Santorini, Greece. May 18 – 20, 2010

UPDATED!!!  This post is finished, feel free to read between the photos 😛

With this post what I’m going to do is post the pictures that I will be including.  It takes a lot of time to upload and insert each picture so I started by finding the pictures I want to use and then uploaded them all at once to just get it over with.  So.. I’m going to post the pictures instead of saving as a draft, and I will publish it and in the next few days I will update with what I have to say about Santorini.  For now… one of the most amazing places in Greece:  SANTORINI!!!!

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When most people first hear of Greece, what pops into mind is the white buildings on the cliffs.  That’s what comes to mind for me at least and is mainly what I see other people interpret Greece to be.  Santorini is where this architectural style and landscaping is, and it was by far one of the most beautiful places I’ve been in the world.

We first arrived in Santorini on May 18th via a ferry ride from Myokonos Island.  The rest of the day, after checking into the hotel, was free time and because of my prior night’s engagements, I didn’t get even one hour of sleep so instead of going out in Santorini, I stuck around the hotel and went to sleep early.

The next day, May 19th, was a very happening day.  We began by taking a short bus tour and walking tour through one of the neighborhoods that had a great view.

(As always, click on the pictures to make larger.  They are all posted in very high resolution.)

One of my favorite pictures I’ve taken on the trip.  Jimmy Lyons & cat!!!

Next, we needed to get down to the water to start the next part of the day which consisted of taking a boat to the volcano island that sits very close to Santorini island.  Instead of taking the bus down, which is very common, we took the cable car which was a neat experience.  I’ve been on gondolas and cable cars before, but this one was a little different in the fact that rather than having continuous cars running, they sent six cars straight up and down at at time.  I’m not sure if this was a balancing act or if it’s any more or less efficient as other ways that I have seen done, but it caught my eye for some reason.

The volcano tour was one of my favorite parts of the trip.  We took a short boat ride over to the volcano, and it was bustling with tourists.  I’m not quite sure even one other person in my group enjoyed the volcano because it was a lot of hiking and not much more, but it was BEYOND AMAZING.  The volcano is probably about one to two miles off the shore of Santorini and it provides for one of the best views I have ever seen in the world.

When one hears the term active volcano, the first thing that most likely pops into his or her head is bubbling molten lava (MMM, sounds almost like chocolate molten lava cake for dessert, YUM).  And certainly that’s what I thought of when I found out we were visiting an active volcano, but I knew there was no way we were going to get up close to something that hot and dangerous.  Being on this active volcano was much different that I had expected, and the only sign that it was active was a small area where there is smoke slowly seeping out from between a few rocks (wasn’t able to get any pictures of the smoke, but I’ve pointed out in the pictures below which ones show the active area).

(Obviously this picture was not taken by me.  That’s the volcano off to the left and the mainland is Santorini.)

Active volcano.  Quite different than one would typically imagine.

The active part of the volcano behind me.

After spending a few hours hiking around the volcano, we then got back on the boat and went to the second volcano island where there is a hot spring.  I’m pretty certain if one was to jump straight into the water at the hot spring that it probably wouldn’t really even feel that warm.  But because we were told to jump off the boat about 100 yards from the hot spring, where the water was oh… about 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, once we got to the hot spring, it definitely felt warm.

I’m a fan of cold water.  Sure it sucks jumping into at first, but something about swimming in cold water really appeals to me.  A few days before this when I went scuba diving in Mykonos, the water was about 62 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit and it was absolutely amazing being 20-30 feet underwater being surrounded by really cold water.  But on the flip side, I definitely understand why most people don’t like it.  I think if one just got over themselves and jumped right in and had an optimistic outlook, then they could find it enjoyable as well 😛

Anyway.. So, the hot spring wasn’t super hot but it was in comparison to the cold water that we originally jumped into.  Once we got further into the hot spring, the ground became red mud and it felt really cool to rub it on my skin (yes, I’m crazy).  The hot spring is 33 degrees Celsius, which is equivalent to about 91 degrees Fahrenheit.

As if the initial tour, cable car ride down the cliff, hiking on an active volcano, and then swimming in a hot spring in the middle of the Aegean Sea in one of the most beautiful places on Earth weren’t enough, we finished things by riding a donkey back up the same cliff that we took the cable car down.  I’ll keep it short:  I wouldn’t ride a donkey up the cliff at Santorini again!!!

Links:

Santorini Volcano

Santorini Hot Spring

Santorini Wikipedia

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