Sunday, July 19, 2015

Eurotrip 2015 - Day 6 (7/2/2015) - Red Beach

I was dressed and ready to go a little after the planned 8:30 meeting time, and Joe, Tina, and I went to the hotel's dining room to have breakfast.  This spread was probably more impressive than the one at Tashkonak - it certainly had more warm options - but, to Tina's dismay, it was comparatively lacking in the fruit department.  I stuck with toast and a slice of breakfast cake, as I wasn't quite sure how my stomach would react.

After eating and collecting our things from the rooms, we headed out on the ATVs (or quads, as the locals call them) to the Red Beach (Kokkini) at the southern edge of the island.  This was a fairly substantial drive (perhaps 35 minutes?), and I was fairly familiar with the quad by the time we arrived and parked.  I will say that they are a lot more quads on the island that I expected.  I didn't even know that renting them on this island was a thing until Joe suggested it based on a recommendation.  You don't need to pick one up at the airport, either - there are loads of places around offering them to rent.  Getting around on the roads while driving the quads is pretty good, especially once you get the hang of things.  Some cars, buses, and motorcycles do get a bit impatient with the generally slower moving quads (though there are some more experienced people who drive their quads as fast as, if not faster than, the cars), and will pass when they get a chance.  I can see the local drivers being sick of the tourists slowing traffic down on their quads, though.

Anyway, we made it to the beach area, parked, and then made the 10 minute walk up and down around a rocky hill to get to the beach.  We then set up shop close to the middle, after a false start where we moved some beach chairs that we should not have.  We lay out for a while, spent a bit of time in the water (I only went in barely knee high, since I can't swim, but Joe and especially Tina went all-in), and then lay out some more.  Joe and I also took a walk to the bar at the far end of the beach to dispose of banana peels and a nectarine pit (we had bought the fruits in the parking lot on the way in).  After sufficient time in the sun, we walked back to our quads and headed out in search of lunch.

We stopped in the nearby town of Akrotiri and had lunch at a place called Theofanis Family Tavern (I was "pulled in" by the young waiter who asked about my Sigur Rós t-shirt - apparently something like "siguros" means something in Greek about one who is sure of himself).  I had the Pasta Arabiata (I think?...anyway some penne dish with a fairly simple tomato sauce), and it was OK.  I might have finished it if I wasn't still being careful with my stomach.  Joe had the same thing, in addition to a Santorini Salad, and he didn't finish either.  We boxed them both to go, but ended up throwing them out by the end of the afternoon because the containers were being squashed with my bag in the small cargo box on the back of the quad.

We drove back to Fira/Thira/Thera with Joe/Tina leading the way (which was standard protocol the whole time we were on the quads), though we made a stop to check out a panoramic viewpoint on the edge of the caldera.  We parked the quads close to the town center, and then walked around for a bit before meeting back up around 5 PM (Tina wanted to walk on her own for a bit and do a bit of shopping).  We then drove back to the hotel, where I rested for a bit while the other two spent some time at the pool.  We then all showered and put on some longer clothing in preparation for the evening - the steady breeze at night makes it feel like the temperature is in the 60s, though it is in the low 70s.  In contrast, the high in the low 80s during the day can seem hotter at times (especially in an area with no/little breeze) due to the lack of clouds.

We intended to drive to Oia to watch the sunset, but the clerk at the hotel reception advised us that it would be too late (it was a bit after 7 PM) to make it there and get a good spot due to the traffic created by the mass amounts of people who have that same idea.  He instead made a reservation for us for the next day at a restaurant there with a good sunset view.  On his advice, we checked out a lookout point directly in front of the hotel and found that it provided a spectacular view of the sunset anyway - we ended up waiting there about an hour until the sun set at 8:39.  We then drove down to the center of town, parked, and walked out in search of dinner.  After walking around for a while and looking at some fancier places, we instead settled on a fairly inexpensive run-of-the mill place called Stamna Garden Tavern.  There I had the falafel plate, which was merely OK - but I didn't have high expectations.  We then headed back to the hotel, arriving around 10:45.  It was time to call it a night, as we planned to meet the next day for breakfast at 8 before going on a short hike.


An album of all my favorite photos from the trip can be found here:
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