Saturday, July 04, 2009

greece: part 2 (still santorini)

so i realized that i forgot to tell you about our trip to athens - you know, where we boarded the boat that took us to santorini? we were supposed to spend a day traipsing around the capital, checking out the parthenon and all those other places we read about in our elementary school text books about the rise of civilization. well, civilization in the country has risen to such a height that it decided i was an undesirable and didn't want to let me enter the country. at the gate at the airport. with our luggage already on the plane.

okay, here's the real deal: in order to travel to certain countries in europe, you need a three-month clearance on your passport, before it expires (turkey requires six months, just in case you're thinking about going!). i had three months and two days before mine expired. we were due to be in greece for just over four days. this, it seems, was a problem. not for the person checking us in at easyjet - just for the gal at the gate. we begged and pleaded but to no avail. they summarily ignored us until everyone else had boarded and then we begged and pleaded that they get our suitcases off the plane before it took flight. that much we got.

luckily, the guy at the easyjet info desk was much nicer than the ladies at the gate and even luckier, our flight was at 6am, so we had plenty of time to get back into london city center and find the american embassy. i am going to tell you now that the american embassy in london is amazing and if you ever end up there, do not worry. you are in excellent hands. i didn't have an appointment, but since i was there when it opened i had an emergency six-month passport in my hands within an hour. and the people were so nice and understanding. i assumed i had a huge hassle on my hands, but no. london american embassy, you rock!

so, to make a long story short, nine hours later we were on a flight to athens and arrived late at night. early the next morning we got on the boat to santorini, and so. just santorini.

which was fine because it is so beautiful. it's not really a crazy beach island; there are a few black pebble and red sand beaches but they're so low-key and not at all party central. which was perfect for us.

Kamari Beach

we spent one afternoon swimming and sunning at kamari beach. then we decided to walk north towards fira and see if we could discover a few local wineries along the way. santorini is known for its sunsets and its white wines; the varietals are completely different from what you'd find stateside or in the rest of europe, and they are wonderfully crisp and light and in general not super-sweet, except for this special dessert wine called vinsanto which looks like a red but is actually made from white grapes, just aged in barrels for a very long time. yum!

for the most part vines are wound on volcanic soil into circles with the grapes growing in the middle, to help shade the fruit from the unrelenting sun. we learned this at the wine museum which was... well, take a look!

Santorini Wine Museum

the whole "museum" was comprised of super old-school animatronic scenes which cracked us up to no end. if you go to santorini, you must check it out!

lucky for us we also found a couple of real wineries as well as the wonderful art space, an art gallery in an old winery. with grapes growing on arbors.

Santorini Grapes

the next day we took a bus to perissa, the other main beach on the island, and hiked up to the ruins of ancient thera. the wind beat down on us as we wound our way up the mountain, but it was so worth the trip!

Ancient Thera

The Road To Ancient Thera

Ancient Thera

Ancient Thera height=

Ancient Thera

Ancient Thera

Ancient Thera

Ancient Thera

Ancient Thera

Ancient Thera

Ancient Thera

all in all, we adored santorini and felt that the four days we spent there was really the perfect amount of time to thoroughly explore this small island!

happy independence day to all you americans and i'll be back to post about bath and wales soon!


puffthemagicrabbit said...

Oh, that could have been such a nightmare- so glad it wasn't. That black sand on the beach looks so gorgeous- all the pictures look amazing. Don't know how you're going to top that...

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

We skipped Athens and went right to Santorini too and then on to Mykanos after that. Another time I would spend some time in Athens but only to see some of the major sights - my parents did not enjoy their time in Athens which they found crowded and noisy.

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