Ah Santorini, where the horizon blends seamlessly into the sea. Sailing in from Mykonos, we caught our first glimpses of the volcanic coastline littered with whitewashed houses. Santorini is a geographic anomaly; the remnants of a massive volcanic eruption which destroyed the livelihoods of its original inhabitants. The debris from this eruption formed a circular archipelago of islands with the volcano taking pride of place in the middle. This archipelago consists of Thera (the main island people refer to when talking about Santorini), Therasia (a much smaller and sparser island), as well as three other uninhabited islands and the volcano, Nea Kameni. The water between the ring of islands and the central volcano is the caldera.
With countless accommodation to choose from along the coastline, we decided to spend a night in quaint Firostefani and then moved onto the picturesque town of Oía where we were located in Ammoudi Bay; the old fishing port now dotted with seafood restaurants. There was no doubt that this accommodation would be special, what with us being located as close to the turquoise sea as possible without literally swimming inside it – a rarity on the island. Each morning we woke up to the sound of waves crashing in. Relaxed is an understatement.
200 steps (dodging donkey poop) later, we were in the centre of Oía offering panoramic views of the Aegean Sea beyond the traditional cave houses and charming blue-domed churches. Settling into island time, we happily spent most of our days watching the boats sailing past in the bay, tucking into gelato and getting lost in the narrow village streets. On a particular day, we braved the 3 hour hike from Imerovigli to Oía in the blazing sun, admiring the views across the caldera whilst taking a peek into how the other half live in their exclusive, secluded resorts. Evenings were spent watching the sun go down; somewhat of a ritual on the island. Instead of battling the crowds in Oía at the famous sunset spot, we walked a few steps from our accommodation in Ammoudi Bay, where nature had carved out seats for us in the rocks. When hunger hit, we were spoiled for choice with tavernas. We even tried our hand at re-creating the Greek delicacies we had eaten in our self-catered kitchen (not quitting my day job just yet).
I could get used to this life.
Escaping to Santorini? Travel guide coming soon.