Santorini – Day 4 – Top of the world ma!

We got up early today to walk up the mountain to Ancient Thira before it got too hot. The walk is steep and rocky, not for the faint of heart or weak of limb, but the first section is in the shade of the mountain. The shade makes the sweaty work slightly more bearable than the bit of the climb in the full glare of the sun, unfortunately this is only realised once you get out of the shade and each step seems to take twice the effort. Don’t try it in flip flops!

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The views are spectacular and the ruins once you pay a paltry 4 Euro entrance fee are pretty extensive and helped by information panels. It makes the climb seem worthwhile.

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There are donkeys available, but I completely disagree with the use of donkeys for this kind of work and I worry about how they are treated.

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There is a properly surfaced road down the other side of the mountain to Kamari. It zig zags down the mountain side like a particular awkward level of Colin McCrae’s Rally – lots of Norwegian turns required – but the tedium is tempered by the thought of having to go back the way we came.

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I did try to cut a corner at one point but the pumice scree was very loose underfoot – it was like trying to walk down a slope covered in peanuts – not a good idea.

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Kamari beach is covered in small dark pebbles which are bigger than the poppy seed particles at Perissa. The sun loungers are packed in tightly outside each of the many tavernas and bars along the sea front. The resort is quite stylish in places and looks very well maintained.

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We popped in to the Tavern by the Sea at the front of a hotel pool area on the trendy beach front for a drink and the use their facilities. Then we strolled down the long beach front which gets incrementally less classy as you get closer to the aircraft flight path.

For all it’s facilities and attractions, the drawback of Kamari is the noise from the busy airport and the low flying aircraft coming in to land. During our little jaunt out there must have been at least eight landings and about five take offs, all accompanied by the less than relaxing sound of engines at the extremes of usage.

To get away from the pricey front and to find what I deemed an authentic pork gyros vendor, we walked down what looked like the main road at right angles to the beach road. We found Grill House George 2 in a clutch of shops and cafes in a square which had a cinema nearby. The cinema was showing the new Transformers movie that might make more sense in Greek.

Pork gyros pitta for me and feta cheese pie with honey for Siggy. Although she was expecting cheese balls – perhaps a bad translation on the menu. She managed about two thirds of it and I ate the rest, once I had finished my excellent pork gyros in a pitta. It was a proper spongy pitta not like the dried out husks you get in England and overall very satisfying.

We then went and sat on a convenient bench in the shade on the promenade and waited for the water taxi back to Perissa to return – having just seen it depart. While we were waiting I made a swift visit to a taverna toilet but the least said about that part of the experience the better; perhaps something I ate at breakfast, moving swiftly on…

The water taxi runs every 40 minutes for 5 Euro one way. You have to wade a little in the sea and climb up a metal ladder on the side of the boat – it’s made less slippy by the use of twisted rope around the rungs and I’m sure the wiry seamen would give you a hand if you were struggling.

The vibration of the engine and the motion of the ocean were making my sun glasses slip down my nose. There wasn’t a great deal to see and the journey only takes about twenty minutes of rocking and rolling.

There was a posh yacht anchored offshore with a water slide down the side of it. How the other half live. Or is it just the top 1% who hold 99% of the wealth these days?

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We had a couple of ice creams – more variations on Snickers and Twix – to celebrate not falling down the mountain or drowning in the sea. Then it was a quick freshen up and onto the beach for a few hours of relaxation. The only irritation today was being buzzed by a drone a couple of times. Maybe we’re stars on a dodgy website somewhere although who’d want to see my man boobs is a mystery.

We visited Restaurant Pergola very close to our hotel for dinner. Tomato balls, Greek salad and Pergola salad. The balls were just the same as previously, but with a nice cool and fresh tzatziki and lots of chopped parsley which reminded me of my Nan who used to grow it along with lots of other things in her garden in North Wales.

The Pergola salad had a good dressing made with balsamic vinegar, large shavings of Parmesan, raisins and lumps of chicken. Siggy’s salad was also a good size and had a good ratio of tomatoes versus cucumber. I got the capers and olives added to my salad, and Siggy wasn’t overly impressed by the amount of feta. We got a little chunk of orange cake gratis with the bill which was a nice touch and we were pretty impressed over all.

Something I haven’t mentioned yet is the fun train – a road train that runs along the beach road to and from Perivolos. I’d be embarrassed to travel on it and it doesn’t look like much fun. The driver looks really grumpy.

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Bugwatch update: Although there’s plenty of other bugs, in comparison to Kos there does seem to be a lack of mosquitoes so far.

We walked down to the arse end of town and then up Main Street and to Dorians Pub for more of the cheapest cocktails in town (Siggy had a Brown Cow which is as close as you can get to a White Russian without vodka and I just had a large beer for 2 Euro). We were visited by a funny old man with a little hat, a V Valdez soccer shirt and an accordion, and witnessed another argument – this time over a parked bike and a ‘no parking’ sign.

Then an overly sincere squinting head shaking patronising girl who lives with her artist boyfriend in Vietnam and works two 5 hour days a week arrived to talk at her two bored friends who looked like a couple who’d rather be off fucking each other somewhere. The bloke said ‘that’s amazing’ and I just thought ‘that’s fucking lazy’. But apparently it pays her rent for the whole week. After a year she’s going to Norway and she’s in for a hell of a shock – it’s at totally the other end of the spectrum when it comes to living costs. Actually considering how pretentious she sounds she’ll probably fit right in. As long as she can find a shop that sells her Marlboro menthols.

Then we walked up Main Street to check out the other tavernas along what probably used to be the centre of tourism before the big hotels opened on the beach road. There’s a few reasonably priced places up there that we might check out. We walked down a side road flanked by fields to get back on the beach front and then found a beach bar that does cocktails called Sellada Beach Snack Bar. I had an Almond Joy – ameretto and pina colada mix – and Siggy had banana colada. I didn’t think either drink was up to much and we called it a night – it’s been a long day. However we probably will go back there because they sell a beer called Fix which I want to try.

Update – we didn’t go back because I though the waitress was a bit sarcastic when I ordered a cocktail. I had a can of Fix from the shop on the way home on Day 5. It wasn’t up to much – as the barman at Sellada said when asked by Siggy how it compared to Mythos or Alfa – ‘it tastes different’. He wasn’t really selling it. The local Donkey brews and Volkan beers were a lot more interesting – and will be talked about in later posts.

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