We flew directly from Palermo, Sicily to Santorini, Greece eager to fulfil my white cliffside sunset, wine tasting dreams – but sadly it was not to be – or at least not for as long as we had planned. Disaster struck in the form of an ominous email warning that the ferry workers were on strike on the very day we had been planning to travel onwards. Logistically, unfortunately, this meant we had to cut our two nights in paradise to merely 24 hours.
So it was action packed – we arrived late in the afternoon and spent the afternoon exploring the narrow streets of Oia. That evening, we found a spot to watch that famed sunset (happily from the terrace of our own accommodation). The next morning we woke early to see the sunrise. It was a delight to have the streets to ourselves, the white streets bathed in golden morning sunlight.
After breakfast, we donned our running shoes and walked the 11km trek along the caldera from Oia to Thira. On the way back I spied a bookshop that sold English books (the loss of the Kindle was really being felt).
Then we showed up at the port ready for our 525pm ferry…which promptly arrived at 830pm.
So it turned out we had more time than expected in Santorini, just a pity we spent it waiting at the port with a packet of chips rather than wine tasting on the cliffside. We did see the sunset again though.
Heraklion was unexpectedly great. Our itinerary change meant we had an extra night in the Cretan capital. This gave us an opportunity to catch up on some travel admin (laundry). But we also had a look around the fortress port, and had the most gigantic gyros you’ve ever seen.
The following day we picked up a wee hire car and set off to the very north west of the island. Stopping for a lunch of spinach and ricotta pies, fried zucchini, and tzatziki (tzatziki in Crete is the best – have it on everything) we made it to Kissamos ready to spend the afternoon by the pool.
Day two saw us driving a further half hour, as far north west as was possible to drive, before descending down the cliffs another 1 km on foot to the stunning Balos Beach. Accessible by foot or boat (or donkey, but don’t do that, those poor tiny donkeys), the lagoon was quiet, the water warm, and the view amazing. The walk back up was tough, but at least you can pretend to be simply stopping to admire the view when you’re gasping for air.
It was so pretty we decided to go back to see whether it was a good spot to see the sunset (Santorini had given us a case of sunset hunting it appears).
The following day we jumped back into our tiny car and drove an hour south, still on the West coast, to Elafonissi beach – the pink beach. Crystal clear water, deep and refreshing, I’m going to be daydreaming about Elafonissi once I’m back at my desk again for sure.
Our ferry woes continued when we showed up at the port bright and early for our 730am ferry from Heraklion to Paros. Sadly, our ferry had been cancelled (thanks for the update guys) and instead we’d been shoved onto another ferry going an hour later, and another route. Our anticipated 2 1/2 hour ferry suddenly turned into a 6 1/2 hour one. Lucky I bought that book.
But when we arrived, it was all worth it. Crystal clear water, a pool at our accommodation, and adorable white narrow streets. We spent four days in Naoussa, Paros blissed out by the pool, strolling past brightly coloured fishing boats lined up next to the restaurants, or exploring the tiny streets. We tracked down Greek frozen yoghurt, and ate seafood next to the Mediterranean Sea. One day, we hired an ATV and roared around the dusty roads in search of historic villages and isolated beaches. Paros was an absolute treat, so far topping our favourites list.
Now we take a bit of time to get to the next destination, leaving the European continent for Africa. See you soon!