Everyone raves about Santorini. Now I know why. It’s truly a magical island with black, red and white sand beaches, deep blue water, soaring cliffs, picturesque villages, numerous vineyards, whitewashed domed homes clinging to mountainsides, interesting museums filled with ancient artifacts, and, of course, wonderful Greek food and charming people.
PERISSA BEACH, my destination on Santorini, sits on its southeastern shore. A CouchSurfer, whom I had contacted this past winter when he was in Thailand, had invited me to stay in his “hostel” for three nights on Perissa Beach. Hostel does not describe Anny Studios adequately. A more accurate would read: lovely studio apartment hotel with swimming pool, bar, lobby with big screen HD TV, and free washing machine. My 2nd floor room overlooking the pool featured a color TV, AC (not needed), bathroom with enclosed shower (unlike in SE Asia or India), small fridge, 2 burner electric stove, sink, dishes, cutlery and cooking equipment. My host, Vasilios, was among the kindest, most generous people I’ve ever met.
I walked along the four mile long volcanic black sand beach, sat on rocks to read as the sea swirled around me, dipped my feet into the ocean’s white foam, gazed at the towering rock cliff at the beach’s end, enjoyed the pinkish clouds at sunset, and stood awestruck on Sunday when the calm blue Aegean turned into a violent sea filled with huge, crashing waves.
(For Bernadette et al): I discovered a wonderful gyros/souvlaki place across from Perissa’s big white and blue Greek Orthodox Church. There I enjoyed chicken gyro (freshly grilled chicken, tomatoes, tzatziki sauce and
French fries wrapped in a big pita) three out of four days. On Sunday night, my original “last night” there, live music at a restaurant 20 yards from Anny Studios caught my attention. I abandoned my original idea of an inexpensive gyro dinner and went to Ntomatino Restaurant instead. What a great choice: 4 piece band, lots of Greeks and some tourists enjoying delicious food, groups of women (no men!) dancing to the Greek tunes, and plenty of drinking and frivolity at many of the co=ed tables. Oh yes, (Bernadette, pay attention please) I had a lovely dinner topped off by decadent chocolate lava cake and complimentary raki from the owner. I had hoped to order a stuffed white eggplant dish, a Santorini specialty that my Athens host Lena told me to try, but another table had just ordered the last one. 😦 The substituted grilled chicken in lemon sauce with rice made a fine replacement.
THE BIG STORM blew into Santorini late Saturday as I noticed when the loud wind woke me up in the middle of the night. The roiling sea looked nothing like it had during my first three days at Perissa Beach. Huge waves crashed against the shore. White spray shot up the cliff wall at the end of the beach. Palm trees swayed and rain fell, flooding the Beach Road and alleyways.
The weather didn’t look very promising for my scheduled midnight ferry departure from Santorini back to Athens. According to the internet, the ferry would arrive at 3:40 a.m. so at 3:15 a.m. a taxi picked me up at the hotel and we headed through the rain to the port. As it turned out the ferry was stuck in Crete and didn’t arrive in Santorini until midnight the following night, 24 hours late.
One might consider this BAD NEWS. However, for me it took top prize as GOOD NEWS. Why? Because it meant I could get a full refund on my overnight berth ticket to Athens and remain on Santorini for four more days. Previously I had tried to change my ticket and extend my stay on this magical island. However, I would have lost at least half of the ticket price. Thanks to the storm I paid for three additional nights at Anny Studios and booked a reserved seat (but not a bed) on the 3:30 p.m. ferry back to Athens on Thursday.
EDITOR’S NOTE: “Pollyanna” Paula, the perpetual optimist, failed to mention that spending from 3:30 a.m. until 10 a.m. in a café at the port Sunday night did not rank as one of her more pleasant travel experiences.
(MAGICAL SANTORINI #2 to come soon: Fira/Thira and Oia; also ATHENS)