Monday, November 12, 2012

Fira Old Port

Whether you are going to take a boat cruise around the Volcano or a view of the Oia sunset from a ship you'll need to get to the Old Port of Fira.  You can get down there three ways.  The easiest and non-smelly way is to take the cable car; a one way ticket costs 4 euros per person.  You may also take a donkey ride down the 5 or 600 steps down.  These are rather large steps covered in donkey excrement, yuck, talk about smelly.  The last way is to actually walk these steps...  If you choose to walk I recommend you use shoes that you plan to throw away.  The smell afterwards doesn't ever really leave your shoes.  Interestingly I learned that people that work at the shops at the Old Port take the cable car everyday.  They get a reduced rate but must purchase a pass for an extended period of time making it not worthwhile for tourists.

 Entrance to the cable car

 The Old Port of Fira.

 My arch-nemesis of Santorini: The Donkeys.... laying booby traps for me on every step!

 Old Port from the Cable car.


 The donkeys bringing tired tourists back to Fira.

Cable car station at the bottom.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Fira is the main city on Santorini.  Simliar to Oia, the city itself is a maze of white washed tourist trap shops.  Wander through the throngs of tourists, dodge the ATVs while crossing the street and scurry past shop keepers and their cries of "Where are you from?"  There are restaurants everywhere, a breath taking view of the volcano, travel agencies and souvenir shops at every corner.  When you're ready to see the volcano take the cable car or a donkey ride down the cliff to the old port and join one of the many tour boats available.

I regret that after reviewing my pictures I did not take any that show the chaos of Fira, or the mazes of shops.  So the following will have to do.

 A view of the volcano from Fira.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fira Map

A map of Fira, Santorini.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

My Santorini Hotel

We stayed at a family run hotel called Angel Cave Homes that was once a cave home.

They left us some home made wine.

Nice place to sleep.

This was the view of the town and part of the caldera.

Same view at dusk.

Another view from my room.

The grandmother that lived there made us breakfast everyday.  Yum!  Greek yogurt and honey (of course), OJ, coffee, tea.  The bread thingy with tomatos and cheese on top is called dakos and it was good!

Ham and cheese sandwiches for breakfast along with greek yogurt and honey.  OJ, coffee and tea.

Ham and cheese sandwich breakfast up close.

Friday, October 19, 2012


Oia, known for its magical sunset is where I stayed in Santorini.  The town itself was a lot smaller than I imagined.  Think small town, small and of course white washed buildings.  Santorini hasn't been a secret for years and because of this the entire town is pretty much a tourist trap.  Still, tons of tourists still come for the picturesque buildings, windmills and a sunset so amazing people clap for it.

White washed buildings of Oia

The Old Castle at Oia, the BEST place to get pictures of the sunset.

The Old Castle in Oia is without a doubt the best place to get pictures of the sunset.  You'll need to get here early because it gets very crowded by dusk.  Come sunset every inch of the castle is covered in tourists and across the way hoards of tourists who have made reservations overflow the nearby cafes for a view.  Some people even stand on the rooftop for the sunset.  And yes, it's all for the sunset shown in the picture at the top of this entry.  When the sunset is over people start clapping.  Yes, that's either a bit cheesy or the sunset is that amazing -- I'll let you be the judge of that yourself.

The Old Castle offers an amazing view of the sun setting into the ocean and the picturesque white washed buildings and windmills along the cliff's edge.

Hoards of tourists line the Old Castle, cafes, balconies and roof tops for the legendary Oia sunset.

Tourists clap for the sunset in Oia, Santorini.

You can also take the steps by the Old Castle down to the bottom.  There area few restaurants there, but the main ones were Sunset and Katina.  They are largely the same though sunset has a slightly better sunset.  I went to Katina (on the recommendation of my hotel) and cannot give them my recommendation.  The food is insanely overpriced, we're talking like over $100 for fish.  I'm sorry but that is completely unreasonable.  To make things worse not only is the food overpriced but extremely mediocre; there's nothing special about the food from appetizers, main courses, and dessert.  Case in point the baklava we had for dessert was soggy and so sugary it burned your throat going down.  To an ignorant tourist it would seem fine, but we had done our homework and so we knew it was crap being passed off to people that didn't know any better.  I looked at the Sunset menu afterwards and the prices and items on the menu were basically identical; though I didn't eat there I suspect it to be the same as Katina quality-wise.

Walk down (and back up when you're done) these steps to get to the bottom.  There are two restaurants and a small "beach" there.  Beware the donkeys and what they leave behind on the way down.

The restaurants at the bottom of the steps.

 Oia at the top, restaurants at the bottom.

 Sunset from Katina.

The blue domes of Oia, classic blue and white.

Nearly all of Oia is a tourist trap and while that can work your nerves a bit the stunning backdrop will leave you with pictures and memories for a lifetime.  Oia can easily be seen in a day.  Get there early to avoid the blistering afternoon sun.  Explore, get lost amongst white-washed steps and take pictures galore.  Eat off the main walk way if you want to save a little and rest the afternoon away in a cafe.  Before dusk work your way to the Old Castle for a spot for the sunset and see what all the fuss is about. Don't forget to eat some of those famous Santorini Tomatoes and Eggplant while you're at it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Santorini, a Greek island made from the remains of a still active volcano, cliff side white washed towns, a gorgeous caldera view, stunning blue waters, black sand beaches and lovable donkeys... that is what I think one conjures up when one thinks of Santorini.  And so to Santorini I went...
A view of Oia, Santorini.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Trip Idea: Underwater Ruins of Yonaguni

This is a future trip idea.  There are some mysterious underwater ruins off an Island of Japan, 68 miles east of Taiwan.  They were discovered by accident as a scuba diver ditched his group and wandered off.  These ruins are about 8000 years old.  Some think it is the lost continent of Mu whiles others think it the result of geological forces.  Either way it looks amazing and one day I want to dive it.