Part 7 – Santorini (and return back home)
Entering the caldera of Santorini on board a ferry is always special. The steep caldera side, rimmed with the white villages on top – the blue sea and sky, and the dramatic colours in the caldera side – telling the tale of what once happened here…. some 3.500 years ago…. We dock, and all the travellers hurry ashore – it looks like being the first is what counts for most. Again a big number of hotel owners at the exit – running after people, yelling, poking. I decide to play it slow, and head for one of the tavernas in the port to have some refreshment and a light (and late) lunch.
I find a free table in the shades next to the entrance, and enjoy my snack for lunch. Then I lit a cigarette. Next to me is an American couple, and the wife doesn’t stop talking and comments are given to all and everything. I had longed for some quiet moments, but she just goes on – loudly, heard by all. When I light my cigarette she exclaims: You are not going to smoke that one, are you ?!!!! Then she turns to her husband and is complaining about someone being insolent and start smoking by the table next to hers. I gently talk to her and tell that she is now on another continent, in another country, they have got other laws than where she comes from and that I enjoy a cigarette after my meal – it is not forbidden, at least not when I am sitting in the open air. She looks unsympathetic at me, close her mouth and a little later they leave…. Peace !
When I look at my watch things are getting into a rush. I have to check in at my hotel, and I have to be in Oia by 7 pm. I get a taxi, and enter the reception. There is Yiannis behind the counter. He looks up, drops what he is doing and comes running – kisses and hugs on my cheeks. “Erik – you’re back !”. He then tells me that he had a fax from Naxos Sun Holidays telling that a VIP customer would arrive, but he never looked at anything else than the surname – and now he understands that the name says “Erik”. He has booked me into one of their very best rooms on the top floor, very long and steep stairs – and I ask him if he can change it. I tell him about my knee injury, and that walking stairs is about the most painful thing to do. He swiftly change rooms for me, and I am invited for a chat and some refreshments which I gratefully accept. We do some reminiscing, and then we start talking about Naxos. It turns out that one of my best friends (Kiriakos in the local products grocery shop) also is one of Yiannis’ best friends – the ties are knitted even tighter also for Melina Hotel.
This chat means I am even more delayed for the Oia event, but I get a taxi and gets to Oia on the minute it all is about to start. I have studied the map provided by BrotherLeeLove (BLL) closely, and have found that the restaurant must be next to the stairs descending to Ammoudi. Thus I get off in the square, and start walking the alleyways. It is far from simple – the alleyways are packed with people from all over the world – probably looking for a good site for the sunset. I use a lot of time searching – the upper street, the lower street – no signs of any restaurant. I take some photos while walking along and ask some people about directions, but there are no locals. Then I get a text from CameraGirl – Where are you ? I try to explain, and is asked to return to the square in front of the big church. There are no restaurants there…. More texting, and I am asked to follow the marble alleyway to the east as far as it goes, then I will find a big church and the restaurant is on the opposite side of the road…..
Eventually I make it, and am greeted by all. BLL tells me we are next to the stairs descending for the other “beach” in Oia, and if I had asked for the restaurant to the taxi driver he would surely have known. A lesson learned and some good exercise done in the narrow streets of Oia. There are many different persons at the meeting (or the dinner, I should say). A newly wed American couple – heading for Naxos the next day and eager to hike Mount Zas during their two days on Naxos – other experienced travellers, a reunion with CameraGirl and Kenzie, and it was also inspiring to meet BLL and Heimdall – well known from the forums. Heimdall is of Norwegian origin, and we end up with many subjects which are of special interest for him.
A breakup at appr. midnight, and CameraGirl and her daughter Kenzie, and I get a taxi back to Fira. Some emotional “until the next time”’s, and I decide to wind up the last night with some refreshments in Fira’s main square – people watching, and reflecting over yet another great Greek vacation.
Next day I have a nice breakfast, and then it is off to the airport. Return back home – but it won’t be long until the next time comes along. See you again in late September \ October !