10 Fun Facts about Santorini

 

Postcards & Prosecco

Santorini, Greece

Edition 02  January 2018
  1.  Santorini is not her real name. She’s been know as Strogill (the round), Kallisti (the most beautiful), and Theras (the son of a king). Following the Crusades of the 13th Century, the island was once again re-named, this time by the Venetians in honor of Saint Irene or Santa Irini. Fast forward a few centuries and the world over knows this sparking gem in the Agean Sea as Santorini.
Oia, Santorini

The bright Blue Dome of Oia and the cresecent shape of the caldera.

 

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Narrow Passage Ways

Shadows and Delight

The blue dome and bell tower of Pyrgos

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Blue doors and more

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Santorini and the view from Fira

2.  There are exactly two ways to arrive at Santorini, by boat or by plane. If you arrive by boat you will travel up via the funicular or ride a donkey up the 980 feet above sea level.

Enjoying the ride to the top.

A smooth ride up the 980 feet of Santorini.

Looking up

A view from the sea and a new point of view

3.  She’s one of a kind. This series of volcanic islands in the Aegean Sea is the only inhabited caldera (underwater volcano structure) in the world. Many believe Santorini may be the Atlantis Plato wrote about.  The Minoan Eruption at Santorini created a devastating tsunami in the Aegean Sea, believed to have destroyed the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete.

4.  More than 3,600 years ago, someone saw the signs and knew when to get out.  Scientists believe the nearly 30,000 residents of the island successfully evacuated prior to the volcanic eruption. In the late 1950’s archeologists uncovered the near perfectly preserved city of Akrotiri encased in three to six feet of ash.

Artifacts recovered from the site indicate the city was active in trade with other parts of the world and sophisticated in design. The site, now open for tours, reveals multilevel buildings, indoor bathrooms, sewage systems, and elaborate frescos. With no trace of human remains or valuable objects left behind scientists believe the residents most likely successfully evacuated the island.

Santorini Sunset and the Sea

A golden sunset captured from the Aegean Sea.

5.  Santorini remains an active volcano, in a quiet state. Scientists have found evidence of at least twelve large eruptions in the last 200,000 years. An small episode of unrest, now in remission, was recorded as recently as 2011-2012.

6.  The volcanic activity of Santorini left behind remarkable beaches in vibrant hues including volcanic red, white rock formations, and black stone beaches. On one side of the island, Akrotiri, you can hike the stunning Red Beach.

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7.  On the other side of the island, and the town of Kamari, you can enjoy the Black Sand beaches of Santorini. Side note here, the beaches are beautiful but can be painfully hot. The word sand, is used very loosely here as the black sand beach could be more accurately described as a black stone beach.

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Clear water and black stones await at Kamari Beach

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Mesa Vouno from the beaches of Kamari

 

You’ll find pathways to your chairs but you may want to pack a pair of flip-flops (or sacrifice a pair of leather sandles to the Aegean Sea as I was forced to do) to make your walk into the sea more comfortable. While you will not want to walk around Santorini in flip-flops, you’ll be glad to walk from your beach chair and into the water.

8.  Staying in the smaller section of Kamari offers a welcome respite from the crowds.  The black sand beaches are nearby at the end of street and there are plenty of beach clubs and cafés ready to welcome you to Santorini. Transportation to the airport and the towns of Oia and Thira is easily arranged.

9. Despite being a volcanic island with a limited supply of water, you’ll enjoy some of the most delicious and fresh Greek food available. Volcanic soil is mineral rich and the produce on the island is something extraordinary.

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The most delicious Greek yogurt spread.

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Authentic Greek Salad. No lettuce and designed to be shared.

10.  There is a lot of ground to cover during your visit to Santorini. Be prepared to do plenty of walking and pack shoes that will help you do so. Renting four wheelers and cruising the island is a spectacularly picturesque and incredibly fun way to visit the different towns.

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The best way to see the Santorini.

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Gifts from the Sea

My Blue Heaven

Postcards & Prosecco

Mykonos, Greece

Edition 01  July 2011
Shrine on

Shrine on

I’ve spent my entire life surrounded by water. The grand lady of them all, the Chesapeake Bay is the first body of water I’ve ever loved. She’s captured legendary explorers that have written far more eloquently than I about her beauty, wealth, and substance. To treasure the Chesapeake is a birth right of sorts coursing throughout the veins of the children of the fair state of Maryland. And for those like me, scattered throughout the world, the Chesapeake remains the measure of maritime beauty. Ask any Marylander, and I am confident they can wax poetically about the bay, summer days of their childhood shuffling through the mucky water, waiting impatiently on a splintered wooden dock for a sign of life in a rusty old crab trap. I am certain one of the reasons I love living in northeast Florida is because of the two great bodies of water, the Atlantic Ocean and the St. Johns River, that encircle my everyday. Yet, it the Chesapeake who will forever hold a special place in my heart.

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But now, I must confess, I have a new love. He is unlike anything I have ever seen before. With a rocky coastline and a white washed façade, this Greek is an epically stunning beauty. In all fairness, I have experienced bodies of water that have brought me great joy. Childhood summers in the fierce surf of the Atlantic Ocean venturing into the swift and dangerous undertow of Rehoboth Beach, the pale salty turquoise of the Gulf of Mexico as an overly confident bikini clad co-ed, the powerful, cold, and daunting Pacific Ocean while traveling on a motorcycle through the hills of Santa Barbara. And while it has happened in the past, I wasn’t prepared this.

Mykonos Blue

Mykonos Blue

He is different. And I did not expect to fall so suddenly for this diminutive little Greek. Just the sound of his name, Mykonos brings a smile to my lips. I am defenseless against his beauty. His body of water is the bluest blue I have every seen. Somewhere between midnight and cobalt with a glimmer of  sapphire, he reigns supreme. Yet he remains completely transparent, refracting sunlight as hypnotically as a stained glass window. This hue, Mykonos Blue, as I’ve come to call it, is mesmerizing and making it nearly  impossible to turn away.

Stairway to heaven. Close enough it's Mykonos, Greece.

Stairway to heaven. Close enough it’s Mykonos, Greece.

I know I am not the first to fall for this charmer. The entire city is designed to enhance his beauty. The white washed buildings stand in simple contrast to his regal blue elegance. The turquoise trim on the shutters and railings throughout the town emphasize his brilliantly deep dark shade. And while Ulysses had his Sirens beckoning him back, I suspect it will be Mykonos that calls my name to return yet again and again.