Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kick Start

Today, Sam and I slept in. When I awoke at eleven, Sam and I had a nice breakfast on our little porch and then arranged for a scooter so we could go to the beach. The island of Santorini is only about five miles across, but it’s hilly and the roads are narrow, so there are as many scooters driven here as there are cars. So, at one o’clock, Sam went into town to get a scooter. But apparently, one has to have a motorcycle license to drive a scooter, so she returned with an ATV instead. Our little ATV was red and dusty and resembled a bug. It has an electric transmission, but it didn’t work, so every time we wanted to go, Sam had to kick start it, which is difficult for an unseasoned driver. So the next 24 hours quickly became a who’s who of kind men willing to help us. But, by the end, Sam was old hat and could do herself. Our ATV also didn’t go as fast as most for some reason. So in the course of the day, I’m pretty sure everyone on Santorini over the age of six passed us on the roads. But that didn’t bother me at all. Slow and steady wins the race…and doesn’t get us into an accident.

With our new ATV, we drove down to Monolithos Beach, but there was no one there, so we turned around and went in search of gas and a bank. We found the gas alright, but the bank was more elusive. We ended up having to go back to Thira, parking, and looking on foot. Once we found the bank and MACed more money, we decided to ditch the beach and walk around Thira. We explored the winding back streets of the little town. Thira, like most Santorini villages, is built into the cliffside, so there are little staircases throughout the town, finally leading to Caldera, where one can look out over the sea and view the islands around Santorini.

After making our way down from Caldera, Sam and I ATV-ed back to Stavros. We took naps before getting ready to go out. Tonight, we decided to drive to the top of the island and visit Oia (pronounced eee-yah). From the top of the village, the sunset was supposed to be breathtaking, so we decided to check it out. However, we left a little too late to make sunset, but the drive up was beautiful enough to make up for that. To get to Oia, we had to drive up the cliff face to get to the highest point on Santorini. And I’m not going to lie – it was crazy scary. Driving up, we were cliff-side. One slip and we would have driven straight off Santorini. But Sam handled the ATV well. She said it was stressful, but, from I sat, she seemed like a pro. When we got Oia, we walked to the top and saw the view. It was like a postcard or a screensaver. Straight ahead, we could see some islands in the dusk sky. To the left, small white buildings cascaded down the mountain side. It was absolutely everything I dreamed Sanotrini could be.

After marveling at the view for a bit, Sam and I strolled Oia streets and found a restaurant, where we each had Chicken Souvlaki and french fries. For dessert, she had baklava and I had some ice cream. Then came the ride back to the hotel. It was pitch back, with only our headlights to see by, and the road down the mountain swerved and turned like nobody’s business. But still, Sam held her own and we got back safe and sound. After such a long day and several stressful drives, we vetoed going out and crashed.

It was hard to believe that we had only been on Santorini for two days. We had packed so much into that relatively short time that we both felt worn out. There hadn’t actually been that much relaxation in our vacation. So, we both decided that tomorrow would be for relaxing on the beach or by the pool.

Until then, Kalispera….


  1. Hahahah! Your ATV description is hilarious! Sounds like it was a ton of fun/the pictures are BEAUTIFUL.