Santorini is actually the rim of a now quiet, but not extinct volcano. The iconic villages are built on top of the Caldera, the steep inside edge, between 200 and 300 metres above sea level. These steep, rocky slopes make a frightening and dramatic view.
We missed the bright sunsets as the sky was hazy. However the afternoon light on the white villages, with blue church domes, above the black and red rock, was every photographer’s dream.
Santorini is large enough that transport is essential. Buses run between the major villages, but most visitors prefer the independence of their own vehicle. Bruce couldn’t resist the soft top Nissan Micra, however he was out of style as the most popular form of transport was the ATV or Quad Bike.
Santorini has a rich history, interrupted by volcanic eruptions and earth quakes. Speculation continues as to whether this was the lost Atlantis and whether it’s volcanic eruption destroyed civilisation in Crete 4,000 years ago.
Old Thera is an old Hellanic site, but also used in Byzantine times as a refuge from invading Arabs. We have moved on – no more climbing over those ruins, they were roped off and guards ensured we kept to the paths.
A Minoan Bronze Age settlement in Akrotiri has just been opened to the public. It had been buried in volcanic ash, much like Pompeii. About 3% of the village has been unearthed and it is all under a massive shed of about 4 acres. What stood out for us was the modern treatment of an archaeological site – quite different from the way Heinrich Schliemann ripped through Troy.