Trip Recorders| No. 2 | Santorini Dec 2019

When we arrived around 7am on Santorini by ferry from Milos Island, darkness slowly gave way to the morning sun. Again, we were delayed and found nothing was open. No shelter, no breakfast, no information status returned and it was a bit disturbing. We saw people leaving the port, driving cars parked there beforehand or getting picked up. Cold rainy winter days made my tolerance with ambiguity lower but the situation was during our winter trip, lots of things were just uncertain. There was a huge gap between “ what I thought” and “ here is the case”. And the only thing for us early arrivallers and morning calmness intruders was to WAIT.

While the hope seemed dim, and before we fell into the philosophical trap of Where Am I and Who Am I, we noticed a bus came in just a few minutes after we rolled out of the ship. We rushed to the bus so fast as if invisible zombies were chasing us, almost ignoring the heaviness of carrying luggage with us, and asked where it was heading. “ Oia” answered the bus driver. We seated ourselves , emptied our hands and breathed out and chilled before the ballon in imagination bursted by pressure, and soon the bus started going towards its familiar and routine dark roads. It went higher and higher , climbing for quite a while with countless turns and we just felt lucky that we didn’t book a car ( the truth was we couldn’t as the service online was not users friendly so we just gave up while we were in Milos) need to drive “ dangerous”mountain roads after a sleepless night and no food.

Crazy turns from port to Oia. [Kind reminder]: If you have a very early ferry ( overnighter) arriving at Santorini , sleepy and hungry, and have to drive in darkness, please be super cautious or just take the bus.

We arrived at a mid point bus station and then transferred to another bus to continue our trip. At the final designation we were let off. Again, too early, most places were closed. We hid ourselves in a cafe and had some food. Hopping to check in the the hotel early. Quite confusing, we needed to walk back to the bus station to check in in a small office with no waiting place. It was not a very friendly design, just to let tourists stay outdoor. Perhaps it was due to the winter season, not many people would visit anyway. It was almost like forced to enjoy Santorini’s coldness and I was quite disappointed, with an empty stomach , sleepless night ( waiting the boat since midnight and no sleep afterwards and no customer service whatsoever). But I noticed the price was much lower. If the renovation drilling sounds and occasionally no electricity drama was tolerable, then feel you owned it to enjoy the whole streets with no crowds. It would be a plus for cat lovers: they were everywhere.

Near the bus station, there were some cross-country vehicles on display. It could be a good adventure to take for risk seeking tourists. I felt sick and slept the whole day in a cave hotel instead of taking extra risks.

Santorini is very unique in so many ways. It was my first time watching a thunder not so far away. The rain quickly moved away from where we stood, and dashed to the sea. Dark dense clouds pouring raindrops down into the sea, and soon disappeared. Wondrous Scene, indeed!

We wandered around and did some photo shootings for our honeymoon( if this one counted as honeymoon).

Honestly, Santorini is not as perfect and all romantic as it seems, nor as bad or disappointing or over-rated as some people say. It is a unique island —a beautiful touristy volcanic one with a live volcano and constant volcanic activity watch and one among the ancient cradles of humanity—along with cave houses and unbeatable natural views so blessed and non-artificial. If all we expect is that picture as posed in its typical image( blue dome church overlooking the sea with a sunrise or sunset) , removing its summer water activities ( boat tour , sunset tour, and more ) , wine tour, off road driving adventures, ancient ruins sites, volcano related activities, then there is not much left to do. So to be fair, to answer the question like is it worthwhile to visit Santorini, well it depends. As in winter, lots of construction work start, a recovering process from crowds season, there will be mud, concrete and unpleasant noises. But the crowds are gone. Personally, the food is OK ( if you want some Cretan food then try it on Crete island, much cheaper and genuine plus varieties.) but definitely try some Chinese food if you need to stay in Greece for a long time. Shopping in its Hondos Center was an good experience for me.

The winter weather had its twists and turns. We were trapped one more night on the island. I had some funny thinking on almost absurd thoughts like what if the volcano just erupted or what was global warming gonna do to this island. When we left Santorini, I felt relief surprisingly and couldn’t wait to set my feet on Heraklion.

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