Greece: Next stop Santorini
Editor’s Note: This is the seventh part of a series sharing my recent travels to Greece.
The island of Santorini is, by far, one of the most beautiful places I?have ever seen. It also was one of the most challenging as we had to travel by bus up swtich-back roadways to get to the village from the port. A tiny guardrail would not do much to stop one of those buses should it sway too far to the edge.
But, our drivers were excellent and we made it to the top in one piece.
We were able to walk among the narrow streets and see all of the preparations being made for the summer season. Whitewash was being applied to the already white buildings as shop owners took advantage of nice weather and a minimal tourist crowd.
At the end of our afternoon visit, we, along with every other visitor, rambled to the cliff’s edge to watch the glorious sunset over the Aegean Sea.
Santorini is the remnant of a volcanic caldera which means that it is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island, and created the current geological caldera.
A giant central, rectangular lagoon is surrounded by 980 feet high, steep cliffs on three sides. The capital, Fira, clings to the top of the cliff looking down on the lagoon.
Santorini’s primary industry is tourism while agriculture is also essential.
Santorini remains the home of a small, but flourishing wine industry, based on the indigenous Assyrtyko grape variety. White varieties also include Athiri and Aidani, whereas red varieties include mavrotragano and mandilaria. The growers of the grapes for wine on Santorini form the vines in wreaths atop the ground rather than upright.
The lower the vines are to the ground, the less danger there is of wind damage at the high altitude of the populated areas of the island. One could view grape “wreaths” all over the island in any open spot.
Over the last years Santorini has been voted as one of the most beautiful islands of the world.
Next stop: Athens.