Santorini Greece Lost Atlantis?
Santorini Greece Lost Atlantis?
5 nights, 4 full days.
Much has changed in the 32 years since Sherri and I were in Greece. Not only their economic stability and population growth, but the heavier influx of tourism. Sure it was popular in the 1980's but not to this degree.
The town of Thira shows building down the slope, but what the photograph doesn't show is how the town expanded outward to the east, west and north.
The other thing I missed was all the older people in traditional dress-from head scarves and black outfits for the women to vests and caps for the men. The culture now-like all of Europe-has given way to modern western styles of dress.
Santorini is a caldera (ex-volcano) and is one of the most southern Greek Isles in the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea (part of the Mediterranean). Crete is the only major island further south. When the island erupted over 3,500 years ago, it's main city fell into the ocean. The story of Atlantis is believed to have it's roots in this devastation of Santorini's volcano. (Seen here to our right.)
Sophia planned this section of the trip and picked out our hotel-the Volcano View which was a few miles east of the main town of Thira. Everything was whitewashed and with the curved walls of our room, the panoramic view, 3 pools, great breakfast options and friendly staff, it was a great place to stay (spotty wifi was the only negative).
Photographs taken from our hotel:
I wanted to make the image below a bit abstract.
The only request I had of Sophia and Harrison is that we walk the 9 miles from Thira to Oia (pronounced E-ah). Fortunately it was just in the high 70's the afternoon when we took the trek. It took three hours, we encountered not only great views, but a good size land turtle on the path and of course, many Greek Orthodox churches and crosses along the way.After dinner, we went to see the sunset. All the little pathways were packed with tourists that one could hardly find a place to stand, let alone sit. It was nuts. I can't imagine what it would be like in the summer! (Tip: Go in late September!)
We spent a lot of time exploring Thira, shopping, eating gelato and delicious Greek Salads (Yum! Local Tomatoes, olives, cucumbers and peppers with no lettuce mind you) and even encountered a destination wedding.
One of the days, Sophia and I rented ATV's and drove around the island. Red Sand beach, old abandoned windmills, Greek ruins, and the Kamari Beach Hotel where Sherri and I stayed at in 1984. This is what it looked like then next to the black sand beach: The 1 hotel (see pool) , 4 restaurants and 1 bar. Nothing but fields to our left and empty lots above. Now (above): 15+ hotels, 20+ restaurants and many bars. Note how our old hotel is surrounded now.
So much for quiet and laid back.
On our last full day, we took a boat trip around the caldera. Going to the volcanic island (It last erupted in 1956 and caused significant destruction on Santorini's buildings.)-one can swim in the warmish waters where the sea is heated by the volcano. And you know we HAD to swim in the Mediterranean. :-)
The trip ended with watching the sunset near Oia and partying on the way back. It was a very relaxing time and brought back fresh memories of the time I had with my wife (below).
Next Blog: Switzerland.
Here is a trailer video of some of my favorite images of Santorini.
Santorini Greece Lost Atlantis ?