Island living

The last week has been a bit gloomy, with rain, thunderstorms and lots of wind hitting the tiny island like a ton of bricks! The Greek have a term for the weather pattern in January and early February which describes the ‘temporary summer days’ combined with the unexpected wind and thunderstorms. (I can’t find this word online anywhere!) Basically, the weather is very unpredictable for January and February and thus far we have been very lucky with sun, blue skies and warm temperatures. But we now have an understanding for why the island is set up to deal with huge amounts of wind (grape vines are grown close to the ground to protect from the wind) as the island is reasonably narrow, the wind seems to almost whip from one side to the other, I have learnt through the very sleazy Greek men’s stares not to wear skirts when these winds are in action! So the week has been spend hibernating in our cave, watching movies, reading (Dan is having a competition, with himself, to see how many books he can finish, he is so far on 3) and baking bread. Today however, enough was enough, and we ventured to the thumping metropolis of Thira, (I say thumping in a sarcastic manner, referring to the lack of goings-on in the capital, let alone, the island) we end up walking down to check out the old port. While we walk down we are stopped by a Greek man leading 6 donkeys, asking if we want a ‘lift’. Before I carry on I must explain what we saw on our hike back from Oia last week, it was four donkeys on a grassy verge on the side of the path, each with their right front and back legs tied together, to restrict their speed, movement and ability to run. Dan attempted to try and free one of them, but the donkey was so scared of him it tripped trying to escape. It was awful!! Kostas did mention to us that the owners of the donkeys on the island are very cruel to them. So, back to the donkey man in Fira asking us if we wanted a lift, we politely declined and carried on. The walk down was a winding path vertically down the cliff side. Once to the old port, we sat in the sun, tried not to freak ourselves out by looking at the protruding cliffs hanging above us, and at the huge rocks which had obviously ‘fallen’ in random places. The island is very amazing looking, with the cliffs lined with white squares atop a sheer drop. When you think about how earthquake prone the island is, and the ‘earthquake adaption’ methods most places put into place (like in New Zealand the houses being built out of wood so as to move with the ground) here this is completely disregarded. The houses are built with steel and concrete. However the cliff lining villas are all for the tourists and the locals live either in the middle of the island or close to the east which is by the seaside.
After this excursion we treat ourselves to a Gyros in Fira and buy a fish from the fish market for dinner, the cheapest one being €3.75.
Our plans for the rest of the year are slowly coming together with confirmation of our next port of call, Turkey! We ferry from Santorini to Rhodes on the 1st of March, have one night in an overpriced apartment (cheapest option as camping is illegal unless in a campsite, and there are none on Rhodes!) then ferry from Rhodes to Kos and another ferry from Kos to Bodrum. Once in Bodrum we catch a bus to Mugla where we are staying with a British Couple on their farm. They have 5 horses and the majority of our time will be spent looking after the horses, riding them and cleaning up their poop. This excites us ALOT. After this month we are hoping to have enough money to do the Lycia way, a 24 day hike from Oludeniz to Antalya. This is in hope we get a job we recently applied for in Italy, in the Italian Dolomite region, acting as mountain guides from May-September. Fingers crossed!!!

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2 thoughts on “Island living

  1. tanyakristin says:

    Nice plans! And nice food.
    I was told once that they use donkeys for cliff paths because they are stubborn and won’t walk on a path they dont think safe, but a horse can be led anywhere even an unsafe cliff path. Might be a take told to gullible travellers t

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