Ya sas from Greece! But first, let me catch you up.
On Maia’s birthday, we left Croatia for Montenegro in a three hour bus trip that transported us from Dubrovnik to Kotor, inclusive of intimidating customs processes and a mean bus driver (due to changing currencies we were 2 kuna short on our 15 kuna luggage requirements, and ended up having to pay 20 euro as a substitute, you do the math). We arrived to lovely accommodation and opened a great bottle of red, which more than made up for the day’s earlier experience. During our short stop in Kotor, we made the most of the pool, and really enjoyed our walk up through the old town to the fortress crumbling precariously on the mountainside. I was pleased we spent just a wee time here, as we seized most of the opportunities on offer and were looking forward to our Greek adventure ahead.
The next leg involved busing from Kotor to Dubrovnik, then flying Dubrovnik – Athens – Santorini in a long but so worth it travel day, as we were rewarded with our first Santorini sunset on the plane, much to our excited delight. We arrived after dusk to friendly, joyful people (characteristic of all Greeks we have come across) heading straight out to live music and great tzatziki, where the band played Greek beats and raki was complimentary (we’ve been three times now!).
The first morning was like jumping into the chalk pavement sketches of Mary Poppins with Oia, our home village, springing to life as a 3D version of its postcards. Perched atop dramatic cliffs at one tip of the crescent moon island, we were thrilled to bits that Santorini exceeded what images depicted. It is incredible (and our favorite so far!).
On our five night stay we have savoured every taste of fresh fruit, Greek yoghurt, floral honey, tomato fritters and Mythos beer. The towns are past peak season, and this brings with it a relaxed twilight-period atmosphere (the many seasonal workers are less celebratory as it means an impending return to Athens where employment opportunities are few). We’ve loved the privilege of sunshine everyday, and with it the heat’s instructions to amble. It has been amazing to take in the architecture – not just decorated blue and white, but also alabaster, cream, ivory and linen. The earth is much more volcanic than anticipated, with sulphuric hot pools, exquisite trifle like exposed geologic layers, and very deep (400m) blue seas.
Our Santorini highlights have been a boat cruise in the caldera (only six people on a brand new catamaran that takes 50, Lady Luck treated us to a near private charter!) that included local wine and a dip in the warm Aegean waters (I bravely pin dropped in for a five minute folly, but made sure I had my foam noodle to fight off sharks, while Maia living up to his ‘brave’ moniker snorkelled away from the boat popping up like a shag every few minutes). We also got up very early one morning before sunrise to hike the hard 10km trail from Oia to Fira. With uninhibited views, it was a great way to two-in-one explore plus sweat out a couple of hours.
Our time has otherwise been spent seeing an exceptionally well cared for ancient excavation site (where we laughed through our own tour after realizing halfway that the numbered exhibits corresponded with free guided listening tapes), daily trips up, down and around Oia’s endless steps and narrow avenues, and catching the sunsets with cold drink in hand from some of many vantage points. Maia also got his feet kissed by fish.
We have two and a bit more weeks in Greece and tomorrow head to Mykonos.