Saturday, June 18, 2011

Santorini Part I: The red, the white and the black

Thinking of Santorini puts a smile on my face. Especially after an uninspiring couple of days at Mykonos, we were looking forward to a more delightful experience at Santorini, the so-called Honeymoon Island (who can argue against it) boasting the picturesque caldera which was formed by the Santorini volcano. It's also littered with archaeological sites, sprawling vineyards, colourful (!!) beaches and of course, a breathtaking (depending on your luck) sunset.
Its many old abandoned buildings also satisfied my photo-taking crave
As there's too much to share, I have decided to split my coverage of Santorini into 2 posts, with this first one being about the colourful beaches on the island. You might know from my previous posts that both Li Li and I are really not beach people. We do not know how to swim and absolutely detest burning ourselves under the sun. It takes a lot for beaches to impress us, and so they did......

Before I go on, I have to warn everyone that the beaches in Greece tolerate nudity, so if you have been longing for a moment of complete public liberation (or humiliation), please go ahead. But guys, if you are actually looking forward to seeing hot chicks in the buff, I wish you the best of luck, as you would probably see 3 grandmas baring their bodies before you see a decent-looking babe willing to flaunt anything of note.

See - It's really red!
Don't ask me why, but Santorini boasts white, red and black beaches (though it surely would have something to do with the volcano's lava and ash). The red beach is situated at village Acrotiri, which also has an ancient city (which was to our frustration, closed during our visit), restaurants (commonly known as Tavernas in Greece) dug into rock, and the supposed white beach (which did not leave an impression).

Logically, the beach wouldn't be blood red of course, so we did not go there with overly-high expectations, but it was really quite fascinating when we finally saw it.
Red Cliff appears in Greece
As you can see, the shallow beach is right under a dramatic red cliff and leads immediately into crystal blue waters. The sand is not fine and the beach tattered with uneven rocks, but you definitely need to add it into your itinerary, even if it's just for a few minutes to take some pictures.

An abrupt door cut unto the red cliff, I wonder who lived here?
 After witnessing a red beach, we were naturally curious to see what a black beach would look like, so we went to Kamari, one of the more popular black beaches in Santorini, and boy, it sure did not disappoint.

Happily playing with the black sand
Unlike at Acrotiri where the beach was really just a narrow strip of rocky flatland leading almost immediately into the sea, the beach at Kamari looked exactly like a standard beach resort, just BLACK. The coarse sand and gave us a challenging hot foot massage as we battled our way towards the water, where the sand became shiny smooth black pebbles.

Happy to be at Kamari
Though the colourful beaches at Santorini were not as breathtaking as the caldera or as majestic as the Acropolis, they were definitely unforgettable eye-openers which I would recommend to everyone who plans to visit Santorini.

So here's a picture which summarises what our visit to the black beach was all about:

Smooth shiny black pebbles near the water
leading up to smaller coarse grains of ash-gray sand,

leading up to my bag and our slippers
leading up to a Mediterranean lady in a black bikini

leading all the way to the Greek flag!

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