|Santorini it is one pretty fantastic spot. Yes it's expensive, yes it's crowded, but it's also one of the most stunning locations I've ever been. The island is made up of the caldera of a volcano that blew it's top 3600 year ago. It was one of the largest volcanic eruptions in history, which also destroyed the Minoan civilization. There are very steep cliffs on the caldera side, which is where Fira, the largest town sits. My hotel, the Scirocco Apartments, is in a prime location, right on the edge of the caldera with 360 views. All these views mean lot's of steps. If you don't like stairs, this place will be tough for you, but It's pretty amazing as you can tell from the pictures.
I spent my first day exploring the town, which is made up of hotels, restaurants and shops selling tourist crap, clothes and jewelry. It can be mobbed with people during the day when the cruise ships dock, but more peaceful at night. Yesterday I just hung out at my hotel, swimming in the pool, reading and relaxing all day long. In the late afternoon I took a bus about 20 min. north, to the town of Oia (pr. ee-ya). It's the town you have probably seen photos of. Pretty white buildings with blue domes overlooking the sea. It's perfectly situated for sunsets and people flock there every afternoon to jockey for the best spot to snap a photo.
Today I took a bus to the southeast part of the island, to a town called Kalmera, which is famous for it's black sand beaches. They are really more like black pebble beaches, but it was still nice, and the water was perfect. I met some nice Swedish girls, who were kind enough to put sunscreen on my back for me so I wouldn't fry to a crisp. So far I've managed to avoid getting burned.
Several people have asked me about the food. I'll try and remember to take some photos before devouring it. I love the food here and most of it is pretty healthy. I've been eating lot's of gyro sandwiches. Beef, chicken, falafel or kafta (ground lamb & spices), which is my favorite. They are stuffed with your choice of meat, tomatoes, onions and french fries, wrapped in pita bread and topped with a dollop of yogurt. I wonder if I'll ever get sick of them. Cheap and very tasty. I eat these for lunch everyday. I've also been eating a lot of Greek salads, the tomatoes and cucumbers here are amazing. So much more flavor than what we have at home. And the feta, man is it good. The yogurt is also amazing here, thick and creamy.. They eat it plain with honey, I think it's the best yogurt I've ever had. For dinner I usually eat souvalaki, kafta kebab or moussaka. I also have at least one granita everyday. Usually lemon, but my favorite is called "fredocino" - coffee, milk, sugar and sometimes chocolate. Like a coffee slurpee. We used to have these in Seattle about 20 years ago, but they have all but disappeared. Many a time I drove up to Cafe Paradiso on Capitol Hill just to get one of these tasty treats. Here they have them at almost every gelato stand.