With Santorini being on my bucket list for so long, I had built in my mind what I imagined it to be like. I imagined quaint, traditional Greek villages nestled on cliff tops, beautiful bright blue domed Greek Orthodox churches and generations going about their daily lives.
It seems that pretty much all the locals – not to mention a large number of people who were there for the summer season, were working in the hotels, shops and tourist attractions, so local villages felt pretty empty.
I decided I needed to go on an adventure so caught the local bus to an area I knew had a hill lined with windmills in various states of disrepair – I’ve been working on a documentary project about windmills for a couple of years now so I couldn’t miss such an opportunity!
I ended up taking a wrong turn up to the hill, and found myself walking through a building site, which turned into a local farm, which turned into a scrap yard, and finally a dirt path with a rather large billy goat tied up and stood in the middle of the road. Now I’m no goat expert, but this one had big horns and I didn’t fancy being butted by it, so I cautiously made my way past – I think he was more scared of me! It wasn’t until I reached a wire fence that I realised I’d made a wrong turn, and that I’d have to run the goat gauntlet again.
Making it past the goat I got a strange look from a local farmer busy skinning his catch, and an even funnier look from the guy at the bottom of the hill and his REALLY old tractors. I was glad to find the main road and try again, unscathed by Mr Billy Goat Gruff!
FINALLY I found the road I should have been on – apart from the really large bloke on the tiny moped tear-arsing down the hill it was a much more civilised affair!
I came to my first windmill on the hill – derelict but still with some of its inner workings, and couldn’t believe my luck when I could climb the stairs inside and get a view from the top! I made my way past crumbling windmill after crumbling windmill before making my way back down to try to find the bus.
Of course I took another wrong turn and ended up in a delightful bakery, where a local offered me a ride on his motorcylce to get me to the village where I should have been for the bus. Politely declining I sat on the bench outside with a can of pop wondering how they get away without wearing helmets over there.
Obviously I’m writing this so you’ll be relieved to know I did eventually find the bus!
The next day I went on another adventure and found a Greek fishing port, where nobody spoke a word of English, but somehow I managed to smile my way into being allowed to take some photos of the fishermen mending their boats and nets.
I also visited Oia to see the amazing sunset, but so did 1000’s of others, so it really wasn’t what I expected, so I found a quiet spot away from the crowds and watched the sun set behind a converted windmill. Very apt.
Whilst I loved my stay in Santorini, I’ve been, I’ve seen, and I’m ready for my next adventure, wherever that may take me.