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Introduction to Santorini Greece

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Santorini is a beautiful island in the Aegean Sea. It is known as one of the Cyclades Islands, there are 220 Cyclades islands which form a circle around the sacred island of Delos.  Santorini is actually the caldera of a volcano that filled with water.  The first photo is before the caldera filled with water and the second photo is a current map of how it looks today.  Santorini only gets 3 cm of rain a year which makes it difficult to grow things.  The main things they grow are grapes for wine, capers, fava beans and tomatoes.  The wine here is unique because of the soil and how the grapes grow close to the ground.  The wine also has a unique taste.  

As we flew around the island to get to the airport I was taking photographs out of the window.  It is an amazing view.  The photo below is Fira from the airplane.  The bottom is the port and the top is the town.  We did walk these steps both up and down.  They were steep, it was hot and they smelled of donkey poop. All 533 steps in a zig zag pattern higher and high.  Let me tell you walking down isn’t much easier than walking up. 

The plane then flew around the island.  In the distance in this photo, you can see the airport.  As you can see the island is pretty dry. 

We then flew by one of the beaches.  There are umbrellas with people lining the beach.  The “sand” here is black.  I put sand in quotations because most of the beaches are rocky, not sandy.  

The houses pretty much look the same and the pools are plentiful and so crystal blue.  The contrast between the blue water and the lack of green makes you wonder what it’s like down there.  

The airport in Santorini is very small and you get the steps off of the plane and a bus to take you to the terminal.  Did I mention the airport was pretty small?  We didn’t have any checked luggage so we just walked to the car rental booths right in the airport.

As we walked out there were people lined up waiting for guests.  This is the main exit out of the airport.  

This is the outside of the airport with people waiting in line to get in.

Santorini is known for the donkeys, the steps and the beautiful houses on the side of the caldera.  They look as if they are going to slide off of the side of the caldera into the ocean. This is from Fira as we were making our way down to look at the port down there.  Fira is where most of the tourist come in.  Typically you can see the cruise ships here in the port area. 

It is an amazing site to see these houses wondering how they build them and how the furniture is moved in. For the residents, this is a daily climb bringing things as groceries and such.  We did see a donkey delivering cases of water to one of the houses in Oia. 

There are also many cruise ships that come into port here.  On one day we saw four cruise ships in the port.  

Santorini is also well known for it’s blue topped churches.  I’m not sure which has more churches Santorini or Venice.  I would think they were close in number.  The churches are everywhere from on the side of a cliff to by itself nestled in a hillside or between two towns.  

There are four other islands that are a part of Santorini they are pictured below.  The first is Nisida Strogilo which is the white capped island in the front in this photo.    

Another island is where the hot springs are is named Palea Kameni which means old burnt.  We did visit here and go in the hot springs. You can see the springs in the back of the photo identified by the reddish water.

The third island is Nea Kameni which means new burnt. This one is more like the volcano itself.  There is sulfur coming out of the ground and this is still an active volcano.  Yes, the volcano is still active.  The last eruption was in 1950 and there was seismic data collected as recently as 2011-2012.  According to one of our tour guides, they had tremors every day for about a year and a half. 

The last of the islands is Thirasia.  Everything has to be imported to this island and it doesn’t receive much tourism.  It is also a long way up and we did walk it. 

There are many beaches on the island.  Most of them are located on the side of the island that is not facing the caldera.  There is one beach that is in the caldera called caldera beach.  It is also a dark sand pebbly beach. 

Santorini is known for its sunsets.  The sun goes down on the caldera side of the island and there are many restaurants and buildings that face this way that advertise the best sunset views.  

In the next several weeks I will be posting more information and photos of my trip to Santorini full of information on restaurants, the hotel we stayed in the things I loved about Santorini and the things that surprised me about Santorini.  

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