It was already dark when we arrived at the Greek Island of Santorini. We could tell from the plane that it was overcast and once outside, quite chilly. We quickly hopped in our rental car and headed for the hills.
Our hotel, called Apanemo Itanemo, is located on the south end of the island close to a small village called Akrotiri. The “traditional” type of building for Santorini is a cave house. Our room turned out to be an uninsulated concrete sarcophagus. A cave with a view. The icy tile floor penetrated my being and made my teeth hurt.
Though our room was chilly our host, Spiros, was warm and full of hospitality. He helped us bring the kid’s mattress down next to ours and brought in an extra heater and blankets. Yes, I didn’t let the kids sleep up in that loft.
Mark and I both suffer from severe OPPS (Over Protective Parents Syndrome).
With doubts forming in the dark, damp night, we woke up the next day to a view from our balcony that put things into perspective:
Better weather was in the forecast, and around noon the sky had cleared. It was still a bit chilly that first day so instead of hikes or beaches, we headed out in our car for some more spectacular views.
The variety of colors, textures and shapes in the rock are incredible; spongy white, jet black, ribbons of yellow, smears of green – and then this deep red stone that is other-worldly. Here’s a whole beach made from it:
It did warm up the next day and was perfect for hiking. We’ve been up and down several hills and what seems like thousands of steps. All of us end up with a pocket full of colorful pebbles (and some in our shoes). Sagan’s pitiful shoes are worn down to the nubbins. We’re on this island for two weeks and I don’t expect them to hold out. We’ll have to go shoe shopping before we leave – perhaps for some Greek sandals.
There is a beautiful pool at our the hotel Apanemo. The kids are having a hard time dealing with the realization that I’m not going to let them take a polar bear plunge. There’s no disappointment from me; chilly weather is the trade-off for not coming during the tourist season.
If Mount St. Helens was an island, that’s pretty much what happened here about 600,000 years ago. About 300,000 years ago the cone popped up in the middle, and vapors can still be seen emanating from it today. The description from wiki says:
Santorini is essentially what remains of an enormous volcanic explosion, destroying the earliest settlements on what was formerly a single island, and leading to the creation of the current geological caldera. A giant central lagoon, more or less rectangular, and measuring about 12 by 7 km (7.5 by 4.3 mi), is surrounded by 300 m (980 ft) high steep cliffs on three sides. The island slopes downward from the cliffs to the surrounding Aegean Sea.
To see where Akrotiri and Imerovigli are and also get an idea of how “volcanic” this place looks even from an illustration, check out this map: