Discovering the open road in Santorini

July 10, 2008

Our second full day on the island of Santorini and it stretches before us…what to do, what to do. We decide to rent a quad and explore this amazing island on our own.

After an unfortunate motorcycle incident in Calgary when Al peeled concrete off the road with his shoulder, I am hesitant to let him drive. But he reminds me that he took a quad course for work, so I concede. We head out, not sure where we are going and not really caring. The day is ours!

Just a few minutes into our ride, we are in the village of Pyrgos. Here we stumble upon the Santos Winery with its stepped terraces and incredible view of the caldera. We decide to do our own private wine tasting while we appreciate this tiny piece of heaven. Then it’s back on the quad.

We travel through another village called Messaria and ask for directions to a beach. Oddly enough, for an island that sits on a volcano’s edge, Santorini has beaches. And they are not your average beaches. There is the black sand beach, a red sand beach and a white sand beach. We make our way to Kamari, the black sand beach. The “sand” is zillions of tiny black stones and, baking under the Mediterranean sun, they are hot! Sandals are de rigueur. Closer to the water, where the stones are cooler, walking on them is like getting a natural foot massage. The water is actually very warm, probably heated by the black stones. And of course, it is aqua blue and crystal clear.

The sweltering midday sun is starting to take its toll. We are not used to this heat. So we decide to head back to the El Greco hotel for a swim in one of its three pools. Which one will it be? Decisions. Decisions. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Once refreshed, we are off again to see what we can find. We travel through Pyrgos once more, narrowly escaping the wrath of a stray dog, on the way to what we think is Megalochori. We end up on a winding road and soon realize we are climbing the side of the volcano. If not for the captivating view, I might be a little worried. Al takes the corners cautiously, knowing that at any second a car or bus could come around demanding to share the road with us. Eventually we make our way to the top where we find a military base. We don’t know how we ended up here, but the panoramic view is absolutely beautiful.

Going up means we must come down, and so we gradually make our way back down the volcano’s side. Hunger is setting in and we stop in Pyrgos for a bite. The little restaurant where we claim a table serves us one of the most delicious meals we have enjoyed in Greece to date. There is roasted eggplant with balsamic vinegar, feta cheese cooked with green peppers, lamb shanks with dill and lemon sauce, and a wonderful salad with hot peppers, capers, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers in a deep-fried bowl made of cheese. We refuse to leave a single bite.

It is getting late and we decide to bring the quad back before it gets dark. And so ends another day in Greece, and I have to say, this one tops them all.