Ex­plore San­torini

Indonesia Expat - - CONTENTS -

Think it’s time for you to un­knot your stress tan­gles? Then, San­torini, an is­land in Greece, would be the per­fect place to sat­isfy your thirst for re­lax­ation! It is widely known for its ar­chi­tec­tural grand­ness and pu­rity of its nat­u­ral beauty. The sky is of­ten seen dis­play­ing a har­monised com­bi­na­tion of Per­sian, sap­phire and Bleu De France blue shades. It would have seemed that the sky was con­joined with the equally crys­tal clear sea if it wasn’t for the vol­canic rock be­low the wa­ter’s sur­face giv­ing it's dark shades. Vivid cerise and crim­son Bougainvil­lea flow­ers seems to be pleas­ant bombs, ex­plod­ing out from the win­dow of an oc­ca­sional house.

Even though San­torini might be rub­bing off the vibe that it is a huge place that needs weeks on end to get the plea­sure of a full ex­pe­ri­ence of the is­land, be­lieve it or not, a four-day trip is enough to ex­pe­ri­ence the main high­lights of the is­land.

You start the first day in Athens, the large cap­i­tal city in Greece. Then, find your way to San­torini, whether by ferry or by flight. Some peo­ple pre­fer the lat­ter as it only takes 30- 45 min­utes, but the price is steeper. Peo­ple who ride the ferry get to ad­mire the view and scenery but they would have to en­dure be­tween five and eight hours of travel time.

When you ar­rive, take a ve­hi­cle, prefer­ably a taxi, to Fira, the main town. Fira got its name from an al­ter­na­tive pro­nun­ci­a­tion of Thíra, an an­cient name of the is­land. It is a city filled with white-washed houses built on the edge of a high caldera. Two

quite pop­u­lar mu­se­ums of in­ter­est there are the Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Mu­seum of Thera

– a mu­seum that houses pre­cious ar­ti­facts in­clud­ing Proto- Cy­cladic mar­ble fig­urines of the third mil­len­nium BC – and the other is one that houses an­tiques that cover the is­land’s his­tory, start­ing from the Late Ne­olithic pe­riod to the Late Cy­cladic I pe­riod; namely, The Mu­seum of Pre­his­toric Thera. The town also has a num­ber of churches, in­clud­ing the im­pres­sive Cathe­dral of Ypa­panti and the well-known, much-pho­tographed blue-domed church, the Three Bells of Fira. From Fira, you can get a panoramic view of the 11-mile­long caldera from South­ern Caoe Akrotiri to North­ern Cape Ag. Niko­laos and the vol­canic is­land, Nea Ka­meni, in the cen­tre along with Thi­ras­sia Is­land. It is com­mon for large cruise ships to be seen anchoring in the small har­bour be­tween Nea Ka­meni and Fira.

Ac­cess to Fira can be granted mainly by roads on its eastern side, climb­ing from its port through the Z-shaped foot­path on foot or on don­keys, or rid­ing a steep cable car from its lower ter­mi­nal by the port.

There is also a bus and taxi sta­tion, along with banks and phar­ma­cies, in the beau­ti­ful city’s cen­tral square, also known as Plateia Theotokopoulou.

Af­ter strolling around the town, you can end the day with watch­ing the sun­set. Yes, it is very crowded. Yes, you might not have the place all to your­self. How­ever, the sun­set is too beau­ti­ful to miss. The glow­ing ball of light slowly de­scend­ing, at first seem­ingly to be a dis­tinct colour con­trast to the clear sky, but turn­ing out to be per­fectly har­monised

at the end – it’s one of na­ture’s beau­ties that is re­ally worth shar­ing. De­pend­ing on one’s mood, it can be sim­ply some­thing to ad­mire, some­thing to share with a loved one or some­thing to re­lax your soul. It is truly a mo­ment worth your smile.

On the sec­ond day, take a lo­cal bus with the price range be­tween 1.80 to 2.40 euro to Oia. Oia is a small vil­lage. It was also pre­vi­ously known as “Apano Me­ria”, mean­ing ‘up­per side’, a name that is still lo­cally known as “Pano Me­ria”, where its cit­i­zens are called Apanomer­i­ties. An­cient Greek Oia was one of the two har­bours of an­cient Thera and was pre­vi­ously lo­cated south­east of the is­land. This vil­lage pros­pered in the late 19th and early 20th cen­turies. Eco­nomic wise, it was vis­ited by mer­chant fleet that plied their trade in the eastern Mediter­ranean, es­pe­cially from Alexan­dria to Rus­sia. It is here where you can find the fa­mous blue domes of San­torini!

There are two im­pres­sively built man­sions ini­tially in­hab­ited by sea cap­tains in Oia. One of them is a two-storey Vene­tian Re­nais­sance in­spired 1864 man­sion orig­i­nally built on the caldera by the Sigouras Sar­ris fam­ily with a panoramic view pre­vi­ously only a sea cap­tain could se­lect, but in 2002, it was trans­formed to a pri­vate lux­ury ho­tel, namely “1864 The Sea Cap­tain’s House & Spa”. The orig­i­nal char­ac­ter­is­tics that made these two houses stand out were main­tained, re­sult­ing in the guests each feel­ing as if they were the cap­tain of the house. The other one that can be found on the main vil­lage path­way was re­con­structed in 1986 to a restau­rant called

You will for­ever miss the beau­ti­ful San­torini sun­sets, the beau­ti­ful white­washed houses with blue win­dow frames, the fa­mous blue domes and the de­li­cious Greek cui­sine.”

“Oia 1800”. Although each house has its own unique traits that dif­fer­en­ti­ates it from the other, they share a sim­i­lar­ity in their dis­tinct high vaulted ceil­ings, im­ported wood planked floors, ex­te­ri­ors of beau­ti­ful hand carved vol­canic stone com­bined with mar­ble, flat ter­raced rooftops on the arched roofs of the cave homes – and one im­por­tant de­tail- they are all al­ways in the best lo­ca­tions.

Pleased af­ter a whole day of sight-see­ing? End it with a re­fresh­ing view of the sun set­ting! Mind you, it will be very crowded – a jum­ble of hus­tling and bustling of peo­ple, all want­ing to be al­lowed the chance to wit­ness the won­der of Oia's world fa­mous sun­set. It is ad­vis­able to come hours ear­lier so that you can book a com­fort­able spot from which to wit­ness the sun­set. Re­mem­ber to come equipped with wa­ter and snacks!

When it gets dark, pro­ceed to din­ner.

With 26 eu­ros, you can sat­isfy your­self with Greek cof­fee, grilled fish and veg­eta­bles. If you feel par­tic­u­larly home­sick, miss­ing your loved ones, or sim­ply the ro­man­tic fancy seiz­ing you – with just

1.50 eu­ros, you can pur­chase a post­card and send it at the lo­cal post of­fice.

Got enough beauty sleep al­ready? Well, it’s day three – time to go back to Fira! Not ex­actly in the cen­tre of it, but more like on the out­skirts. Although it might be a tad more costly than the places you pre­vi­ously stayed in dur­ing the trip, Al­temar Suites can be booked through the book­ing site Agoda and is to­tally worth its cost. It is a spa­cious area con­sist­ing of a num­ber of com­fort­able suites lo­cated just a few steps from Fira and in the lovely vil­lage, Firoste­fani. Each suite presents to you a pri­vate ve­randa with a jacuzzi and won­der­ful scenery of the sea. You would be in a state of pure re­lax­ation, your suite’s premise be­ing the per­fect fi­nal touch to your over­all qual­ity hol­i­day time. It dis­plays tra­di­tional ar­chi­tec­tural in­tel­li­gence of San­torini, but is also fur­nished with mod­ern touches and ameni­ties.

Won­der­ing where you should go to eat din­ner – to find a meal that would be the per­fect miss­ing piece to com­plete the over­all won­der­ful time you just had? No prob­lem – just go to the Salt and Pep­per restau­rant! It is just eight miles away from fa­mous recog­nis­able land­marks, the Cathe­dral of Saint John the Bap­tist, Me­garo Gyzi Mu­seum, and the Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal Mu­seum Fira. This restau­rant serves seafood, Mediter­ranean and Greek dishes, and also

both ve­gan and gluten free meals. With just 25 eu­ros, you can get an ab­so­lutely fill­ing meal con­sist­ing of grilled cala­mari, veg­eta­bles and even a free dessert! No won­der, with such a great se­lec­tion of food, com­fort­able en­vi­ron­ment and amaz­ing host, it is of­ten re­ferred to as ‘a fan­tas­tic din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence truly worth try­ing’.

The restau­rant is highly rec­om­mended by TripAd­vi­sor. Don't for­get to catch the sun­set in Fira and walk around the shops for some night shop­ping!

The next day, take a lo­cal bus for 1.80 eu­ros and pro­ceed to the truly unique Ka­mari Beach. Lo­cated ten km in South­east Fira, the is­land’s cap­i­tal, this beach shares quite a few traits of the scenery of Perissa.

Un­like other pearly white beaches, Ka­mari beach has a blan­ket of black sand on it while on its left side, there is a gi­gan­tic rock with the name Mesa Vouno that rose from the sea. This beach al­ways at­tracts large groups of peo­ple like tourists – even at night – be­cause of just how unique and at­trac­tive it is! At night, when the moon­light streams de­scend upon the land, the rock re­flects the light, mak­ing an il­lu­sion of a glow. Not only that, Ka­mari beach is very or­gan­ised and of­fers a full, wide range of fa­cil­i­ties like um­brel­las, sun beds and var­i­ous types of wa­ter sports. Vis­i­tors can also take a nice stroll along the water­front. Shops and con­ve­nient stores are avail­able. There is also a div­ing cen­tre, and as for food, you can get a won­der­ful din­ner con­sist­ing of an ap­pe­tizer of fava beans and nan, a main dish of sea bass, rice and veg­eta­bles, and two so­das – all just for 32 Eu­ros!

Af­ter a whole day of chill­ing, re­lax­ing, every ad­jec­tive pos­si­ble that de­fines your cur­rent state of eupho­ria and calm, end the day, just like the pre­vi­ous won­der­ful days with a lovely mo­ment to en­joy the sun­set.

On the last day, wake up ear­lier than usual. Well, for the past days you have been ad­mir­ing the sun­set – why not mar­vel at the won­der of the sun ris­ing for a change? Might as well do it – it’s your last day here!

Pur­chase a few sou­venirs for your fam­ily and friends if you like in nearby shops, and when you are done, take one full last look at the place that just gave you an un­for­get­table mo­ment in your life- then board your plane and fly back home.

You will for­ever miss the beau­ti­ful San­torini sun­sets, the beau­ti­ful white­washed houses with blue win­dow frames, the fa­mous blue domes and the de­li­cious Greek cui­sine.

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