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Exploring Santorini by Boat
#Greece has been an #active bucket list for me for quite awhile. I was finally able to make that happen the summer after I taught English in Spain. We took the ferry over to Santorini, and explored the island. We had an amazing boat tour, rode donkeys (the preferred method of transport!), and saw the most wonderful sunset over the #islands.
With the white and blue painted buildings that are staggered beside the ocean and some of the most talked about sunsets in the world, it’s no surprise that Santorini falls on so many peoples bucket lists. In the summer of 2010, I had the opportunity to cross it off my list. After a summer of teaching English in Spain, I headed off to Greece where I’d spend two weeks traveling to Athens, Santorini and Rhodes—at 20 years old, what better way is there to spend your summer?
It was bright and early when my friend and I headed down to the port in Athens to catch our ferry that we booked through Greek Ferries to Santorini. The whole trip there by ferry would take about 7 hours, and of course we were exhausted from traveling and didn’t realize that our tickets didn’t even get us a seat on the boat. I guess this is what happens when you opt for the most inexpensive ticket. So I plopped my backpack down on the upper front deck and settled in for our boat ride on a beautiful sunny day.
When we arrived in Santorini, we headed to our hostel, which was Youth Hostel Anna and not a place I’d recommend. Instead, I’d opt for a place like Azul that is inexpensive and more centrally located and much nicer.
Our first night in Santorini was spent relaxing, exploring the island and getting ready for the jam-packed day that followed.
We woke up bright and early the next morning to head out to catch our boat tour for the day.
When we got down to where we were to board our boat, it seemed like organized chaos and we weren’t even sure if we were in the right place, but sure enough a Greek gentlemen escorted us to a boat that looked like a pirate ship and we set sail to explore Santorini by water.
Our first stop was the Nea Kameni Volcano, which last erupted in 1950—we opted to climb to the top but didn’t take into consideration how hot it was on an August day and how hot it is on a volcano. Despite the exhausting trek, we made it, and it was well worth it. I mean, how many times can you say you climbed a volcano in Greece?
Thankfully, after our grueling and hot walk up the volcano, we headed to the hot springs. Now I’m not the best swimmer in the world so I was shocked when they anchored the boat in what seemed like the middle of the ocean and told us we had to swim to a certain area within the rocks onshore to reach the hot springs. Despite thinking I may drown, I made it to the hot springs where we floated around in the warmth and covered ourselves in the mud that is supposed to be great for your skin.
Our next stop of the day was Therasia, an island in the volcanic island group of Santorini where we walked around and explored the cute local shops and ate some gyros for lunch (a great, cheap option) before we headed to Oia. Oia is the actual part of Santorini you see in the movies with the white and blue buildings. I had made the mistake of thinking all of Santorini looked like this and was surprised that only this one town really did. Getting from the water up to Oia was the best part of the entire day because we rode on the backs of donkeys and believe me, you don’t want to do the alternative of hiking up without the donkeys help.
We climbed on back of the donkeys and headed up the side of the mountain with the most stunning views. I couldn’t stop laughing at how ridiculous and fun it felt to be riding this unusual mode of transportation. When we arrived up top, we had a chance to explore Oia on our own and get lost amongst the white and blue before we grabbed a spot to catch the sunset before our departure back to our hostel.
I have never been somewhere quite as beautiful as Santorini, and when you’re short on time this tour is absolutely perfect for the adventurous type. I left feeling like I saw so much of the island in just one day and explored parts I didn’t even know had existed!