Santorini Stories and Tips

Santorini Martini...Nice Mix!

Ok, I didn't drink any martinis in Santorini, just liked the way it sounded. BUT...if you had too many it COULD be lethal as it is a LONG way down if you should tumble.
STUFF YOU MIGHT NOT READ ELSEWHERE BUT GOOD TO KNOW:
1. Don't drink the water. Apparently it's not that it is contaminated, it's just that it is salty and has many minerals which can be hard on your kidneys.
2. Same deal with the bathroom "paper" as in other parts of Greece...into the trash can and not in the toilet.
3. STEPS. Many, many steps. If you don't like to walk or have trouble walking this isn't for you.
4. FEAR OF VOLCANOES? There is a submerged ACTIVE volcano aside of this island.

We took the "High Speed" ferry from Mykonos to Santorini. This is an experience. You are dropped off at the ferry port and told "this is where you get your boat." It looks much like a very long open-air concrete barn with wooden railings. Not much signage as far as what you're supposed to do or where to go. The"barn" was packed with people, so we stood in the hot sun. A big ferry arrived and the people left the barn. We then marched into the barn and took a seat on the stone. It is open air, so you do get some breeze. We sat with all of the others, but could see MANY people that didn't make it into the barn. TIP: If you get there and it looks like a line to the barn, send someone in to scout out the seats. There was really room for more people inside once you get in. May save you from baking in the sun. Leave one with the luggage while the other looks, just in case it REALLY is crowded. DON'T expect much in the way of communication about departures (not like being at an airport). It was way past our departure time and my travelling companion went to a uniformed person where he learned our ferry had not even left it's previous port. Time to go looking for lunch which is right up the hill a short distance at a mini-market.
FERRY: It did arrive. We booked a "Business Class" seat which was upstairs and not as crowded as below. There is a little snack bar on board. You leave your luggage where directed by the staff. The Ferry makes several stops at other islands. Upon arrival it is mass exodus. Then getting your luggage is another treat as you get pushed and shoved. If you have access to a medical professional who can perscribe a "CALM" pill,go ahead and get it.

Arriving in Santorini...you'll know you're there by ALL of the white buildings being on TOP of a VERY HIGH island. From a distance it can look like snow. Once you get thru the maze of innkeepers holding signs for rooms to let, we made it to our driver. Previously this trip was done by donkey, so I'm told. Be glad you can ride in a vehicle...it is a LONG way up.
HOTEL: Hotel Ira (pronounced with an "E" not an "I".Many steps down to the reception. VERY nice staff--Manny and Kyriake (Keer-E-ah-kee, which means Sunday). These two and all of the other staff here are happy to make your trip wonderful. Sometimes the people at a hotel make your stay more enjoyable than just the accommodations. Room was nice sized with separate bath opening out to the small pool. This overlooks the "Caldera" which is the water that surrounds the submerged Volcano. Beautiful view. The hotel is in Firastefani which isabove Fira.
RESTAURANTS: We ate at Vanilia and Athekon. Both easy walking distance from this hotel. Food very good. I really think it would be hard to have a bad dining experience.
BEACHES: We went to Kamari which has black sand (small pebbles).HOT.Take shoes which will be useful in the sea, too. The fee for chairs might be $8Euro. PLENTY of restaurants and souvenir shopping. If you aren't starving,walk around and you WILL find some food DEALS. You will also get solicited by all of them.
FUN STUFF: Take the Sunset Cruise on the Blue Lagoon with Jimmy and Costa. The cost is $135Euro which includes drink, dinner and snorkel gear. Transport to the boat was an extra $15Euro each. This was FUN. Jimmy is a SUPERB chef.Truly, the food was so good. We had 2 couples from Spain and 1 couple from Poland--we just had a great time talking & laughing! The sunset was beautiful. First time I ever saw the sun look like pure GOLD!!
ATTRACTIONS: We went to the pre-historic museum. It was hot. You walk thru and read about all of the artifacts. There may be more to this island,but time allowing that about wraps up our trip.

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