Island Tour, Greece

On to the next adventure, as they say.  And this is a slightly new experience for me.  Or at least- it’s been awhile.  But on this trip, I’m not alone.  I’ve met up with two of my cousins for a bit of a travel around Europe before hopefully finding a place to live.
First stop? Greece.
Now, my budget conscious mind, when presented with the idea of heading out to the Greek islands, was screaming not to go.  Islands, in general, are not good on the budget.  But, it turns out, Santorini is actually much cheaper than staying in Athens, at least for the most part.  Our hostel was about half the price of the place we stayed in Athens, right on the beach, and much nicer than the one in the city.  We already felt like we were winning.  A few 6€ cocktails delivered to our beach chairs, and a dip in the ocean, and I was pretty sure this whole thing was worth it.
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In researching the trip I had seen some mixed reviews of the optional tours you could book through a few different tour companies in Santorini. Ultimately, we decided to just go for it. And it was really fun.
The morning started off with a trip down to the red sand beach. Since we were staying on Perissa, the black sand beach, this was a fun change of pace. You can’t actually walk on the beach, just to a lookout where you can look down at it, and marvel at how blue and clear the water is, and how red the cliffs are.
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The stop was a quick one, and we were soon picked up in a party bus to the excitement of the 8 twenty year olds in the group. I, personally, was rather happy to see the party bus go when we transferred to another bus after just a few minutes. This bus took us to the port, where we boarded our boat that we would spend a good portion of our day.
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The boat ride itself was really fun. The water was calm, and the sun was intermittently shining. First stop for the boat was at the volcanic island just off the coast of Santorini.
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The island looked very spooky as we were driving up. Sailing up? There were no sails… Pulling up? Anyway. The island was made of jagged dark volcanic rock that looked rather univiting. Luckily, it became much more welcoming, and we decided to hike up to the top of the volcano.
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After the volcano we made a few stops, one for lunch and another at a hotspring. When we pulled up to the hotspring, everyone just started jumping overboard and then freaking out because the water was so cold. You had to swim a ways before you actually got to the hotspring. Overall it was a pretty cool day so we decided against swimming, as did probably about 75% of the boat. We all just hung out and watched the crazies swimming around.
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After the hot spring, it was time to head to Oia. This is the most famous town in Santorini, and where probably 90% of the pictures of Santorini come from.
You can recognize it by the perfectly picturesque white and blue houses that seem to cling to the cliff side. It really is stunning.
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When you arrive to the city by boat, however, you are greeted by a very steep cliff, with lots of little tiny stairs. We didn’t count them, but it looks super intimidating. For anyone that doesn’t want to walk up the stairs, there are donkeys that you can hire to schlep you up to the top. We decided to go that route.
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I was in fear for my life for the majority of the trip. We all thought we were going to die, but collectively agreed that it was still better than walking up.
My donkey seemed to be not the most popular donkey. And he seemed to like being mean to the other donkeys. One of his favorite things to do was to inexplicably stop in the middle of the trail, wait for all the other donkeys to bunch up behind him and wait for one brave donkey to try and pass before lashing out and trying to bite. All this going on clinging to the edge of a sheer drop cliff. Super fun.
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One of the main sites to see on the island is sunset at Oia. So we were pretty happy to have a few hours there to eat dinner and watch the sunset. The sun had been on and off all day, but when we got to Oia, it cleared up and we had a beautiful afternoon.
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Just before sunset, really thick clouds rolled in, cutting off all our hopes of a beautiful view. Was still a great time though.
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Our tour ended with a sleepy ride back to the hostel. There are a lot of fun things to do and see in Santorini. Whether you do ome of the tours, or drive yourself around is up to you. But it was really fun, and I think well worth it.

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