It’s our nine month trip-aversary! We started our day off with a bowl of cereal and Greek coffee outside of our little bungalow in Perissa and then booked a motorbike for the day to explore the island. We started off in Thira (also known as Fira), tried desperately to be patient with the passengers of the three cruise ships that arrived right around the same time we did, had Mexican for lunch at a restaurant owned by a fellow American (Colorado) before heading to Pyrgos and Firostefani, and then headed back down to Perissa. I had no idea Santorini was so big and that there were different towns on the island. I always thought it was just… one big town on one small island. Wrong. There are fields in between towns and hills and even though it can take about an hour to drive from one end to the other, sometimes the island is so narrow you can see the sea on either side of you. It’s just as beautiful as it is in all of the pictures, and just as romantic as you expect it to be, that is, once you flee the cruise ship passengers shopping for their one of a kind Swarovski Santorini souvenir. (Now, say that a few times fast!)
We were told at dinner the other night that we have arrived before all of the other tourists. It’s right on the cusp of high season here on Santorini, and after two nights of being the only ones in the restaurant, we were enjoying the peaceful environs. And then, we arrived to Thira just after noon, and had to weave in and out of big (HUGE) tour groups following their poor leader waving a flag around, trying simultaneously to do a head count. Again, I could tell it was bothering Andrew and taking away from the beauty of the seaside town, so we left the crowded shop filled streets and headed for calmer and much quieter back alleys. These seemed to weave in and around hotels and guesthouses dotted with a few restaurants. Not many tourists cogged the little lanes and we were able to wander for the most part and really appreciate the beauty of Thira.
We could have explored more of Thira, but I didn’t want to get frustrated with the masses of people, so instead, we opted to check out a Mexican restaurant down the road, on the edge of Pyrgos. I know, I know, we should be eating Greek food while we’re in Greece. But you cannot underestimate the power of good Americanized Mexican food if you haven’t had any in a long, long while. It was expensive. But it was hands down the best Mexican (or attempt of) we’ve had on this trip. The owner is from Colorado and wasn’t surprised when we told her we hadn’t lived in America for awhile. She told us that Americans who visit Santorini these days are either “working in Dubai or stationed in Germany.” She seemed anxious for the American economy to get back on track so she would have more American customers.
We hopped back on our bike (this time Andrew let me drive) and headed to Pyrgos. It was empty. There were only a fraction of tourists milling about and for the most part we were on our own wandering through the quiet town. There were so many churches, I wondered how many priests live on the island and how often each of the churches are open. Do they take turns? Does everyone follow a specific calendar for when to go to each different church? Or is each church open to a specific and small congregation?
Some of the stairways led up and we always climbed them, wondering where they went. Most of the time we found ourselves on top of the churches or other houses of the little town. It was like an entirely different kind of open air city up on the rooftops. Andrew went exploring. I photographed the rooftops and wondered if and when we would get in trouble for wandering around above the city.
I couldn’t stop photographing this beautiful little town, so I’m just going to let the photos speak for themselves.
Afterwards, we were going to venture out to Oia, a town on the northernmost tip of the island famous for the best sunset view on the island. We were about halfway there and then realized how long it would take to get home in the dark- without jackets or pants. We decided to stop off at Firostefani instead and meandered around. Firostefani was more along the lines of Thira than Pyrgos and full of restaurants and what looked like fancy hotels. Happier with our visit to Pyrgos, we didn’t stay long and instead headed back towards Perissa to sit near the pool before it was too cool to stay outside barefoot.