Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Blissfully Lazy Day on Kamari Beach, Santorini

Monday, November 10, 2008
Santorini-Athens, Greece

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We had almost a half day to explore Santorini on our own before we boarded our ferry back to Pireaus Port. I would have loved to have visited "Ancient Thira" (as Santorini was once known), but the archeological site had closed for the season. I had no regrets, however, as we had already examined the lovely frescoes from Akroteri, the site that dates from 3,000 BC and has preserved wonderful Cretan frescoes on its walls. These have been excavated and are now preserved in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens where we had seen them.

Instead, we decided to take a bus to Kamari Beach and enjoy a quiet, uneventful day on the sands. Or so we wished! As it turned out, we had a nice little adventure en route. In attempting to hop into a bus, we had spent more than a half hour waiting and finally opted to hitchhike again. Only no one seemed to be going in the direction of Kamari. In frustration, we stood on the opposite side of the road intending to hitchhike back to Fira. We were luckier this time round, for a nice man stopped and took us in and just a few meters on the road to Fira, we saw the Fira-Kamari bus go sailing by. The driver was so amused, he laughed heartily at our dismay. Then, suddenly hit by a brainwave, he asked us if we still wanted to get to Kamari. If we can, we said. Well, let's try to follow that bus, he said, and catch up with it at a town ahead. So, before we could say "Aristotle Onassis", he U-turned his car around and began following the public bus! As expected, the bus soon arrived at the little town of Messaria, where a number of passengers waited in a queue to board it. This gave us a few seconds to thank him profusely, dash out of his car and hop into the bus. We laughed at our little adventure and settled down into our seats to arrive at Kamari Beach about ten minutes later.

Kamari Village seemed abandoned of all humanity when we arrived there. Not a human being was a sight though the local 'supermarket' was open. Equipping ourselves with freshly-baked spanakopita and chocolate croissants and chestnut yogurt, we walked along the silent streets towards the beach that beckoned insistently at the end of the road.

"Let's sit somewhere in the sun", Llew said, "and enjoy our meal".

"I'm heading towards the sun", I responded. "Let's eat our breakfast on the beach".

And that indeed was exactly what we did. Llew was stunned by his first sight of Kamari Beach which lay devoid of any human traffic. The sand was black--the famous volcanic black sand beach of Greece similar to the one we had seen on Hawaii's Big Island. I spied a small deserted boat on the water's edge and suggested to Llew that we should climb into it and enjoy our breakfast right in there, while gazing over the ocean. And that was exactly what we did! On our right, the volcanic cliffs loomed forbiddingly, their folds like giant elephant's legs. On our right, the land curved around charmingly and behind us lay the promenade with its low buildings. The color of the waters of the Aegean seemed particularly striking that morning as the sun gleamed upon its crystal-clear surface and gilded the waves. We stuck our fingers into the waves to test the temperature and found it to be deceptively welcoming. Truly, we could have stayed there all day, but after a couple of hours, when Llew had been a beach comber, literally combing the beach of its assorted litter and bagging it for the garbage bins, we decided to go and explore the village.

There were still few signs of life. Some fancy boutiques were open but nothing enticed us. We sat for a long while awaiting the arrival of the bus that eventually took us back to our villa at Karterados where we napped for a couple of hours, in keeping with the Mediterranean custom of taking leisurely siestas.

Then, it was time for us to board our ferry, The Blue Star Itaki and cruise on the ink-dark Aegean for the last time. At promptly 3. 30 pm, our ferry left Santorini offering us our last glimpses of its salmon-pink houses perched on charcoal-dark cliffs. Out on the deck, we took pictures of the swiftly slipping sights, then settled down inside to enjoy the long sail to Pireaus Port in Athens, where we arrived close to midnight.

Without any further delay, we boarded the last metro for the night that took us to Monastiraki, where we walked, with newly-gained assurance, to the souvlaki place called Thannasis, then carried our dinner back to Acropolis House which seemed like an old friend and made us feel as if we had arrived home.

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