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Day 20 - History be damned!


Location: Oia, Santorini

There is a paragraph that I use in my writing classes. It is about Greece. It talks about the country’s two big draws: the historical context and the R&R. We have definitely flipped to the latter. No more piles of broken rocks. No more mythology or religion or politics. No more museums. We have arrived on Santorini and will ride out the last four days simply enjoying the view, the sun, the food.

We managed to get to the Athens airport in more than enough time for our 1:20 flight. We did take the wrong road out of town, but thankfully the signs were on our side this time. We returned our car and checked our luggage with much less hassle and much quicker than we expected, and proceeded through security. David, who was by then in the full grips of a cold and therefore not quite on his game, had accidentally packed that hard-found, roadside-bought bottle of Neman wine in his carry-on. We can only hope the airport security people enjoy it with some nice cheese.

The plane was bigger than we expected (Airbus A320), and totally packed. The flight was short but beautiful: all those islands and all that blue, blue water.

We were a bit worried about how to get from the airport to Oia. There are four of us and, as was an issue with our rental car, quite a bit of luggage. We didn’t think a taxi could hold us, so we were looking at two bus rides (one to Thira and then another to Oia). However, we noticed that the cabs have roof racks, so we made arrangements with the first available driver, three what we could in his trunk, and he tied two bags to his roof with rope.

Good Lord! What an experience! I think it aged me more than a little. The driver had a hand held radio dispatch unit and an ancient flip-phone. He was yelling into one or both, in Greek, for the ENTIRE 30 minute ride. No exaggeration. What could be so important? He yelled up curvy mountain roads. He yelled doing lane changes on those roads. He yelled while tailgating semis, playing chicken with motorcycles, frightening people on ATVs, and zipping alongside tour buses. Most of the time, he was well over the speed limit and driving with no more than two fingers on the wheel (the others were full of devices).

We spilled out at the arranged place and had the arranged porters take us and our luggage to our Air BNB; the porters wee two super fit, super fast-moving young men who benchpress luggage for a living. As soon as they opened the door though, WOW! (See link above)

We are on the slightly quieter east side of town, right on the cauldera, in one of those “cave” homes carved out of the cliffside. All the rooms are in a separate ‘cave’ (bathroom, kitchen, bedrooms..) but the all open onto a central balcony that is visible (though you’d have to intentionally look for us) from the street up above. The rooms are very cool, both in terms of niftiness and temperature. It is a little weird to live in public; one has to get used to the possibility of a stranger seeing you as you walk from bedroom to bathroom, and when we go out, we have four doors to lock, but it is a fantastic experience. And, much to Athena’s delight, the patio is the adopted home to a mother cat with four growing kittens!

When we got here, we fell instantly into ‘lazy mode.’ There were naps and lounging on the patio and long showers and kitten watching and generally a lot of doing nothing. In fact, we didn’t leave the house until we went out for dinner. We (accidentally) went for an appetite-building hike through the nothing-but-fancy-cave-accommodation part of town until landing on a patio not unlike our own, for some great veggie moussaka and a lot of laughs.

Ah, Greece: Your dessert (relaxation) is as awesome as your main course (history).