Santorini, Greece: The Starter Edition
As worldly as everyone considers me to be, and despite the fact Santorini was number one on my bucket list of places I had left to visit, I never knew until I got on the island that "Santorini" describes just the island and it, like every other place in the world, has many little municipalities within the city. (Uh ... I also did not know the island was a crescent shape due to a volcanic eruption in the 16th century ...) It's one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea and the whitewashed, cubiform houses (like the ones you see in movies as well as in my photos above and below) are in its two principal towns Fira and Oia.
Personally, having stayed in Imerovigli (at the impeccable Grace Santorini), as well as Oia (at the beautiful Canaves Oia), if I had to make a choice I would definitely stay in Oia for a portion of the trip. There's just something about walking about the main streets of Oia, with a flush of white washed homes on both sides, which really make you think, "WOW! I've made it to Santorini!" (I am actually pretty obsessed with the Grace Santorini, though, so more on that later.
This was the night-time view from my suite at the Grace Santorini when I landed, which was pretty magical. Day time view below was not so shabby either! ;-)
Wherever you do decide to stay, it's really easy to get around the island of Santorini, in the sense there is a 1,80 euro public bus which can take you from one end of the island to the other. If you've ever taken the public bus on the Amalfi Coast, this will make perfect sense to you but there is a certain fearless which has to come from riding an overpacked bus, with people filling every seat and standing room possible (including the area upfront where the bus driver is), with the bus driver talking on his cell phone and smoking. To your left and right is nothing but sheer cliffs and you can hear the ghastly gasps of terrified passengers every time the bus makes a turn (there are a lot of turns) as it climbs through the hills. FUN FUN!
Getting to the island is also very easy to as it is a 30 minute flight from Athens. During high season, I've been told, Aegean Airlines lands a plane on Santorini every five minutes. FIVE MINUTES! Wow.
More on Santorini later!