We had two enjoyable days in Athens. We walked a lot as usual, including the Acropolis and surrounding area plus a hike to the top of a look out hill on the north side of Athens. We see a challenging hike and are drawn to it like a magnet.
Our hostels on the Camino were pretty basic which was fine as they were so cheap and it was only a bed and a place to wash your few clothes each night. We are amazed at how nice our hostels were in Lisbon and Athens. The only down side is that on the Camino, everyone went to bed at 9:30 and were up at about 7:00 to start walking; now the younger people are coming into the shared rooms at all hours. We got them back when we were exiting at 6:00 am to catch our ferry to Santorini. :-)
The ferry ride was long, ( 7 hours); stopping at several picturesque islands. We were surprised to find that having a comfortable seat to nap in was 5E extra, luckily the ferry was half empty so we could pay this upgrade on board.
As I sit writing this on our hotel balcony ( on first morning in Santorini) I can see the strings of donkeys heading up for their days work. Our ferry arrived at the new port so we did not walk up the hill and hire one donkey to carry our packs as planned.
We have a very economical hotel room just 3 minutes walk from the tourist core of Fira facing the backside of the island. We were planning on looking for a hostel but a man on a moped enticed us to his Villa for the same price. A lovely little complex of the typical Santorini style with multiple steps up and down and a tiny pool.
During our first night of roaming around and shopping we happened upon a Fish Spa, where the tiny fish suck the dead skin flakes off your feet. This was something we had on our list to do so were thrilled. It was delightful; we giggled like kids. My recovering feet were way too much of a challenge for the little guys but they tried their hardest.
On our second day we went to Perissa beach by bus. We got very lucky while walking to the bus stop and finally found new bathing suits. We are still in Camino mindset of only packing what you can comfortably carry and don't buy anything until it becomes essential. Bathing suits now fall into that category and we did not want to scare people on the nudist beach here.
Our little room has a small fridge so we are doing a little picnic eating again.
On our third day we decided to walk down to the old port on the zig zag trail and perhaps ride the donkeys up. The Greek men are very persuasive here when it comes to releasing you from your Euros and one insisted that we ride down with his string. We thought that was the kinder alternative for the donkey as we now know the difference between lugging a heavy pack up hill or down. The donkeys we rode did not win however as they just got a double dose, as they normally go down hill empty. Sigh
We then walked up the hill for the exercise. Very interesting, dogging donkey dung, tourists riding up on donkeys, and returning donkeys heading back down in groups. Donkeys own the path, walkers take care! I ever tired of watching them going to work each morning and heading home every night with their bells tinkling. ( over 100 of them) past our Villa.
It is a key component of this Island's attraction. The donkeys trail through the town and all the shop keepers step out to sweep the dung ASAP. A community effort.
On our third night we decided we should dine on the caldera side and enjoy the Fira city lights. Lovely but expensive.
On our last day we packed our bags and stored them at our Villa while we headed out to another beach. We went by bus, then took a small boat ride which we enjoyed and swam at a small beach.
As I write this we are waiting for our midnight ferry to Venice, from
The port city of Patras on the west coast of Greece. We had a red eye ferry from Santorini to Athens last night and a 4 hour bus ride from Athens to Patras this morning. We have had a long day of walking around with our packs and killing time. The ferry to Venice will take two sleeps and one day.
Stay tuned for the next chapter ; Capers in Italy!