There were three bakeries within 100 yards of each other in the small part of the town of Karterados where we happened to be staying and many others a little further away too. Perfect for those of us who have a sweet tooth but not so good if one has little willpower and had visions of watching my weight. Oh well, I guess I can ‘watch’ my weight at home!
We were heading to the New Port, as opposed to the Old Port where we had begun walking down the steps yesterday and had encountered the donkeys.
Five islands make up Santorini, an Italian name derived from St. Irena. Thira, the main island and the one everyone thinks of when you read about Santorini, was settled in the 8th century BC by Spartans and then by the Turks. In 1207 AD at the end of the fourth crusade, Thira was inhabited by Venetians who built six castles on it. Thira’s population is only about 14,000 people.
At 10:30, we boarded King Thiras, what Tanya described as a traditional boat. Our first stop would be in about an hour, she explained. I was amazed by her fluency with languages: she spoke Greek first and then repeated everything in English and then German with nary a pause in between jumping from one language to another. And, by the way, she was from Ukraine so no doubt spoke at least a smattering of Russian on top of Ukrainian too!
Thira's largest town, Fira, in the background:
Black lava rock cones: It was all so very stark, it was attractive in a unique way.
Approaching the islet of Nea Kameni famous for its National Geological Park:
Once we reached Nea Kameni, Tanya cautioned everyone to stay with the group as it was so easy to get lost on the big mountain hiking to the volcano. A super volcano doesn’t mean it’s huge but that the volcanic dust couldn’t penetrate the sun’s rays and that’s why the climate was affected.
Nea Kameni is 6,000 years old and the youngest independent Greek island, she said. There are more than 6,000 islands in the country but only 227 are officially inhabited. The Center of Seismology in Fira observes the volcano islands and doesn’t predict another volcanic eruption for several centuries. Tanya assured us that they are able to predict a volcano months ahead. We would be seeing steam and magma chambers but that didn’t mean we were in any danger.
When she dug down a few inches, I could already feel how very hot the earth was compared to what we were walking on.
The other 'Adventure Seekers' and I swam beyond this boat to the far end of the cove around the rocky area on the right you can see below. It was quite a distance. The smell of sulphur was pretty strong.
Once I was right in the cove, I was able to stand up in very soft black dirt that my feet just sank into. The swim back to the boat was harder as the current was stronger then and I was tireder then too!
I was glad to get back on board and warm up. Unfortunately, one man had dislocated his shoulder when he jumped in the water so the boat had to return to the port so he could seek medical attention.
Our next stop was Thirasia Island where we arrived at 2:15. There were a few small restaurants along the ‘beach.’ Steven described it more bluntly than I would as a dinky, nothing of a place with a very rocky shoreline. We had no clue why the boat decided to stop here for a couple of hours as there was no beach – it was like they had to waste a couple of hours somewhere and this was the only option.
There were a large number of domed structures that looked like bunkers.