That’s all folks. Goodbye from Santorini.

I’m afraid it would come to this. I’ve finally reached the end point in the trip; Santorini.

I’m not going to lie to you, a couple of times in those few final days I actually considered ditching the flight home and becoming a travelling Cheese Merchant across the Cyclades. “It couldn’t be too hard could it?” Yes Jake. It could. Because you’d eat all the cheese yourself. Damn, I was right, my plan unfoiled by my love for Halloumi.

Floating into the Port of Santorini by boat is a breathtaking spectacle. By that I mean there is a literal danger of your breath being taken away if you don’t have reliable transport organised. The port is located at the base of a 250m cliff. The rock face is sharp and unforgiving. Kind of like the hangover I woke up with in Paris.

If you’re lucky there is a car or bus waiting for you. If you’re a little more adventurous, you might take the cable car lift. If you’re a dirtbag who enjoys inflicting pain, you’ll take ‘Ass transit’ — The traditional method of reaching the mainland by mule. But you’re not an ass are you? Nah I didn’t think so either.

Similar to the other family islands of the Cyclades, Santorini is picturesque in every direction. Our accomodation was nestled between a bunch of other small, boutiquey hotels, facing the west. From our balcony we had views of Nea Kameni island — a small uninhabited island and badass volcano. To the northwest, Theresa, another island in the volcanic island group. Between them was a buoy-sectioned portion of water. I asked one of the locals what they were guarding and interestingly enough; it’s where the MS Sea Diamond cruise ship sank in 2007. Apparently you can scuba it if you’re pretty-not-bad under water.

Just like Ios, we hired bikes and set out to explore the island. In the southwest corner of the island, about 10 clicks away (that’s dude talk for 10kms), lies Persia Black Sand Beach. Picture a beach, but instead of white or yellow sand, it’s black. Instead of sand, pebbles. Feel like your there? Good. Now walk on them. Hot? You betcha. The ideal time to make good use of the beach would have to be in the morning, before the sand turns into coals.We trekked back towards town, ready for first dinner (this deep into a holiday you realise there’s always time for more than one dinner). “TO SENOR ZORBA’S!” My stomach screamed. Yep, you guessed it — more Mexican. To their credit, they put up a mighty fight against Ios’ Harmony, but sadly big Z just fell short. I can’t complain though, the corn was grilled, the fish was well inside the taco and the beers were mighty cold.

Our final day was jam packed. We were picked up early morning for a Scuba class. After learning a bunch about how damaging it can be to be underwater for long periods of time, we set out to be underwater for a long period of time. From my perspective, my scuba-ing was elegant. I felt as if I was gliding under the water, like a ballerina. My world came crashing down when I saw the photos and video afterwards. In reality, I looked like a gumboot wrapped in fishing line. As our expedition was relatively entry level, we weren’t able to see much. I did see something that will never be unseen however. Gazing up from below towards the surface, I watched a beachgoer mine, what could have been, the biggest wedgy of 2015. Happy pickings friend.

The pièce de résistance? Our sunset cruise. The exact way you want to whind down the busiest month of your life. Hopping from island to island on a red catamaran, eating like a king and front row access the most impressive sunset in Greece, from the waters just off Oia. I’ll certainly remember it as one of those symbolic moments that label a chapter in your life. But just as quickly as the sun rises, it falls and we’re turning around, heading back to shore and back to reality.

My favourite part

How masterfully constructed the town is on the side of the rock face.

Links

Where we stayed (Azzuro Suites)

Where we watched the sunset (Oia)

Where we ate Mexican with a view (Senor Zorba)

Where we went scuba diving (Santorini Dive Center)

One symptom of travelling I found was being so much more aware than I am at home, in a familiar environment. I would pick up on every subtlety as my senses were ignited. If there was one thing I brought home (aside from a plethora of dirty clothes for Mum) it was a more appreciative outlook on the little things. I hope this can serve as some useful info when embarking on your own expedition overseas.

A big shoutout to Kayla, Jess and Daniel for joining me in the jacuzzi.

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