Santorini, one of the Cycladic islands, is fabled for its beautiful sunsets and picturesque landscape. Some purport it to be the legendary site of Atlantis (in fact, the textbook I taught from this past year uses this hypothesis). To be frank, ladies and gentlemen, it merits all its fame.
We arrived at the port around 6:45 a.m. The pension Boris had booked had a free pickup service from the port, so we rode to our next temporary home with George, one of the owner’s (a taciturn Greek who had married a sweet, soft-spoken British woman and they ran the pension together in Karterados, more or less in the middle of the island), and a couple from Uruguay. Luggage deposited, we were informed that check-in wasn’t until noon. Five hours to kill on a collective three hours of sleep in an unknown town led us first to a bakery up the street to procure some sustenance.
The young woman working at the bakery was friendly, and we got what would become our “regular” breakfast for our stay in Santorini: Spanikopita for Boris, a raisin & cream pastry for me, and we would share a cherry juice (YUM! I didn’t enjoy cherries until I got to Europe! I’m a big fan now) and a plain Greek yogurt. We munched lazily in front of the bakery and then slowly trod on to explore Fira, the nearby big town. We ran a couple errands and found a nice place to sit, with shade, at the hospital or urgent care center or something of the sort. We weren’t the only ones lounging there, either. A triad of coeds were napping on the other side of the planter we were sitting on, so I felt less strange passing the time chatting and beginning a game of Scrabble on my Kindle with Boris in front of the medical center.
Our next stop to while away the hours was a small souvlaki place where we were the only customers. The old man running the place seemed to epitomize a Greek islander: older but very tan, fit, with a kind smile. Again, we sat, we ate, we continued our Scrabble game, which I was losing. A territorial kitty sunned itself beneath a blue chair across from us, and prevented a sweet puppy from getting too close. The owner fed the dog some scraps and it lounged nearby, never getting too close for fear of the cat.
Noon finally rolled around and we made it back to Karterados. Our room was SWEET! The villa itself looked like the movies—just as with the rest of the Greek isles, the blue paint contrasted with the whitewashed buildings was the norm—and there was a beautiful lower courtyard surrounded by bougainvillea. Our room overlooked the courtyard, and we even had a kitchen! The location was great, too, because Karterados was not as full of tourists as Fira and Perissa, so the restaurants nearby were genuine Greek tavernas full of genuine Greeks.
That afternoon we took the bus to Kamari Beach, a black sand beach about ten minutes away by bus. I had never been at a black sand beach, and to describe the “sand” more accurately it was very pebbly and a little uncomfortable to walk on. The water was refreshing, though, and the waves were rolling. Our game of Kindle Scrabble ended at Kamari Beach with a triumphant Button and a defeated Boris. We watched the sunset from a beach side restaurant and noted that two different couples had dined behind us and left; we concluded that we were doing proper European-style eating and finished off the meal with a delicious digestivo of, I think, vinsanto.