Friday, 31 July 2015

Greece Getaway :: Santorini I

Santorini (Fira)
Santorini is not unknown, and may well have conquered a part of your imaginary world before you have even got the chance to set eyes on it.

You may have already know that the Greek island of Santorini is a blissful spot for a romantic getaway, or in my case, simply a post-exam getaway with a few friends. Its capital - Fira - is a vision of dramatic cliffs and pristine whitewashed buildings. Exploring the shops and cafes along Fira’s narrow footpaths towards the cruise port, was absolutely a leisurely way to spend our afternoon on our first day of arrival in Santorini. Each shops are unique on its own, selling beautiful items that can't be found elsewhere.

Looking down from the Caldera cliffs, you can see a steep sloping walkway or called it the donkey path to the cruise port - the Skala pier.

From the top of the cliff in Fira, there are three ways you can reach to the Skala pier: donkey ride (€5), cable car (heard it costs €5 one-way as well), or 580-600 steps by foot following the same path as the donkeys. We as a team picked the most energy-consuming option while leveraging on the the picturesque scenery to get to the cruise port. Another reason that it was time and effort consuming because the pathway was literally littered with donkeys' poops everywhere, where the brown specks on the stairs as seen from the image above were their poops. Some steps were wet with their poops too, so be very careful not to slip on it! :p

Volcano of Santorini. The volcanic explosion that occurred here 3500 years ago forever changed the topography of the Mediterranean coast. This is the place for average hikers or beyond (not for the faint hearted). This has both an inactive and active volcano on the island.

An afternoon tour of the Caldera island begun from the old port of Fira to the volcano, approximately 10 minutes far by boat, where roughly an hour stop at the volcano during which we could visit both the inactive and active craters. It was 32 euro including a tour of the volcano hike up to the top (additional two euro entrance fee), and then a hot spring nearby.

My first active volcano visit, truly wild landscape with various volcanic rocks and craters. The trail filled with rocks of all sizes, quite an edgy/cool landscape to be photographed at. I was expecting flowing red lava, but it was still pretty cool even without. I wouldn't do it again though!

Hot spring. I did not jump off the boat and swim along with the rest between naturally hot and cold patches of sea around the volcano area. Why? It was simply because I did not know how to swim in the ocean until recently. However, I have been told the water was warm and pretty relaxing, not particularly hot.

An adorable child I played with on the boat whilst the rest went for a swim. Dark eyes and hair, and a chubby face - extremely cute.

It was a long way, a tough hike up 600 steps from the cruise port to the top of the cliff. I reckoned it would take half an hour to hike up by foot, and we did not want to take cable car so we decided to give donkey ride a go. I was reluctant at first, given that there are reports revealed the donkeys are abused in the manner that they are mistreated as tourist taxis, and they have not been given sufficient of food and rest periods. Then, my friends had me convinced that it was my first and probably will be the last too (so yeah.. contributed to animal abuse.. just keep this in mind when deciding which option to take).

In the meantime, I am going to share my very first experience of riding a donkey... It was an exciting ride, though not pleasurable. Donkey had its own mind and its own pace, it decided when to pause, when to resume and how it reached to the top. The donkey I got was a smart one, it traipsed up the slope via zigzag trail rather than straight up like any other donkeys, and often in an unscrupulous way. The ride left me multiple of bruises, but it was all worth it. ;)

The weirdest pose you'll ever see while riding a donkey (Err..  truth to be told I was probably too embarrassed not to know how to get down from it - embarrassing).

Can't recall what were those desserts I have ordered, but both were local and tasted just okay. That basically summed up my day 2 in Greece, day well spent in Santorini.



Nick said...

awesome shots! :D

Shirnie Yip said...

Thanks Nick! :p