LAST DAY IN SANTORINI (AKA Thera, Calliste and Strongyle) – 13th September

Sitting under the arches of an outdoor sitting area, in comfy rounded wicker chairs by the pool. It’s about 3.30 pm and we are the last of our tour group, as the others flew out this morning.

We leave on the hydrofoil ferry at 7 pm. Luckily for us we had a whole extra day here. We took time to go back to Oia (pronounced ee-ah) which is where Atlantis Books is – and one of my important reasons for visiting Santorini. We visited Oia earlier this week to see the ‘best’ sunset. Like the ‘best’ sunset in Mykonos, in Fiji, Mauritius – add your ‘best’ sunset here! This was followed by dinner – and we’ve had some beautiful evenings for outdoor dining here – apparently it has been quite windy prior to our arrival. We found Atlantis Books then, but were with other people and couldn’t stop.

Was the picture in my head up to the reality? No! But that can happen. It was in a white and blue building – TICK. There were a lot of books – in several languages – TICK. There were book quotes painted on the walls and cute cat signs around and it was in the kind of disarray that made it hard to find things.

We thought it would be exciting talking to the shopkeepers. Unfortunately, they seemed jaded (two Italian girls). I don’t know if they would have been more animated if we were Italian – or if they hadn’t only just got out of bed.

They literally sleep in the shop! We gave them plenty of time to open up – didn’t arrive there until about 10.45 am, but although the fans were running and we could see the power light on the EFTPOS machine, it didn’t seem open.

Eric tried the door and a scantily clad (knickers and t-shirt) girl scooted across the window (he was a happy chap!) at his eye level (the entry is downstairs and he is 6ft +) and said they would open soon. He asked ‘before 12?’ and she said ‘oh, should be!’

We weren’t the only ones waiting and places don’t open early in Greece, but usually by 10 am.

In the shop you can see their beds above the books – one girl clambered back up to her ‘bedroom’ while we were there. AND the boss was still in bed – as we discovered in the philosophy and Greek section when a deep coughing noise emanated from the bed above our heads!

We did buy books – only two – Atlantis Never Lost and a biography of Leonardo da Vinci. Eric commandeered the Atlantis book (I had already started it!). Apparently, there is a theory that the ‘lost’ city of Atlantis is below Santorini – lost when the original island of Strongyle erupted in 1615 BC, creating Santorini.

We will get into Athens tonight (Friday) at about 1 am and fly out to Madrid on Saturday night at about 8 pm. We’ve booked one night there and thought perhaps we’d spend a couple of days before catching a train – but we are eager to get to Alora and settle into our Spain idyll.

So, this week in the Greek Islands of Mykonos and Santorini has been great (especially Santorini) but it has been very expensive. They are the two most expensive Greek Islands. The Trafalgar tour we were on covered accommodation and breakfast daily – one highlight dinner each in Mykonos and Santorini, a walking orientation tour in Athens and both islands and a lovely tour manager, Kerri, to guide us, give advice and coordinate the ‘optional’ excursions.

So, between eating (40 to 70 dollars each time) excursions and some shopping – our budget is blown (ha ha). We’ll have to get supplies and hunker down in Alora for a week or so, to get back on track.

Won’t be hard – we are looking forward to ‘not’ sightseeing and not running to a schedule!  Yamas! 🙂Image

OMG! Athens!!!!

Hey everyone! A quick one ….

Made it safely into Athens – and so far we are having a great time!

Trafalgar Tours sent a driver – and he was very friendly and articulate. Pointed out important areas of town, where the metro was and shopping. Spoke of the history and the economy. He was great!

Got to Zafolia Hotel and the staff were very welcoming and proactive – gave us maps and highlighted where we were in relation to city centre – and how to get to the metro (without us asking). I mentioned that I’d sent an email about the possibility of having dinner on the rooftop (roof pool garden) for my birthday, but hadn’t heard back. Instead of ignoring or deflecting – they asked us about that and called us in our room soon after to say they’d sorted it and it was good to go. The rooftop garden is open until late – but only for snacks and drinks, not dinner. So they’ve put in great customer service effort so far.

We grabbed a late takeaway coffee from across the road (great coffee!!) and  touched based with reception about the internet – then he wrote down for us Greek for ‘thank you’ ‘good morning’ and ‘good night’ – because it’s all Greek to us!!! 😀

Also, our lovely friend Rachel in the UK organised for a birthday card and prezzie to be at the hotel when we arrived – so lovely of her! xxxx

We have the whole of tomorrow (Thursday) to wander around ourselves before we join the Trafalgar Tour tomorrow night. We’ve planned shopping and maybe a pedicure/manicure for me!!! I’m wearing sandals a lot – and my feet look like shit!! 🙂

We’ve just got to check what our Athens day with the tour looks like and we’ll then go see stuff we aren’t covering with them.

I’m attaching some photos now! I’m sorry I don’t take a good photo – enjoy!!!

Kalinixta (good night)! xxxx