Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Scooters & Santorini

We felt very lucky to spend our one month wedding anniversary in Santorini. To celebrate, we rented a scooter so we could explore the island. Donning my red helmet, I wrapped my arms around Yuriy, held on tight, and enjoyed the breeze and views. We drove from the capital city of Fira (where we were staying overnight) to the other bigger towns on the island, including Kamari and Oia. The landscape is bare, except for wild clumps of cacti and occasional olive trees. Santorini is one of only two hot desert climates in all of Europe. All over the island, churches are easy to spot with their bright blue dome roofs. We stopped at a small bakery for baklava and chocolate, then headed up to check out the highest point of the island, a lone mountain in the middle of the desert. One side of the island’s coast is full of steep rocky cliffs, and the other side is lined with red, white, and black beaches (the colors are attributed to the volcanic activity). The towns around the beaches were utterly deserted since the busy summer season has long passed by this point. Outdoor tables and chairs were stacked, windows and light fixtures wrapped in plastic. Sand has covered the patios and won't be swept until next spring. We took a break at Vlichada beach to sit on the rocks by the marina and walk along the black sandy shore. Yuriy made me try driving the scooter with him in the back, and I'm glad he did, because it was unbelievably fun. The little sucker went up to 70kph (although I stuck around 30). 

The last stop on our scooter was Oia, the most beautiful town and best spot on the island for sunsets. The town is situated on the northern tip of the island. The houses and shops hug the edges of the cliffs, as if to get as close to the water as possible without falling off. We sat on a ledge and watched the white buildings turn golden from the setting sun. We certainly were not alone; Oia sunsets are no secret. Regardless, I still felt at peace.

- Julia

Next up: Rhodes, Greece