Saturday, 18 May 2013

Day Eight: Walk? Who, Me?

As we were walking toward the zigzag road leading up the mountain, I mentioned to Jordan that this would probably be a lot like the Grouse Grind. “I hate the Grouse Grind,” she said. “Me too,” I agreed. So, off we went to the tour company to see how much the bus would cost to the top of the mountain. “What, ten euros each, for a ten minute ride??? Highway robbery!” For another five euros we rented a little car for the day, and off we went to explore the island. 

Fortunately for us, this is a very small island, so it is hard to get lost. Unfortunately for us, the road signs are either non-existent, or they are in Greek, so we spent a lot of time driving around in circles. Lucky for us, the car we rented was a little puddle jumper, so we were able to back down narrow hills and alleys after driving into dead ends.

We headed up the zigzag road leading up to the ancient city of Thira. As we made our way past very tired looking tourists, we were happy that we had decided to rent the car. Once we arrived at the top, we still had a fair amount of climbing to do, and managed to walk for about an hour, so we enjoyed our share of exercise for the day.
Thira was an established city dating back to the 8th century BC. It is amazing to see the ruins, complete with broken pillars and carvings of birds and animals in the rock facings.

Ancient Theatre; facing the stage, with the seating built into the hill
 The museum is also amazing, with pottery and paintings dating back to this time. It is truly inspiring to think of how people managed to create such amazing art and architecture with primitive tools more than 28 centuries ago! It is even more amazing that these treasures have survived all these years, through multiple earthquakes and being covered in volcanic ash.

After leaving Thira, we toured the entire island, stopping at lovely beaches, and gazing over amazing rock cliffs.

We headed out to Faros, which is the lighthouse at the very tip of the island. This is an a beautiful place, as we could stand right on the cliff, looking straight into the sea directly below. This spot also allowed us to look on both sides of the island, including the high cliffs on one side and the black sand beaches on the other.


On the road from Faros

We headed off to see yet another ancient village, Akrotiri. This is very different from Thira, as the modern village has been built right around it. Akrotiri was completely covered by the volcanic eruption in the 1600s, and wasn't discovered until the 1860s. It is thought that Akrotiri was originally settled as early as 3000 BC. Wow! Imagine that! We are looking at some verrrrry old buildings! Yes, Jordan, even older than grandma!!

After taking a break to lie around the pool for the afternoon, we decided to head out to the opposite tip of the island to watch the sunset. The village of Oia is supposed to be the best place on the entire island to do this. However, we had no idea that it was quite a long way, since we had mistakenly believed that this was the village that we had walked to yesterday from Fira.  After driving for what seemed forever, we finally found the town. After parking, we found a good place to watch the sunset, but sadly, the clouds moved in, and it was a rather disappointing show!

Even more surprising was discovering that the town that we thought we had walked to yesterday was not this town at all! And here I always thought that it was Bryce's fault when we got lost on holidays!!


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