Greece - Santorini

by Kimp 7. October 2012 04:24

Photo Blog

Santorini was the scene of the second most explosive and longest volcanic eruption since humans have inhabited Earth. It happened around 1600 B.C. and completely covered the city of Akrotiri. Akrotiri wasn't discovered until the 1960's. Its excavation started in 1967 and continues on today. When excavation started, it generated a lot of excitement because they quickly discovered how sophisticated and large and wealthy the ancient city was. Two sets of pipes were found, indicating that they had both hot and cold running water. Found functional water closets (toilets) were also amoungst the artifacts. As more of it was uncovered, archeologists began to think that this could be one of the cities that Plato wrote about, in the lost continent of Atlantis.
 
The island features, the city layout, and the level of sophistication match the descriptions that Plato had written about. According to the translation of Plato's writing, this all occurred around 9000 B.C. Some think that was a translation error, and it should have been 900 B.C. Plato said that Atlantis sunk to the bottom of the ocean, but since this volcano would have wiped out all of the inhabitants of the Greek Islands, it could have been a volcano that whipped it out and buried it. Some think that Plato made the story up and some think that Plato might have had access to historical documents in his day, that aren't around anymore. I really don't care, because I know there was a very sophisticated and large city with lots of wealth here in 1600 B.C. before the Volcano buried it and that's pretty amazing all by itself.
 
However, the Akrotiri excavation site was closed to the public for the last seven years when a canopy over it collapsed, killing 1 tourist, and injuring seven other tourists. The roof was rebuilt and it was supposed to open in April of 2012, but didn't.
 
Santorini is the only place in Europe that has a hot desert climate. Water is very scarce and next to nothing grows here, yet it's a very beautiful and pleasing place to be. All of the volcanic eruptions over the years have left lots of different colored layers that light up at sunrise and sunset. One side of the island has a deep natural harbor and 1000 foot high cliff face, topped of by the capital city and the city of La. The other side, where most of the beaches are, is nearly at sea level and slopes gently into a shallow sea. The different eruptions over the years have left the beaches multi-colored. The water at the darker beaches is warmer, because the rocks hold in the heat. It was 80 degrees, sunny and awesome while I was there, and the water at the red beach was the warmest. The most beautiful in my opinion, was the red beach, which was a little difficult to get too.
 
After the bug eruption, the volcano sunk, leaving much of it underwater, but not far from the top are some hot springs, that are kept warm from it.
 
The city of La is very beautiful. It was labeled as La on my map, but all of the road signs call it Oia and one of the locals I was talking to, pronounced it as Ooooh la la, in the same manner that a man sometimes mimics, when he sees a strikingly beautiful woman. After he said it, I was looking around to see where the beautiful woman was, until I figured out that he was talking about the city.
 
There was a bad earthquake on the island in the 1950's that destroyed La leaving it abandoned. Years later, people started moving back there, and when they rebuilt the city, they decided to make the main road a beautiful and wide marble walkway that follows the ridge line along the top of the cliff. Great decision, because it is awesome looking.
 
The other big draw to Santorini are its beautiful sun rises and sunsets. Sun rise and sunset really bring out the islands multicolored earth tones. The consensus from the locals is that La is the best place to watch the sun rise and the castle is the best place to watch the sun set. The other consensus was that the sun rise experience far exceeds the sunset experience. One attractive local woman was describing the sunset experience at her house, near the castle, as the best on the whole island, and she said all of her friends would back her up on that. I was about to ask her if I could go see it, but then she kind of started flirting with me. After that, she lost creditability, so I decided not to ask.
 

I did find a cafe on the top of the castle, named Franco's Cafe, where I think it would have been the best, but it was hazy that evening and it ended up being, just plain nice. However, Franco's Cafe was pretty awesome all by itself. They played classical music, the coffee was excellent and I had some fish and a Greek pastry that was off the charts.

 

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