Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Santorini - Volcano Exploration and Perfect Sunsets and...too much to name!

After the first half of our trip we could not wait to see how the next part stacked up.  When we first started telling people about our Greece trip, one of Nick's coworkers suggested that we do an excursion that takes you out to the volcano where you can hike up to the craters, followed by a stop at the hot sulfur springs, dinner on the boat and a sail to the coast of Oia to watch one of the most beautiful sunsets.

Sunset off of Oia
After being picked up by our transfer we headed down to the port and were welcomed by our ship, Aphrodite.  Rather than being some yucky old boat, this was a three mast wooden sailboat, which just sets the mood for the perfect afternoon/evening.
Our Ship
Our first stop was at the port at the base of Fira,

This gave us a perfect view of the crazy stairs from the port to the city itself, as well as a glimpse of the donkeys lined up ready to take more than a few tourists to the top.

From there we continued to the tip of the volcano, i.e. what is left of the center of the original island.  The base of the island is all a dark lava rock looking very craggy and intimidating.

Pulling up to the volcano
View back at Fira from the volcano
The volcano still has 7 craters!  On one of them you can still see the sulfur and more than that, the ground is still super heated in these areas that smoke.

Our tour included a guide taking us up to the top and going through the history of the volcano, as well as informing us that there is another volcano that is relatively young and active.  Supposedly, within the next 50 years, it could explode and really affect the island again!
On top the volcano
From the volcano we headed out to another small island to indulge in the hot sulfur springs.

Sulfur Springs
The hot springs were not exactly hot, but definitely warmer than the open sea.  Once we were in a bunch of American girls had their faces covered in mud, which is supposed to be great for your skin, but I have heard rumors (thanks Daisy!) that it may not wash off that easily, so we just watched and laughed.  However, we were not the only ones watching.  While we were in the springs, an entire heard of mountain goats started congregating above us, looking rather intimidating!

After the springs we headed out and had a dinner on the water, which led us to the sunset.  Once we reached the point off of Oia, the sailors hoisted the sails and we just drifted backwards with the sunset constantly in our view.

What was crazy was seeing the people lined up along the walkways of Oia, ready with their cameras.

People lining the streets
This excursion was definitely the way to go.  We also lucked out with the weather - not a cloud to obstruct the sun.  There was also plenty of food and beer to go around!

Enjoying the ride
And because the sunset never gets old...

This excursion was one of the high points of the trip for us - it really was so much fun and we got to see a lot of what makes Santorini such an amazing destination. 

The following day we woke up and headed to the other side of the island where it is flat but with plenty of beach front.  Our first stop was the Red Beach...

Red Beach
They do not specify Red Sand Beach because it is actually more like a whole lot of rocks that make up the beach rather than sand, but it was red!  More than that, it was actually a bit of a hike to to get from the parking lot - something other than flip flops would be recommended.

On the Red...
After the Red Beaches, we were off to the black beaches.  While still not sand, it was much closer to sand than the Red beach.

Black Beaches
That night, after taking a bit of a nap and break (more like enjoying the view off our balcony) we headed back to Fira for dinner at Argo, which was at the top of the stairs down to the port at Fira.  Even though we didn't have reservations we still were able to get a table with a great view of the sunset (it really never gets old!).

Sunset at dinner
For dinner, a couple of us got similar things to what we had ordered previously, but we also added the spicy meatballs to the mix for an appetizer, which were delicious.

I chose something not very like me and got the restaurant's famous shrimp pasta dish, which had a honey cream sauce (they had me at "famous" and "honey.")  When the plate came, I was excited by the balsamic vinegar lining the plate, which was the perfect touch.

Argo's famous shrimp pasta
I think this is one of my favorite meals of the trip.  I cannot wait to try and recreate this here at home, maybe using some of the honey from the Savannah Bee Company I grabbed on our trip there.  It was a great meal to cap off our stay in Santorini.  Next we were off to Athens!


  1. oh man I didn't actually see anyone rubbing the hot springs sand on their face - that is nuts! I totally should have mentioned the hike to red beach - but then again it might have taken the element of surprise out of the adventure. ;) and you are right, the sunsets there never get old.

  2. This just sounds like an absolutely beautiful and amazing trip. And I am sure I would love that shrimp and honey pasta too! I hope you do recreate it and share a recipe with us!


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