One of the top recommended activities for Santorini is a hike/walk from the town of Fira to the town of Oia, which is on the very north end of Santorini. As two people who love walking and have become seasoned walkers in the last three months, Dylan and I were quite excited to do this walk, which is about seven miles long. Norm and Cole (who hadn't gotten the best night sleep due to hard beds and rattling windows) decided that they would just do the very first (and most scenic) part and then catch a bus the rest of the way. So we split up with plans to reconnect in Oia around lunch.
As expected, Dylan and I really enjoyed the walk, which is essentially a pedestrain path that takes you through all of the really expensive, fancy resorts on the caldera side of the island. (The island originally had a huge volcano in the center, and the current island formation is a result of a huge volcanic eruption.) So we got great ocean and island views to our left and super fancy resort views to our right.
There were also quite a few cute churches along the way too. The Greek islands are all about small, cute churches.
Eventually (about two-thirds of the way to Oia), we left the fancy resort area behind and came to a more rocky and steep part of the walk that wasn't quite as nice as the first part. But we still got some good ocean views.
And before too long, we were rewarded with views of Oia...and more nice resorts.
The main part of Oia was jam-packed with tourists, but it hit all the marks of the really cute, Greek island touristy town.
We walked through the town, past a bunch of shops, flower lined streets, and churches. Our ultimate goal was to find the staircase down to Amoudi Bay, which Santorini Dave had noted as the best swim (although not beach) spot on the island.
After some very slow manouvering through the crowds, we found the staircase! The staircase ended up being a bit of a bummer. Not only was it a steep 200+ steps, but it also was covered in donkey poo. In some places it was nearly impossible to take a step that wasn't at least partially in donkey poo. The goal was to just aim for the older looking donkey poo remnants rather than the fresh stuff.
About half way down, we got to see the culprits, and we learned that you can pay to ride the donkeys up the staircase. We figured that all of the poo on the stairs only helps boost their business. Because trust me, exerting yourself climbing up a steep staircase covered in poo is not fun.
In the end, though, we felt that the poo navigation was worth it when we made it to the bay which is small but really nice.
Dylan and I spent a little time scoping everything out before getting a table at one of the restaurants to get some drinks and snacks while we waited for Norm and Cole.
We ended up not having to wait very long at all for them. They showed up soon after we sat down and joined us for some grilled octopus (that was sooo good) and spicy cheese dip. They also got a crayfish orzo to share.
After eating, we headed to the swim spot and got to see some octopus being grilled up on the way.
We all really ended up liking the swim spot. We found a less crowded area of rocks where we could sit and soak up some sun when we weren't swimming in the crystal clear water.
Here's Norm and then Cole jumping in from the rocks where we were chilling.
Cole also wanted to make sure that I documented Norm being Norm...
After a few hours, we decided to head back. We said goodbye to the beautiful bay and braved the donkey poo stairs on foot. Dylan and I considered walking back to our apartment, doing the reverse of our walk this morning, but we ultimately couldn't resist sharing a taxi with Norm and Cole who didn't want to deal with the bus again or walk all the way back.
With the time we saved by taking a taxi, we were able to make it back to our apartment and head to a nearby restaurant in time to enjoy the sunset. Our dinner ended up being really nice (it was a "treat yourself" sort of meal) and the views were beautiful. (I took some pics of the sunset from the table but I also embraced my tourist role and got up to take a couple pics from the restaurant's patio entrance as well.)
For his main course, Dylan ordered the freshly caught red snapper, which was cooked and presented whole. The waiter opened it up and removed all of the bones at the table, which was pretty cool to watch. He left the creepy looking head though...
While we were eating, we saw another table get an amazing-looking dessert platter. We couldn't resist ordering one for ourselves. It was a sugar rush overload, especially when combined with the complimentary liqueur that we were served at the end of the meal, but it was a fun way to cap off a great meal and vacation day.