Saturday, October 27, 2012

Santorini ~ Fira ~ Greece

Greece has always been a place we wanted to see but that was as far as it went until summer of 2011.  We’d not had any other place in mind other than Athens until the planning stages had begun, we had friends visit and enjoy Santorini so decided we would add that to the visit.  In October we arrived in Santorini and loved every moment we were there.

We fly into Santorini from Athens and see the blue sky meets the blue water and islands dot the sea
Islands of the Cyclades in the Aegean  Sea
The island of Santorini, known officially as Thira is one of hundreds of islands that make up the country of Greece in the Aegean Sea and is also the southern most island of the Cyclades.  It is a major tourist destination and is easily accessible by most modes of travel.  We flew in on a lovely warm and sunny day and were greeted by the host of our hotel, making our arrival to this wonderful place so easy.
We can see the epicentre of the dormant volcano from Fira
View of the Caldera from Fira
Santorini, with a population of about 13,000, is home to what was said to be the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history.  The west coast overlooks the caldera, the epicenter of that eruption and offers some great views to enjoy. 
An old rowboat sits atop the roof overlooking the water
Santorini Caldera with  view of Thirasia in distance
The island had once been more of a circle shape but with the damage done by the eruptions, there is now a bay of water with the center of the dormant volcano sitting in the middle, a tourist attraction that I will share later.
All sizes of ship sit in the harbour below Fira in Santorini
Cruise ships fill the Santorini Bay
The cruise ships often fill the caldera, bringing thousands of people to visit for the day, but we always found a seat in our favorite restaurant to eat our lunch and enjoy the view. This is a busy location for visiting cruise ships but we did not find it to be a problem; this little town is very prepared to welcome all their visitors with ease.
We can see most of the caldera from our restaurant location
View of the caldera from the restaurant
There was a tram used for the ride to and from the port, unless one preferred to walk or take a donkey ride up.  The cables are for the tram, a very steep ride that was not the least bit tempting for me to use but the donkey ride looks like an experience one should try while in Greece!
A view of Fira, a town on Santorini island
Fira on island of Santorini
Fira is the main town in Santorini and is where we spent much of our time for our daily walks and just enjoying the sights of this little town. It sits on the steep lava cliffs and has more steps and stairs than we could count.  Once we are in the heart of the town, there are no cars or vehicles, only foot and donkey traffic.
We look up at the buildings that are built on the steep incline
Cliffside dwellings in Fira, Santorini
The slope of the cliffs is almost straight up and down in places but that did not prevent construction and this photo shows how steep the grade is but offers great views for everyone.  Many buildings are built into the rock so are a narrow width but deep in length.
Shops line the steps of Fira
Shops in Fira, Santorini
The many souvenier shops have much to offer for the visitors but they’re not out there trying to call you inside to do some shopping.  The restaurants seem to do a bit of this but for the most part it is done nicely and meant to welcome us in, which it does and the service is great. Most locals spoke English so we had no problems with the language.
The steps that lead up through Fira are numbered, showing #574 plus.
The steps of Fira, Santorini
This photo will give you an idea that there were hundreds of steps just on this one ascent/descent, but there were stairs all over the town.  It would be enough daily exercise just to go out and do one’s shopping business for the day with all those stairs to climb. 
different kinds of doors in Fira, Santorini
Doors of Santorini
There are homes and businesses lining the walks that we used.  The doorways that lead to the homes are made to offer privacy and is used rather than a gate to enter a courtyard. The threshold with a door leading to a business is usually open but it just seems strange to go through a door into open air rather than be inside a building.
The band leads the crowd down the street
Bagpipes and drummers lead the crowd
We heard the music before we saw there were men with a bagpipe and drums that were passing nearby.  The crowds were following them and it made it impossible to get a great picture but at least I was able to get the bagpipe, tucked under his arm.  As it turns out the bagpipe was first invented by the Greeks, not the Scots who have the ones we are more familiar with.
The donkeys are waiting till their turn to carry tourists up the steps
Donkeys line the steps in Fira, Santorini
It seems that it is only right to take a donkey ride while in Greece.  This is a popular event, if the number of donkeys seen is any indication.  They were everywhere there may be some tourists but seemed to be well cared for and even though the donkeys used the same walks through town that we used, there was rarely any mess seen. 
Blue gate and pots at the entrance of the cafe
Cafe entrance overlooking the caldera in Santorini
This tranquil sight is just one of so many in this town on Santorini.  We felt we’d gone back in time to a simple life, an era that was different before all the hustle and bustle that we know today.  The comforts were here but time seemed to have stood still in Santorini.  We were taking the time to enjoy the views, what a wonderful life we have! 


Related Posts with Thumbnails