If I was amazed by Mykonos, I was overwhelmed by Santorini. After seeing the contrasting beauty of the other island, I was looking forward to seeing how Santorini compared. In particular, I was hopeful that the unique geographical feature of the caldera would offer us some obvious visual differences. Santorini, with postcard images at every turn, took my breath away.
Is it any wonder that the majority of the photos you see in magazines and brochures celebrating the Greek Islands are taken on this gorgeous island. There aren’t enough descriptive words to be able to do Santorini true justice. The best way is really to see it for yourself if you can. For now, let me take you on a visual journey of one of the most stunning places I have been.
One of my friends back home told me that she always thought that photos of the Greek Islands were photoshopped until she saw my shots. I’m pretty happy with what we took, but I can only imagine how spectacular they would be if I knew a little more about taking photos.
We chose to fly once again from Mykonos to Santorini and caught a taxi to our hotel in Fira which provided some excitement in itself. Our suitcases, not the lightest things around, were tied to the roof of the taxi with not much more than string. We arrived at a low lying fog that was completely covering the caldera. From the balcony of our hotel, we took in the magic that came from watching the fog roll in from the sea, and eventually our first Santorini sunset, albeit a little obscured.
Why it’s different to the others
Santorini is one of the more unique Greek Islands due to the presence of the caldera. The island marks its place in history as having one of the world’s most destructive volcanoes back in the 16th century. Even though the last eruption was in 1950, the island remains on alert for signs of volcanic activity and there are many scientific instruments that now assist with monitoring.
Once a single island, it collapsed during the volcano, leaving the very steep, three-sided caldera in its place. The towns are built, incredibly, right on top of the caldera, where they sit as though they are ready to fall down the steep cliff face into the water. It is down these cliff faces that the town of Santorini spills in a mishmash of colourful houses, hotels and other buildings. It is also here where I became truly entranced by its beauty.
The caldera provides deep water access to the large tourist ships and a day doesn’t pass where there aren’t at least three of them making their way into or out of the port. On busy days of the week, there can be many more, and the old port turns into a madhouse of people as they are ferried by tender to and from their floating hotels.
Time to relax and watch the sunset
With our first afternoon in Santorini drawing to a close, we watched the foggy sunset with a glass of ‘not so good’ Greek wine in our hands, and ate dinner on the verandah of our hotel, feeling as though we were on top of the world. Well, I almost think we were.
I can’t wait to come back and visit the other Greek Islands. With Naxos, Kefalonia and Zakythos to name but a few, I know there’s plenty of inspiration for me to take from this visit to Santorini and Mykonos.