic, once we found them.

Looking back on Fira

Nick in action - hiking where we weren't supposed to.

Oh joyous day! A snack bar to slake our increasing thirst on...

The snack bar, where the only sign of life was the lock...

By law, every visitor to Santorini must take at least one photo...

Our first view of Ia (Oia)

The sunset approaches in Ia


Nick's parents at breakfast at our hotel.

More of our hotel

More of our hotel room

Some donkeys in Fira, waiting for the tourists to ride them down...


Nick writing

The four of us arrived in Santorini on a late boat, and caught a bus from the new ferry port up to the main town of Fira. (The names take a while to get used to here - the whole group of islands is Santorini, the main island is Thira, and the main town is Fira. I think. Any native Thirans may write in and correct me.) I think we were all glad that the bus ride took place in the dark. Fira is on top of the Cliffs of Insanity. The port is, naturally, at the bottom. It took about 10 switchbacks to get to the top, with one side of the bus feeling like it was hanging out over nothing each time.

Driving on tiny roads will now become a common theme in the trog for the rest of our time in Crete.

Arriving in the centre of Fira, we struggled to find the hotel. The directions were just not really that clear, and it appears that "200 metres" to a Greek works out being "somewhere between 200 m and 3 km, but I'm not really sure."

It wasn't that bad, just that we had all of our bags, and didn't know where the hotel was, and had to stumble along the cobblestones. Kyla and I left my parents at a well-lit area, and set off with our packs to find the hotel ourselves. Every person we asked knew the hotel (which becomes an issue later on, in Crete - funny writing these entries with a week of perspective), and told us "200 metres farther on". When we finally hit the sign, it pointed down a dark, narrow, steep alleyway. Kyla refused to believe that our hotel was down this walkway to Hell, and convinced herself that the hotel was really the empty building with "Rooms to Let" out front. I ran ahead (and down), to find the hotel a 3 minute walk down steep, steep steps. The hotel manager was there waiting for us, and showed us to the most incredible rooms with a beautiful pool outside our doorstep, and with our own patio and flowers. We ran back to get my parents (who had started to wonder if we were coming back), and we went out for a late, but great, dinner.

The next day Kyla and I went for a hike along the rim of the island, to the tip at a village called Ia (or Oia). Santorini is basically two main islands in the forms of "C"s, with a semi-active volcano in the middle of the "C"s. We walked around the rim, along cliffs that must have been 20 000 feet high (my ability to estimate is rather lacking when height is concerned. If you came to this blog for facts, who came in error - check Wikipedia). The walk took about 3 hours, and was broken by incredible views, and a promised Snack Hut that was sadly closed and locked up. We saw the sunset at Ia (one of the in-things to do on the island). It was gorgeous, but the 1000 people trying to leave the tiny community at the same time was not gorgeous.

We got up the next morning and took in a boat tour of the central volcanic island, and a thermal hot spring on another island. Kyla and I swam in the water, and smeared the "therapeutic" mud all over ourselves. This must be a Santorini tour guide rite of initiation - while the mud was quite nice, it also stained our skin a kind of orange colour. Which, I guess, could be considered therapeutic, if you were suffering from a lack of orange pigment in the skin.

We cleaned up as best as we could from the mud, and got ready for our hydrofoil to Iraklion (or Herakio), Crete. Up until now, I've always thought that I didn't get seasick. Well, that ultrafast hydrofoil smashed that belief quickly. (Though I wasn't actually sick - I just felt not-so-good on the trip.) The ferry ride was followed by a bus ride, then a wander around the city of Chania (or Hania, or Xania) where no-one seemed to know the hotel... but that's another story.

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