After a day of hiking up and down and down and up, our calves were achy. So sore that we were both walking like primates, our knees, hips and ankles all bent to 45°. Its not an attractive look. Yoga seemed a great way try and ease the pain, so I spread out the mat in the churchyard of the little chapel that was in front of our room, and got busy sun saluting the Aegean seas at dawn, feeling very thankful to those Greek gods for having created such a unique place.
Being in all that pain from walking inspired more hiking. Crazy, but true. We’d loved the previous day’s walk so much, we decided to hike the down the cliff that was outside our front door to visit an isolated chapel that dangles there, just above the sea.
We then had a 40 minutes hike to Fira, the island’s capital and the departure point of our afternoon sailing trip. Before getting all the way to town I needed lunch. Mr French kept trying to encourage me on, but Madame was hungry. It was either feed her, or risk loosing his head. An elderly Greek lady, wearing all black and worrying away at her prayer beads saw me looking at a menu. “This place is good,” she noded, “very good.” Looking up, I realized it was a windmill. The design-y, trend-y interior didn’t inspire much confidence, but But Kiria (Greek for Madame) knew her stuff and the food was excellent.
Fira, like Oia, is on a cliff, with the habour below, and like Oia, donkeys are an option for getting down. But Mr French hadn’t changed his mind from the previous evening. It was not an option. There is also a cable car, but we were feeling adventurous. So we headed down, slipping on donkey crap, gagging from the stench and dodging the beasts as they charged us, under the blistering sun.
A stunning vessel, with a great crew, welcomed us below. We were soon aboard the Thalassa, a replice of a 19th century schooner that we shared with about 50 other tourists from across globe. It wasn’t a big group given the size of the boat and there was shade for everyone. First stop an active volcano and a one hour hike to feel the heat of its the rocks, smell its sulfur and learn its history. At this point my legs were, as the French say, gone (je n’ai plus de jambe).
Next stop a small bay with warm water springs and iron ore that stains your swimsuit red. We jumped from the ship directly into the sea. It was delicious after the heat of the day and exactly what the doctor ordered for my missing legs. We were soon back on board headed for Thirassia for another swim on the crystal clear waters. If I ever come back to Santorini, I’ll be visiting this island. NOTE TO SELF; If I ever return, spend a day here to photographing the local color and try a local tarverna.
A simple dinner was served, then as the sky turned to a golden amber, a sailor took out his saxophone and serenaded us into the sunset…