As the ferry was docking, it looked as if the boat would crash into the cliff face of Santorini. In the port, Sam and I saw sign after sign advertising car rentals and hotels. But we only had eyes for Stavros Villas, our hotel, where we had heard only the best about the owner. We finally found a van that advertised Stavros, and it drove us and two other couples up the cliff. The views were magnificent! Then, about half way to Stavros, we stopped and four of us were handed over to another van, Stavros’s van. A little further, we stopped again and one couple was dropped off, while another got on. Finally, we arrived!
Stavros Villas is in the town of Karterados. It is a two story white building with blue shutters. Picture classic Santorini and you’re imagining Stavros. There are palm trees all around and a swimming pool. And Stavros is basically the nicest man ever. When we met him at the first hand off, he said “Don’t worry. Stavros is here!” He dropped us off in our room and then had to go all that way to the port to pick up some Italians who weren’t even staying with him. Our mini fridge had defrosted and leaked, so there was water all over the floor. But this was actually serendipitous because then we got to meet Stravos’s daughters, who he called to clean it. I’m not sure of the first one’s name, but then Emma came and explained the island to us. She told us the way to the beach and Thira, a main city, and suggested that we rent scooters to get around.
Once she left, Sam and I chilled for a while and caught our breath. Then it was time to move again. We decided to get some food from the mini-store, so that we could spend less on breakfasts. On our way out, we bumped into Stavros, who volunteered to drive us there. We picked up some cereal and juice and then walked around Karterados. It’s a cute little town with a lot of cheap restaurants and scooter rental places. Since we had learned that nightlife doesn’t really start until midnight, and most Grecians don’t eat until around ten, we decided to stop at a little restaurant to have a small snack when we would have normally had dinner. After walking a little more, we stopped at the supermarket to get milk and couldn’t help ourselves when we saw the wall of wines. Not wanting to spend a lot, we chose the cheapest – a nice three euro bottle. After that, we returned to Stavros to prepare for the night ahead.
After resting, showering and dressing, Sam and I set out for the popular town of Thira for the night. It was about a thirty minute walk from Stavros. Thira was certainly alive when we got there. There were people all around and dozens upon dozens of restaurants and shops. For dinner, we chose Dionysus at Atlantis. The name is awesome because the myth of the lost city of Atlantis actually started right here on Santorini. Around 1500 BC, Santorini and the few surrounding islands were connected. Then in the center of this huge island, a volcano (which is still active today) erupted and all the land around it fell into the sea. When you look into the water from the top of the cliff, you can still kind of see it. Anyway, that event gave birth to the myth of Atlantis. Back at the restaurant and still trying to cut corners, we opted to only share a couple appetizers. We got tomato fritters with onions, a traditional Santorini dish, and fried cheese in a wine sauce with red peppers. They were both amazing! I think I liked the cheese best, but the fritters were very different, like nothing I’d ever tasted before.
Sam’s Europe guidebook said that, in Thira, the hot clubs change often, so one has to follow the music to find a good party. So, that’s what we did. We followed it to Murphy’s an Irish pub that clearly catered to tourists. They played American music and even had a New Jersey license plate on the wall as decoration. We drank and danced there for a while before these guys, Mario, form Athens, and Paolo, from Venice, took us to another club – the Koo Club. It was huge, with muti-colored lights illuminating the bar. There were about three levels packed with people. We stayed there for a little, and I tried out my Italian with Paolo. I only got about half of what he said, but it was good practice nonetheless. After a while there, we walked back to Karterados.
An amazing first day in Santorini…