I had spent the remaining days exploring the beautiful island of Sifnos in, what grew to be, the trusted tercel. Apollonia is the capital of Sifnos and is located in the center of the island. For those traveling without a vehicle it is a central place to stay with easy bus transport to the other neighboring villages.
A maze of corridors connects the whitewashed buildings made vibrant with colorful window shutters and flowers housing a plethora of restaurants and boutiques. People bustle about yet without the feeling of being overcrowded.
I visited the village of Kastro, inhabited since prehistoric times, which sits dramatically and magnificently atop a rock offering stunning panoramic views of the sea. I hike along the steep stone paths feeling rocked just a little by the warm winds. Kastro had a mysterious feel to it.
Then on to Vathy, a charming picturesque bay with sandy golden beaches and deep blue waters.
I really did love Sifnos. It was exactly what I was looking for in an island. Authentic and not too busy with just enough charm and attractions. I left feeling as though I made the right choice staying there for the longest duration of my time in Greece.
Off to Santorini.
The ferry took just over 2 hours from Sifnos. The organized chaos of the ferry system was impressive. I was sure I would not see my luggage again as it was stowed in a mountainous heap and somehow managed to find its way off the ferry and on to the platform.
I decided to stay in Oia. Truth be told, the only reason I went to Santorini was because anyone I met who had been to Greece stated that it could not be missed. And well I am a lady who cannot miss anything it seems. The host of my accommodation promptly greeted me at the van. “Come my lady I take your luggage”. The apartment was beautiful with my own private hot tub and views of the sea. It was larger than I needed. He showed me both bedrooms “oh, I won’t be using these extra beds.” “Well…” he replied coyly with a slight head bobble, “I don’t know what you do with your night my lady”. “Ya, not that exciting.” I replied. He gave me the skinny on the area. I walked along the veins of corridors browsing the overpriced boutiques, stopping here and there and asking some unassuming passerby if they would mind taking my picture.
Generally, I find people are receptive to this request. As sunset approached, I started my way down sunset boulevard. The swell of people grew like a herd, moving slowly. Congested. It was too much. Once there I could not find a spot in front so I stood within the stacks of bodies waiting for my turn to snap some pictures. At times, just holding the camera above my head hoping one would turn out. Then everyone became quiet for those final moments as the sun rapidly and dramatically dropped behind the horizon. Everyone cheered and whistled. In that finale, the sun pierced the horizon with brilliant shades of orange.
I found the restaurant that my host recommended. To get there one had to follow the main path until the stone walk way ended. This seemed to be the marker of where the toursit hub ended. I quite readily crossed it. I was becoming agitated by the crowds. I ordered a typical dish – tomatokefttedes-tomato fritters. This was remarkable and surely something I would replicate back home. Ripe sweet tomatos, cheese and sweet peppers seasoned with fresh herbs and fried until crunchy. An orchestra of textures. Then creamy orzo with chunks of pork.
I spent the next day continuing to meander about the corroders, meeting people along the way.
One man from Budapest, who worked for the UN, strolled alongside me for the afternoon. He was also a poet. I listened attentively to the dreamy descriptions of his homeland. I would be sure to visit Budapest… one day.
My time on Santorini was brief, only a couple of days. Its vibrancy, stunning landscapes, and romantic climate were undeniable. Well worth the sunset. Still, and many of you may find this surprising, I preferred the quiet charm of Sifnos.
Next up… Turkey!