On this episode, we walked down 600 flights of stairs down Old Fira Port, ride on a Pirate Ship to an active volcano, visit the little town of Oia, found the quirky Atlantis Bookshop and watch the most beautiful sunset.
Fira Old Port
The old port of Fira is at the bottom of the Caldera cliffs. The little harbour has restaurants, taverns and small shops to buy souvenirs. To reach the old port, you’ll have to walk down the 600 stone steps, hop on a donkey or take the Cable Car which leaves from the top of the Caldera. The large cruise liners are often seen here during the summer where passengers are then ferried to shore in small boats. You can spot small fishing boats as well as boats that depart daily to the volcano Nea Kameni, Hot Springs at Palia Kameni, Thirassia Island and Oia for the sunset.
Shine and I chose to walk down the 600 steps trailed with donkey poo to take in the sights.
It felt like forever to get to the port and we were famished! I was so happy to see a tavern right at the foot of the last step, I just wanted to eat and have some piping hot tea! And, omg, the service was excellent and I loved their eggs so much! They sprinkled it with cheese and ham like pizza.
Nea Kameni is a small uninhabited Greek island of volcanic origin located in the Aegean Sea within the flooded Santorini caldera. Nea Kameni and the neighbouring small island, Palia Kameni (the new and old burnt islands) have formed over the past two millennia by repeated eruptions of dacite lava and ash. The last small eruption happened in 1950 and involved lava dome extrusion. The nearly barren island is visited daily by dozens of tourist boats throughout the summer. Visitors climb a gravel path to reach the top of the 130-meter-high volcanic crater, where it is possible to complete a full circuit of the rim.
Shine and myself had really wanted to see the volcano up close prior to our visit to Greece. Since our stay was the end of winter, it was impossible to book any tours to see the volcano. However, from staying at the Blue Diamond Bay, we were informed by Mama that there is a boat that will take us there as the weather was still good and it will cost only 20 Euros each! WE HAD TO GO. I know how much Shine would love this and Mama was so nice to help us arrange the booking. Turned out, she even got us a discount of 18 Euros each.
And that was only the journey up, then we had to make the journey down aarrgghh! It was whole morning of hiking and I can feel the piping hot tea, sandwich and eggs in my stomach starting to burn away. The ground was warm but the wind was crazy cold!!! My hair was in a tangled mess but I was more concerned about getting back on our Pirate Ship without falling flat, face onto the volcanic ground. Thankfully, we made it back safely.
Our visit to Palia Kameni was a short one. In the Spring/Summer, it would be nice to take a dip in the hot springs but most of us on this boat didn’t dare take off our clothes what more to dive in! The wind was just so cold but… there were two brave guys who dived in. They said that it got warmer as they went deeper but were shivering chattering cold when they got out. Probably wanted to get their moneys’ worth. We all enjoyed the stunning view back.
Oia is a small town and former community in the South Aegean on the islands of Santorini and Therasia in the Cyclades, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it has been part of the municipality of Santorini, of which it is a municipal unit.
The main street is named Nikolaou Nomikou. Oia was previously known as Apano Meria (“upper side”), a name which still occurs locally as Pano Meria and the inhabitants are still called Apanomerites. In Ancient Greece, Oia was one of the two harbours of ancient Thera while the other was located in the southeast of the island, where Kamari is now. Oia reached the peak of prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th century. Its economic prosperity was based on its merchant fleet which plied trade in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially from Alexandria to Russia. The two-story captains’ houses built on the highest part of the village are a reminder of the village’s former affluence. Part of the town was destroyed by the 1956 earthquake.
Address: Kyklades, Oia, Thira.
Tel: +30 22860 72346
Atlantis Books is a little bookstore located in the middle of Oia run by two English guys that decided to open it because they saw no bookshops here. The story of it is written on the ceiling of the bookstore. It was nice that Shine tried to locate it for me because he knew how much I wanted to see it (I know right, came all the way to Santorini to see a bookstore).
Address: Kyklades, Oia, Thira.
Tel: +30 22860 71009
Would you believe a dog led us here? Turns out locals have lunch here too. We decided to order a Greek specialty that turned out to look and taste like vadai, just without onions and prawn with shells in them. A cat got friendly with us and particularly with Shine. The cats and dogs in Santorini were as friendly as the people. First, a dog guided us through the lane and then, this cat sitting on Shine’s lap and falling asleep. The guy carried the cat and put it on the stairs nearby.
After dinner, we explored Oia a little more before catching the sunset.
Night came quite fast in Santorini during the season. Just after the sun set, it got dark and a lot colder! So Shine and I rushed back to the car park to meet our driver as fast as we could all while shivering and teeth clenched together.
While walking towards the car park, saw two puppies and I stopped to pet them. Such cuties. If I ever were a cat or a dog, I’d live in Greece.
On the next episode, we’ll visit the Red Beach, see Akrotiri’s Archeology site where most people believe could have been Atlantis and go shopping at Fira before we head home.
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