Ancient ruins of Thira

Authored By Brian

Tuesday was beautiful; we woke up from an amazing nights rest, took high-powered hot showers with a curtain. I wasn’t even sure what the weather was like but already I liked how this day was starting. A room-delivered breakfast to our private terrace looking out on the caldera and clear skies only cemented a perfect morning.

A note about the weather; I fully expected the Mediterranean to be 100 degrees everywhere I went. It certainly was hot in Rome and Madrid but it was never more than about 92. That usually comes with a slight breeze making it more than manageable. The islands have been even nicer; closer to 82 than 92 and non-stop sun. It’s no wonder why people come here for vacation. It also makes me wonder about why the ongoing Olympics have such empty grandstands; the weather here is no hotter than Atlanta or Barcelona.

Back to Santorini where the weather is unequivocally gorgeous.

Tuesday we repeated our ride to Ancient Thira to explore the ruins. The switchbacks of vicious cobblestones made some impression on our butts but the bigger impression was made by the wind once we reached the top. Gusts that must have been upwards of 60-70mph with sustained winds of at least 40 were driving across the mountain. It was more than enough to push you back a couple of steps and let you lean into it. The parking lot was only the start though because we had to hike up the mountain to see the actual ruins while trying to avoid falling off the cliffs.

The top of the mountain is the second highest place on the island falling just in the shadow of the higher peak immediately next to it. It’s very rocky and very steep jetting up from the flat island below. Why ancient people would want to haul foodstuffs from the sea below to the top of this mountain is beyond me. But haul it they must have because this was some city. There is an amphitheater, temples to Dionysus and other Greek gods, houses built under and above ground and some very impressive ancient-Greek style marble carvings such as columns and facades for buildings. This wasn’t a podunk people, they seem to have been as advanced as the mainland ancient Greeks.

The peak provides an amazing place to take in the island as you can see both sides of the mountain very easily. The side we came from had beaches and the town of Kamari at the bottom while the other side are more beaches and the town of Piressa. There is no way to get from Kamari to Piressa except to go all the way around the mountain which involves going nearly halfway up the island.

Being up this high had an odd side effect; we could look down on planes landing at the airport in the distance. Airplanes from Thomas Cook and Aegean Air flew quite close to the mountain but were several hundred feet below where we were standing. They looked like toys.

The port of Piraeus in Greece is growing large in the front window of the boat so it’s time to pack up and find a hotel for the night. I have to be sure to write about the rest of Santorini because we saw so many cool things!

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