" 1. Santorini, Greece ~ off to the sunshine ~ "
Date & Time: Tuesday 2nd - Wed 3rd October 2012.
Locations : The Greek island of Santorini.
Places visited : Manchester, Santorini flight to Thira and finally Oia (pronounced Ee-a)
Accommodation : Cheladonia Traditional Villas Oia, Santorini, Greece.
With : Ann and myself ( Harry and Bethan were being doggie-sat by friends back home)
Weather : Cloudy to start but the skies cleared as we flew south.
[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]
2012 seems to have been a poor year for weather in many parts of the UK. Loweswater has been particularly cool and damp this year
but fortunately not as wet and flooded as some parts of the country have been in recent months.
However with a rather poor record of sunshine in this region we booked ourselves a flight to find the sun before the summer ended.
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A visit Greece for the first time in thirty years started with a trip down the motorway to Manchester Airport.
We had our passports, but you don't need yours to join us on a trip to the blue Aegean Seas of the Mediterranean.
With the reflections of the interior of the departure lounge shining in the glass
we look out on the rather grey, damp airport of Manchester as we gather ready for the departure
of our Thomson's flight from Manchester direct to the sun of Santorini in the Greek Islands.
Colour returning as we fly high above the clouds of Europe.
Three hours forty minutes later and we would be touching down . . . setting our watches forward an extra two hours of course.
Sunset at thirty thousand feet or so.
Touchdown on Greek soil . . . a direct flight means the minimum of problems.
Now to look for the local taxi man with that "Hiley - Cheladonia" meet and greet sign in his hand.
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Twenty five minutes later we were walking through the marbled streets of Oia . . .
our bags rolling across the joins with a cheerful 'clac-clack' as we were introduced to our apartment.
Down 56 steps ( I counted them later ) and we arrived at our self-catering apartment
half way down the cliffs of Oia . . . this was the view from our front window as we stepped into our apartment.
The houses of this classic Greek village tumble down the hill side,
lit by the subdued lighting of house lamps and alleyway lights.
Despite turning the clocks forward, there was still time to venture out and enjoy our first "taverna meal" of the holiday.
When on holiday do as the Greeks do . . . eat Greek salad !
And so to bed . . . turn the air conditioning on slightly . . . and try and drop the temperature from the balmy 25 degrees C.
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In the morning the colour returned and assumed a whole new meaning.
The houses cascaded (there's no other word) down the cliff, till the cliff became so steep they could build no more.
Forgotten the picture from last night . . . hold your cursor over the picture to remind yourself of what we first saw.
Bring on breakfast . . . and time to sit and take in the view.
One of the houses opposite has a rather nice looking hound
sitting quietly enjoying the morning sunshine.
As the day progresses the crowds came and went
sitting on the wall and walking the street we had walked last night to get from the taxi to our apartment.
The apartment looks out over the blue seas that fill the caldera of the old volcano
that gives Santorini its classic circular shape.
Across the way several cruise ships lie at anchor off the port of Fira.
The highest part of the island behind rises out of the blue haze of the morning light.
Pink Bougainvilleas line the path back up to the village.
The entrance to our apartment is the blue door just beyond the set of steps . . . the sunshade is already up.
From the main street we look down on those dramatic pinks of the Bougainvilleas we passed on the way up.
Oia is classic Greece . . . white walls, blue roofs and wall-to-wall sunshine.
It has been a favoured resort for many years . . . hold your cursor over the picture to look back to 1935.
Restaurant Skala . . . time now to just stroll around and take in the sights.
Souvenirs and clothes, art and artifacts.
Looking over the villas to the distant hillside village of Imerovigli and beyond it, Firostefani.
One of the cruise ships is on the move.
Despite the densely packed houses, there is still evidence of some that are not lived in.
Many of these were damaged in a big earthquake in the 1950's and have not yet been rebuilt.
A classic old doorway leading to a courtyard on the other side.
The cruise ship is closer now.
It makes its way our through one of the channels between the islands of the caldera.
A local playground backs onto the roof of a small church.
Behind it the island of Ios, some fifteen mile or so to the north.
Santorini is one of the southern-most Greek Islands . . . the only one further south is the island of Crete.
The major Church of the township of Oia.
In front is a marbled courtyard which effectively acts as the village square.
Mmmm . . . time to return to our villa for a little light lunch !
"The thing to do in Santorini" is to go to the nearest headland to view the sunset.
In Oia the obvious place is to walk to the old castle ramparts, seen here beyond the white painted houses.
Several of the local scenic boat trips also make it over to view the sunset from the water.
The streets and castle were a bit crowded so we head across to the old windmills.
Plenty of people, plenty of cameras . . . but now room to enjoy the view.
" Welcome to Santorini . . . the most romantic of the Greek Islands "
. . . and then it was gone and the show was over.
The romance wasn't however . . . as this young Japanese couple were finding.
After the sunset, all the folk who had walked to the headland now walked back
and the centre of Oia was buzzing with people.
All the shops stayed open to allow the visitors time to browse and hopefully buy.
The tavernas also did good business once the sun set.
We too enjoyed an evening view from our table . . .
. . . before retiring to our small villa and watch the darkness finally fall.
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Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, my Canon G10 or 1100D Digital SLR.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . . An air ticket to a distant island.
Previous report - 22nd September 2012 A walk up Hopegill Head via the Slabs