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I'm a 21-year-old journalism student. I spent last semester living in Florence, Italy. These are my adventures.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday in Santorini

For our first full day in Santorini, we set out to find a beach — red or black. It really didn't matter. Getting ready in the morning was hectic. Four girls to one bathroom is bad enough in Florence. Six was a nightmare, and for a few minutes we were worried Jessica wouldn't make it to the busstop by 11:30 a.m.
A few minutes behind schedule the bus came flying around the corner and screeched to a halt in front of us. We were trying to remember the name of where we wanted to go when the bus doors clanged open and the driver barked at us to get on. We all scrambled aboard, and it lurched ahead as we tried to find our seats. A man in the aisle taking money for tickets barely moved to the side for us to clamber around him. I bruised my leg in the all-around terrifying process. We gave him our money and decided we'd just get off when we saw water. The island was small enough, so we weren't too worried. About 15 minutes into the ride, the driver rounded a corner and pulled to a stop. Ticket man bolted off the bus and into a store nearby. I was curious as to why the driver was able to find patience to wait for him. Then, about five minutes later, he came back double-fisting sandwiches. The bus started forward as soon as the driver had a sandwich in hand. Not sure why he couldn't wait for that sandwich because not two minutes later, the bus took a sharp left and stopped abruptly. Everyone climbed off. We didn't see a beach, so we weren't moving. 
"Kamari!" ticket man hollered expectantly.
We played dumb.
"KAMARI!" he nearly shrieked, tilting his head down and raising his eyebrows as he looked over the rims of invisible glasses. 
All right buddy, we got it. We climbed off and the bus moved on, belching out black smog. Welcome to Kamari.
Thankfully, it didn't take long to find a beach. We walked half a block, turned right and saw blue paradise at the end of the road.

We got closer and realized we had found the black beach! The water was a brilliant clear blue. We eased our way across the rocky beach to dip our toes in the water. Looking back at photos, I still can't get over how clear the water was.

I spent the next couple of hours sleeping, writing, reading and listening to music as the sun slowly colored my skin. It was glorious. 

After a while it was time to find food. Caitlin had packed a lunch, so she held down the fort while we began our surprisingly challenging search for food. March is clearly the off-season for Santorini. The town was completely empty.

There were two boutiques, one restaurant and a grocery store open. Everything else was boarded up tightly. We didn't mind walking around for food though, as everything was still beautiful — and very Greek.

We eventually did find the lone open restaurant. It was cheap and delicious — a veggie pita for €1.50. Can't beat that. We stopped at the grocery store on our way back to the beach. I was looking for lemon juice for Caitlin to lighten her hair, but the woman at the store just kept showing me lemonade. I settled on real lemons. Bethany and I brought back three ice cream treats from which we let Caitlin choose her dessert. I sat in utter bliss on the rocky beach eating my ice cream as it melted in the sun.

A line of huge rocks jutted out from the coast to our left. 

Of course I wanted to climb out there. Caitlin and Amy came with to explore. I blazed a trail scrabbling over the rocks. Caitlin followed shortly, and Amy, not a fan of heights, stayed at a rock safely surrounded by earth. 

I sat next to Caitlin for a while, but there was one rock farther taunting me to reach it. I spent a good 15 minutes getting laughed at as I tried to figure out my way over. I could reach the first rock under the water, but it was so slimy I felt like I was ice skating as soon as my outstretched foot reached it. I'm no good at ice skating, so I eventually admitted defeat.

We talked Amy into joining us at the tip of the rocks, and I escorted her over the boulders to our perch. Unfortunately, just as soon as we sat down, we heard Kate, Jess and Bethany yelling for us to come back. It was time to go. We climbed back to the beach and met them at the road.
We headed back to the bus stop with absolutely no idea as to when it would come — and even if we had a time, we figured it would be late as everything in Greece seems to be. We rounded the corner to find a man at the busstop. He spun around to see us and got so flustered he dropped and broke his bottle of beer. He was rather strange, but told us when the next bus would be coming and talked to us for a while. Eventually a black car with tinted windows pulled up out of nowhere to pick him up, and just like that, he was gone.

We also made friends with this stray dog at the busstop:

We still had 15 minutes before the bus was supposed to get back, so I went around the corner to one of the boutiques with Kate, Amy and Caitlin. The door was wide open and the closed sign we saw earlier was nowhere to be seen, but the lights were off and there wasn't an employee inside. It was really strange. I took a look at a couple of price tags and bowed out. Caitlin was right behind me.
We had only been gone for about five minutes, but we looked up the block to see a bus coming.
"BUS!" we screamed back to Kate and Amy before tearing down the street. Bethany and Jess came running around the corner toward us in a panic. "BUS BUS BUS."
I nearly tipped over as I leaned in circling around to the door of the bus. We crashed into each other as we all reached the door at the same time and fumbled on board. Of course it was early this time. And of  course it didn't leave for 10 minutes after we got on.

We weren't too familiar with where we were staying yet, so we all kept an eye out for our villa. When we saw it, we all started frantically pressing the "stop" buttons, but nothing happened. So we all stood up and started moving forward, hoping to get his attention. He was so engrossed with his conversation with the passenger in the front seat that he didn't see us until we were several minutes past our stop. We were basically halfway to Fira again. We walked back and collapsed in our room.
Just as I sat down, someone spotted Poppy (one of the owners) outside waving us down. She asked us to come to the lobby. She had prepared something for us.
At first we were really nervous. The night before we had broken a plate — or rather Caitlin did. She saw a spider and had a bonafide fit over it, flailing her arms and knocking Amy's plate out of her lap. It crashed to the floor with her sandwich and shattered. 
We filed into the lobby and sat at a table she gestured toward. But instead of a scolding, we got dinner! They had prepared dinner for us out of the blue. They gave us bread, beans and pasta with pork! The beans were absolutely delicious. All the meat-eaters seemed to enjoy the pasta. 
It was absolutely adorable. They were beaming with happiness to give us dinner. I felt like I was at home.
We thanked them over and over again before heading back to the room to relax for the night.

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