Matt's Santorini Scrapbook

Arriving at an island can be a confusing experience. In Santorini it is surreal, especially at night. Porto Athinaos is a strange place to begin with and then you get off the boat and there is a small army of people waiting to get on and others trying to get you to stay in rooms. When you are traveling with your wife, daughter, niece and mother it can be even more stressful. So when I saw this happy looking guy holding a sign with my name I was relieved. I recommend having a pre-arranged transfer to your hotel which can be provided by your travel agent in most cases and by the hotel in others. There is usually a charge for this.

The next day we went down to the archaeological site of Akrotiri near the hotel but it was hot and we did not get an early start and we did not feel like wandering around looking at ruins so we went down to the beach. There was a parking lot and we saw a parade of people climbing over the hill so we followed them. When we got to the top of the hill and looked around the bend we discovered Red Beach. I don't know if you can see from the photo but those are umbrellas.

I think my favorite part of the trip was the second day. Kostas at the Villa Mathios had treated me to a jeep so I could see the island so we left my mom at the pool with Amarandi and her cousin Alex. When we came back at the end of the day I asked if they had left the hotel all day and they hadn't. "Then I have a surprise for you" I told them and made them close their eyes while I led them across the road to the rim of the volcano. "Open your eyes" I said. They were all pretty stunned because we had arrived at night and they had no idea they were on the rim of a giant volcano.

Oia was spectacular and interesting in a Disneyland kind of way. Lots of Cafes and tourist shops and of course lots of tourists. Of the main towns I guess I liked Oia the best but it would be hard for anyone not to be impressed with any of them. As far as tourism goes I think they do a pretty good job in Santorini.

When our friends John and Kristin came to Sifnos from Santorini with this towel Amarandi had to have it.It is a little old woman standing by a white church. John was so proud he had talked the tourist shop down from twenty to fifteen euros. We found it at a kiosk in Perissa for eight.

Santorini is famous for its wine and you can go on wine tours at all the big and small wineries. But sometimes you can find the best wine from the farmers who sell it on the street like this man in Perissa. They also have Raki which is like ouzo, only stronger and without the licorice taste.

Paul Stefanidis owns the Mediterranean Dive Club in Perissa Beach right in front of the campgrounds. They do dives to the Volcano, wrecks and caves and also snorkling trips. You can e-mail him at

The Forum is a combination bar-restaurant-cultural center in Perissa beach. They have live music on Saturday nights and also give bouzoukia lessons. The food is good too. This summer a giant sea-turtle layed her eggs right in front of the restaurant and the area is now protected since the surviving females will return to lay their eggs too.

Dimitris, who owns the Forum, is a veterinarean and also an expert on the strange vegetables that grow on Santorini including the cherry tomatoes and grapes, neither of which are grown with water. He is also the one who discovered the turtle laying her eggs. Here he peels and slices a zuchinni that tastes more like a canteloupe.

Among the strange fruits and vegetables of the island is this round zuchinni. There is also a white eggplant and the cherry tomatoes which are famous all over the world.

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