Sometimes, words are not necessary…..
With our “movement permit” in our possession; a requirement by the Greek government to leave ones home, during this lockdown for the ongoing covid19 pandemic, we were allowed an outing to get fresh air and exercise. We began walking, as our goal was to visit the oldest village in the island; called Oia (oye-ya), but after a half hour, we saw a sign that said we had 2.45h left to walk. We did not have six hours worth of permit, so we decided to rent a car. With the car, we also got to explore much more of the island. We spent more money on fuel, than the actual car rental.
We would spend a glorious day taking in the sites around the island. It is springtime, here on the islands, so the timing to see wildflowers blooming, is perfect! The days can still be a bit rainy, so we waited for a day with sunshine and headed out. By the end of our day, we lost our sunshine to clouds and rain, but we were filled-up and satisfied to have gotten the time we did have, to explore!
We take our friends advice to get an exercise permit and walk to Oia, the oldest village within Santorini. Walking up and down the stone walkway with breathtaking views of the dormant Volcano in the Aegean Sea, is quite enjoyable. The bright blue and turquoise sea is void of boats or any activity. We reach a point that a sign says we only have a 2.5 hour walk ahead of us. We both look at each other and thought, that was not going to happen. A car, scooter and ATV rental place was across the street, so we rented a car and climb in, hoping I still remembered how to drive. (after over two years without driving). I started out driving less than 20 MPH and felt confident. We have all the time in the world, no traffic, and in no hurry, so we watched the countryside pass by.
The volcanic rocks and tufa is in constant flux, changing colors and textures at every turn. Grape vines and stacked rocks line the fields. The grape vines were dormant, when we arrived n Greece, and now, weeks later, green shoots are appearing. The vines are wrapped in a coiled-up rope fashion. Rocks are placed under the wrapped vines to elevate them above the ground. They do this to conserve water and keep the moisture close to the vines.
We get to the end of the island where white homes line the hillsides in a pastural fashion. The road ends at a boat dock and we get out to explore. We find ancient relics of closed businesses and the presence of buildings so old, it would appear time has erased their usefulness. We follow a trail that skirts the hillside and the drop off to the sea below. The trail ends with volcanic boulders strewn in a random heap, cascading to the bottom of the sea.
More exploration towards unexplored areas lead us past fields of yellow flowers with small purple flowers, trying to catch some sun. Bunny leaps out of the car for Bunnies love clover and she is at home lying in the sea of yellow. Capturing her beauty with spring rapturing around her is like heaven. Beside her is “Mr Med,” the talking Mule. He is giving me some lip about how bunnies should not be allowed to hop around untethered in his field. We could hear him ranting as we drive away towards the beach.
We came upon a black sand beach that stretched on for miles. As we walked down to the water the sand sparkled in. It looked like viewing a night sky with thousands of twinkling stars glistening in the heavens. It was beautiful, but beauty sometimes has a dark side. Sand fleas love Bunnies, and they started attacking my wife with tiny bites. So to avoid death by a thousand bites, we headed to more unexplored reaches into the unknown.
We found a stone road winding up the hillside, with a perfect stone wall lining it. We followEd it up to what seemed like the home of the ancient Greek gods. Signs saying Ancient Thira marked our path. After climbing several switchbacks we came to a closed ticket booth. Some local men had climbed a rocky formation, and they danced and sang as I took videos of them. Stone trails covered the hillsides with evidence of springs and limestone holding troughs. The view from there was amazing.
We traversed to other parts of the island and seemed to be drawn to the highest peaks. After hours and hours of driving, I turnEd the car over to Bunny, (who was also delighted to drive after over two years), and she found some ancient windmills that lined a ridge. Following this new road, we found windmills in different stages of deterioration. Some were just piles of rubble.
The day was ending, as our sun gave way to clouds and rain. We were filled-up and tired, so we make our way back to our home above the caldera.