Wednesday, June 1, 2011

In the Summertime - Santorini, Greece

Santorini for us is a bit of a holiday within a holiday. We will have just had 2.5 weeks at music festivals and making long treks across countries and then we get 4 full days to do… nothing.

Where we will sleep

Santorini Camping (Campsite)
How long? 5 nights
How much? €28 per night (2 adults, small tent, 1 motorbike) 
Check in? 12 noon, but we’ll get there around 4pm from the Athens-Santorini ferry.
Check out? Not specified. We don’t need to leave for the 3.30pm ferry back to Athens until around 1pm-ish.
Why we chose it? The options were to camp near the beach or the view. We chose the view. Also there is easy access from there to the other locations, including the beach, plus a pool on site overlooking the Aegean sea, hot water showers, laundry, Internet access, night guards. They don't take bookings though!

What we want to see

If we feel like it, and only if we feel like it, we might try –

A Donkey Ride – The old ferry terminal at Santorini is famous for being at the bottom of a very steep hill, with two options for getting to the top – riding a cable car, or riding a donkey. It costs €3 but where else are you going to do it?! The ferry we arrive by will land elsewhere, at a port with a road so we can get the bike back on dry land. It doesn’t sound much easier though – apparently it is extremely steep and has seven 180 degree turns before the top.

The sunset at Oia – One of Santorini’s most famous attractions, the sunset when seen from the small town of Oia is like no other.

Snorkelling – I tried this as a child and hated it. I wasn’t a strong swimmer and we were literally dropped in the deep end. 14 years later I tried again in Rarotonga with Soul Buddy. It took me a few minutes to get my breathing (read: hyperventilating) under control and regulated underwater but I was determined and once I got the hang of it – I never wanted to get out of the water again. I’m really excited to try again in Santorini. We’ve found two options –
Aegean Divers - €35 for 4 hours over 2 dive spots (a combined trip with scuba divers) or 3 hours over 4 dive spots. €85 for a 4 hour Discover Scuba course.

Alternatively, Santorini Dive Center - €25 to snorkel during a combined trip with scuba divers, €40 to do a half day snorkel trip, or €55 for a 2 hour Discover Scuba course.

What we are expecting

I guess I’m expecting something like my experience in Rarotonga, the largest island in the Cook Islands, in the Pacific Ocean. It took 45 minutes to drive the entire way around, and the island works very much on island time – to no fixed schedule. The resorts are modern but the people that live there live what we could possibly call ‘The Simple Life’. They are relaxed and happy and have a real community.

I’m expecting Santorini to be similar in terms of island time and relaxation, but more modern and more… expensive – fancy houses in place of simple accommodation. I’m expecting amazing beaches, a lot of space, big undeveloped fields but also crowds and a lot of them. A mix of simple and rustic with tourism and resorts.