Tuesday, August 28

24 hours to see thira (santorini)

The next stop on our journey was a quick overnight in Santorini. We heard it was a very small sleepy little island and didn't think there would be that much going on, so we thought one day / night to explore would be perfect. Well we were a little off and wished we had just one more day to explore but we made the most of our short time and did as much as we possibly could! Santorini is also known as Thira and it is the biggest of the islands that came up because of the volcano below that erupted thousands, or millions of years ago - I'm not exactly sure so don't quote me!

The island is very small and all the houses, buildings, etc. are on top of the island because all around is just cliff! You have to take these steep roads and drive up and down these switchbacks. But once you are at the top it is a little hilly but fairly easy to get around. This time we rented a little car {CONVERTIBLE smart car!} because there were about 8 rent-a-car stations at the port, so it seems that is what everyone does. It also worked out because we had so little time and we could just drive to everywhere we wanted. Well we made it to our hotel just in time to see the beautiful sunset from our balcony and then dressed up a little and went into the town. The car was awesome too, it was a little smart car and the whole roof would go back, so it felt like we were back on an ATV. We loved that little thing, I ended up calling her Put-Put because there were so many hills and we were worried she wouldn't make it.

The "sleepy little town" we heard about - was all wrong! It was just as busy as Mykonos as tons of people walked through the streets, headed into restaurants and bars and did some late night shopping. It was such a fun atmosphere. We had an amazing dinner on a rooftop terrace restaurant and then just got lost in the little winding city streets until it was really late and we headed back. Since we had the full day for Santorini because our ferry was at 6.30pm, we booked to go on a boat tour to the other little islands off Santorini where there is still a little {thermal} volcanic activity. The bus arrived at 9am and picked us straight up from the hotel and took us down to the port. We had a really nice tour guide who was on the boat with us. First we went to the bigger island - called something like Old Burnt Island and the other was New Burnt Island, or the other way around? I can't remember. Anyway the first one we were able to hike to the top and get some great views and our guide gave us a little history about the islands and the volcanic eruptions. It was the strongest wind I have ever felt, oh it was crazy! I thought I was going to blow off the island. But I'm still here, so don't worry. Then he took us over to the other smaller island to the hot springs. {luke warm water} The water was this horrible orange murky color and it was so weird to be swimming through it. Again it is said the waters are supposed to have "healing powers" but I'm not feeling any.
After the tour was over, it was about 1.30 or 2 o'clock so we hopped in the car and drove to the other side of the island because there was a point on the map that said "Ancient Thira" and I thought that would be really cool to check out. It wasn't too far away but the map failed to mention that you have to climb up this huge hill for about 15 minutes to reach the top to "Ancient Thira." Our poor little car {Put Put } just barley made it up there and I kept saying encouraging things so she wouldn't die. We made it to the top for some seriously breathtaking views of the other side of the island, along with more crazy intense winds that made it really difficult to walk.. or stand, or do anything really. But it was still completely worth it. Ancient Thira is only 2 euro's and open to the public to walk through at your own pace and check everything out. There were some great little descriptions and explanations of things that you can read about with drawings of what they think it may have looked like.
After all that walking around and exploring we went down to the beach for a late lunch and a quick swim to get all the murky "hot spring" water off of us. Then we had to head back to our hotel to pick up our bags and return the car and then our ferry arrived right on time to take us to our last and final destination, Crete.

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