The thing about going somewhere you have built up in your imagination since you we six, is that your expectations may be completely inaccurate. I am not going to lie, I was nervous coming here. I was worried that I had unrealistic expectations that could only be quashed with a lesser reality.
We arrived on a cloudy afternoon, it was windy and not particularly spectacular in the weather department. Santorini airport is not exactly wonderful, and the fire department appeared to be on standby. I was getting excited but trying to keep my emotions in check. The island appeared a lot bigger than I had expected and the airport side of the island is really quite flat.
After a short taxi drive from the airport, we had arrived at our hotel, the Mill Houses. It took a little bit of detective work to find the entrance, but we got there. Our hotel, our room, the view is nothing short of incredible. Even in the less than favourable weather conditions, it was breathtaking. I believe the words that came out of my mouth were ”I could cry, I may cry. I am crying.”
I had not anticipated how windy it could be on an island of this size. The locals keep assuring us that the wind we experienced on the first two days was unusual, so we’re believing them in good faith that the wind will die down before we have to leave. I don’t know if I really know what a gale force wind is, but that is what Andrew was calling it.
I have come to realise that Thira is very old. I must admit, I hadn’t given it that much thought. I knew the volcano had erupted a really long time ago and that it caused a tsunami that had ultimately destroyed the Minoans on Crete, at one point, but I hadn’t thought about the inhabitants of Santorini. Andrew and I visited two sites, the Akrotiri Excavations and Ancient Thera. The excavations have only recently been reopened after a closure of approximately 6 years. They had excavated a bronze age site and unfortunately I don’t think we appreciated it as much as we should have. The site did not have any signage to really indicate what it was we were looking at, and the signs they did have, were difficult to follow; presumably because of the translation from Greek to English. Drew did his homework when we got back to our hotel and we could not believe our luck! Apparently this was the first evidence of the use of hot and cold water systems amongst other things and it is assumed that geothermal heat was used based on the proximity to the volcano.
We also visited Ancient Thera. We hired a car to drive up there, and we were very glad not to be there in the peak of the tourist season. The road is less than desirable if you ask me, but I am glad we made the trip. At the top the site is very much in tact. You can see much of what the ancient city was like, and it was incredible. The view from the top is spectacular, but the remains of the village, in my opinion, are just as wonderful. I cannot believe they are still preserved so well, and I cannot fathom how much work it would’ve been to found and construct a city at that height, so long ago. It is just amazing! If you get the chance to visit do so!
While the whole island is amazing, Oia and it’s sunset has to be my favourite thing about the island, and I am not alone. Crowds line the street at sunset in Oia and the coffee shops and bars on the Caldera are never short of customers, even in winds like we’ve had. I hope you like our photos. They do not even begin to capture how beautiful it is. I can’t help but feel very small, and feel that God is so very big when I see such natural and magnificent beauty.