Before I set foot on the lovely island of Santorini, I had it all planned out with my wild imagination. It was going to be like in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants crossed over with The Lizzie McGuire Movie, minus both the men. I was going to zoom across the island on motor scooter for an insanely cheap price (25€. This figure is one of the only things I researched before flying over from Athens), the wind would be blowing through my hair, a sweet relief from the blazing sun.
As you know, (my) plans never go the way I imagine.
The hostel manager drove me from the airport to where I was staying that night. “If you rent a moped,” he informed me after I told him my plans, “you’re going to get blown right off the cliffs.” I stuck out my lower jaw, determined to prove him wrong even as the winds rocked the car.
Well, what on earth was I going to do now? My one plan had been thrown (blown away by the wind?) out of the window! He seemed to understand my concern. I’m not sure how he could’ve since most travelers probably had more than one idea of what to do on the volcanic island. I think I was so convinced that because the island was so small, about 200km across the croissant-shape, that I’d be able to scope them out instantly (because that’s how traveling works).
“You know, there’s a gorgeous 2-hour hike from Fira to Oia that you could do. It’s not that hard,” he said. I nodded pensively, mostly because I didn’t know what that meant. What was Fira and what was Oia? I know, putting my traveling money to good use.
As I hastily did my research that night, I learned that Fira was the largest town on the island. Oia is what I saw when I googled “Santorini.” It’s always sunset there, according to Google. The hike covered just less than half of the island and ran along the caldera, or volcanic coastline.
I looked down at the growing bulge that was my stomach. Yeah, a hike would be a good alternative to touring the island.
As I was hiking along, I kept accidentally wandering into hotels and their pools! It kinda made me wish that I splurged for a view and an experience like this, but it would’ve been completely wasted on the spring temperate season. I would’ve, however, splurged for a hostel closer to Fira than where I actually stayed.
I’m going to tell you right now that it did not take 2 hours. It took about 4 hours at a leisurely, photographer’s walk. Even so, the views on this hike were AMAZING, if you couldn’t see for yourself. So much so that I was completely taken with the views for 3 hours, leaving me only one hour of “MAN, are we there yet??” But even the photos fail at convey the awe that I felt hiking the edge of the island the whole time. I imagine it would’ve been a lot more crowded during the summer months, so I’m grateful that I went during a time when all guidebooks warn you not to go.
The wind, however, I was not a big fan of. There were moments were I felt like I was about to get blown off the cliff and had me running for shelter in lower grounds.
That day, I stayed for the sunset. Not the traditional one that crops up on Google, but the kind where you’re worried you’re going to miss the last bus to Fira and stay awkwardly in between the heart of Oia and the bus station. Thing is, I shouldn’t have been so worried since I met people on the bus who were able to see the sunset on the edge of Oia. It’s just that the 40€ taxi put me off a bit.
In case you were wondering how far the hike was and what it looks like on a map, here’s what I did on Google Maps:
I stayed at a hostel in Perissa. Yikes, I know.
And, because you can only take so many photos of loose gravel, I’ve documented the journey on video as well. There’s an awful lot of shots with me in it… I guess I was all about using the GoPro as a selfie cam (the stick just makes you wanna!) when I was traveling than actually using it to document things. Silly me.
When I was looking for the long-lost videos from my Eurotrip (did that even happen?), I was scared for a moment that all I had were selfies. And then you guys would’ve all hated me and my absorbed self. But here’s it is with only 99% me!