Greece Day 10 – Day tour around Santorini

Booked this day tour for our last day. But first, donkeys! So hug-able no? 😀 ❤

Pretty sure by now everyone knows about the donkeys on Santorini. “Traditionally”, they are used as taxis to transport tourists up and down 500 steps from the old port to Fira. They’re often made to climb several times a day, without adequate water, rest, and shelter (or medical care when they get injured). This is abuse. Please please please don’t support this shit anymore. There is a cable car if you really really want to go down to the old port (what for I don’t know). Or you can stroll down and cable car up. There is no reason to ride these poor things. 😥

Alrighty. We got picked up in this nice small minivan, which got us really excited. Unfortunately, we were then dropped off some place later and asked to wait for the big tour bus. #CheatMyFeelings Our tourguide Tanya was really fun though. Best guide we’ve had this trip methinks. She also made me feel pretty confident about this tour because SHE WAS IN SLIPPERS TOO! Lol. 😀

Prophet Elias Monastery

Situated on the summit of Mount Profitis Ilias, Prophet Elias Monastery is one of the oldest churches on the island. The end. Lol. Sorry but monasteries totally bore me to tears by now. The view at the top was breathtaking though. Look at the blue blue sky! #NoFilter Just come here for the view lah. 😐

Megalochori Village

At the entrance, we came across these and our guide explained that they are actually grape vines! I’ve seen them throughout the trip and have wondered what they were. So apparently, the vines are trained into a Santorini “kouloura”, or wreath/basket. This is to protect the grapes from the strong winds, volcanic sand, scorching sun, and lack of water. They’re all empty cos harvesting season was just over. So interesting right?!

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Megalochori is one of the most picturesque villages on the island, almost abandoned after a major earthquake. Not sure why this is a tourist attraction though. We just walked through the narrow streets of the village from one end to the other. *shrugs*

Akrotiri

My favorite part of the tour! It’s optional so the 12€ (S$18.15) entrance fee was not included in the package.

The prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri is one of the most important sites in the Aegean. In prehistory it was a well-connected Minoan port town, with connections to mainland Greece and as far afield as Egypt and Syria. As the town was covered in ash following a volcanic eruption on the island, preservation of the settlement is exceptional, making this one of the most significant archaeological sites in Greece.

– www. archaeology-travel.com

Akrotiri is often referred to as the “Greek Pompeii”. I dug up my old post on visiting the Pompeii exhibition in Singapore. (You can’t really see the photos though, unfortunately. Stupid Photobucket.) We had another guide take us through this exhibition and while it was in quite a rush, it was really interesting to hear and see about the excavations. Much better than if we aimlessly walked around ourselves and read the information panels. Definitely recommend this with a guide!

Over all too soon. I love exhibitions like this. Now I wanna go Egypt to see mummies. Anybody want sponsor? 😛

Red Beach

From Akrotiri, we took a ~15-20 minutes “hike” to the Red Beach. Had to walk along the sandy and rocky beach/coast and then climb uphill the rocky slopes to see the beach. It’s apparently one of the most scenic and interesting beaches on the island.

Red Beach is without a doubt worth a visit considering that it is a rare sight, probably unique in the whole world, where red is the dominant color. It is enclosed by steep red hills that create a captivating, wild scenery.

However, officially, the Red Beach is classed as unsafe, as it is prone to landslides. Still we saw many many people there. Guess sunbathing was more important lol.

Black Beach

Headed for lunch at this tavern called Savvas Popeye. It faces the Perivolos Beach, or Black Beach. Was recommended the grilled squid by the guide, and the hub finally got to eat it. 😛 It was nice and not hard at all. Then I thought I’d order something light so I got the salmon salad. Nearly fainted when it came. IT WAS HUGE! Raw marinated salmon slices were pretty generous too. Overall very yummy lunch! I likey.

Went down to the beach while waiting for the bus. Just black sand, nothing special lol.

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Last stop of the day – wine tasting! We were given 3 types of wine to try, 2 whites and 1 red. Bought a small bottle of white back and my family liked it. Kinda regret not getting the bigger bottle. Apparently their wines cannot be found even in Athens Airport, so get it while you’re at the winery!

They have nice views too. 🙂

End of the tour! Going back the next day.

Greece Day 9 – Fira & Oia Castle

Breakfast is included and I looked forward to it for the next couple of days. It was simple, but all were stuff I liked! 😀

We had originally planned to do the 10.5km hike between Oia and Fira. However, I had underestimated my stamina to climb uphill so I decided that we take the bus to Imerovigli and then continue the hike from there, which is supposedly easier (downhill). The bus stop is at Oia Square, right in front of the tourist centre. We were lucky that there was no queue at all. The fare is a standard 1.80€ (S$2.70) and you pay on the bus.

Not sure if we’re on the hiking trail, but we just followed google maps lol. Most of the “trail” was indeed downhill and quite walk-able for me in slippers. I’ve seen people in skirts, slippers, sandals, dresses, and even heels, although many online guides do recommended to be properly dressed for the hike. You definitely need a hat and sunblock, cos although the temperature was about 24°c and the wind was cool, the sun made it pretty unbearable.

View was great though.

We reached the main Fira Square area and it was super duper crowded. The alleys were narrow and uphill. I didn’t get to pay attention to the shops since I was struggling with the slopes already lol. We passed the cable car queue and it was horrendous. Not sure what’s down there but nope, not queuing (at least) an hour for that.

Settled for lunch at a small restaurant with sea view. Tried the moussaka, which is a traditional Greek dish of sauteed eggplant. Struggled to finish it lol. Food wasn’t really nice, and they were freaking expensive. Guess we paid for the view again. *shrugs*

Sat there for quite a while before we decided to slowly make our way back to Oia. Managed to find the bus interchange but it was horrendous. It was like a bus depot with no proper indication which bus leaves next. People were just standing around and once the bus was announced, people flocked to the entrance and rushed to board. No queue at all. Also, try to get a seat because the roads are super winding. The ticket guy also squeezes through the crowd to get tickets from everyone. Quite a dumb system. -_- The journey between Fira and Oia is about 20 minutes.

Oia Castle

Made our way towards Oia Castle to catch the famed sunset. Can’t remember what time we reached but the crowd was terrible. Stood around for about 45 minutes I think? And right at the end this chao ah tiong pushed his way in and stood right in front of me, effectively blocking me from taking any photos. This is why I freaking hate these assholes. I try not to judge but time and time again they remind me they’re all assholes. Sheesh. And yeah, the ass heard me scolding him but thick-skinnedly continued standing there. Fuck you ah tiongs. Fuck you.

And there you go. Best I could manage with outstretched arms.

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Some more.

Was the view nice? Yep. But was it worth the hour-long stand and getting pissed off? Nope.

Dabao-ed chinese food for dinner. No photos but a tiny bowl of 炸酱面 was 8€ (S$12.10). Batshit crazy.

Greece Day 8 – Flying to Santorini

Breakfast was at the pasta cafe just opposite HHH. They have limited breakfast stuff and it’s mostly pastries, but they were so good! Missing my spinach pie now lol.

We originally planned for a ferry to Santorini but they depart too early, so we flew there and ferried back. Took the metro to the airport (another 10€, S$15.15 gone). And you might have seen the Instagram post of me complaining about this tiny box of sushi we had at the airport “foodcourt”. It was a freaking 15.80€. Which equates to S$23.85. I could have gotten a meal at Sushi Express. And SE would taste so much better. *slaps forehead*

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It was a short ~40 minutes flight to Santorini. Would definitely recommend flying cos it’s so hassle-free compared to the ferry. Tsk.

There are buses that run to the main town of Fira but as we were staying in Oia and had 2 huge luggage, we opted for cabs. The fixed “standard” price for a trip to Oia from the airport is 40€ (S$60.40). Crazy expensive lah! However, if you’re not in a hurry, there are actually shuttle services at the airport which costs 12€ (S$18.10) per pax to Oia. You need a minimum of 4 pax, so they’d ask you to wait at the side for everyone on the flight to come out and then see if there’s enough people. Oia and Fira are the main tourist areas so I believe it’s not hard to get 4 pax. *shrugs*

Our accommodation in Santorini was Aplai Dome. We got the maisonette which comes with the basic stuff like wifi, fridge etc. Although I much preferred the bathroom at HHH lol. The back door opens to the cafe/swimming pool area. They also have many lovely flowers planted all over. Pretty nice!

The main Oia Square and bus interchange is just a short walk away, although unfortunately it’s uphill so it was really really tiring for me to walk up there all the time. 🙄

Had some restaurant recommendations from the front desk so we walked around till dinnertime and settled for one of them – Oia Gefsis. It was fully booked so we had to have our dinner on one of those high bar tables. Although, according to our waiter, it was actually better since we had unblocked views of the setting sun. Very interesting to see the sun slowly setting and the colors changing. ❤

Food was really expensive though. Didn’t dare to order drinks even. The linguine looked really appetizing, but was unfortunately bland and tasteless. And sandy. My medium rare tuna fillet was very good! The baklava is a traditional Greek dessert made from made from pastry, nuts and honey/syrup. Very hard and sweet. Should have taken up our waiter’s recommendation of adding vanilla ice cream. 😐

I guess, we’re just paying for the view lol.