Sunday, July 14, 2013

Santorini Saga: The Epic Hike From Oia to Fira

Mamma Mia. Sisterhood of Travelling Pants. Both movies bragged beautiful filming sets.

Greece is in my list for this Europe II adventure because of Santorini.

I got roundtrip tickets from Athens to Santorini for € 130 – that’s just € 65/way. Alternatively, you can also take a ferry but that takes at least 8 hours. The flight to Santorini took 30 minutes. Take-off. Short flight. Landing.

View from the plane. I was so excited when I saw all these white houses!
Upon arrival, we took a cab going to our hostel in Santorini – “Caveland”. The cab cost €15. You can also take the bus for a cheapo price but that takes time. 

Santorini Airport

Late lunch. Rest. Sunblock. Water. Maps. I changed into a nicer picturesque-worth outfit  (I know my priorities). Grandpa in Caveland (I’m terribly sorry but I can’t recall his name) advised us to do the walk in reverse. Most tourists start out in Fira then trek all the way to Oia. He said that reversing the route would be better. The harder parts of the trek are in Oia, and the easy trek is in Fira. Hoardes of tourists plan to wait for the sunset in Oia, so it would be tough to find your own spot. You can google photos. He also said that we would probably end up having dinner in Oia. “You go to Oia, you take photos, you don’t buy anything! Everything is expensive!”
Santorini map

We had to catch the bus in Fira that will take us to Oia. But first, we had to get out of the village. It was a scenic uphill walk. Uphill guys. So make sure you had your lunch. The walk from Caveland to Fira took us around 25 full minutes.
There's a street windmill

The bus to Fira: €1.60. Check the schedules. Take a photo. Tickets are sold in the bus. It was a 40-minute bus ride. I had a nice nap.

Walang patawad. Pose sa bus. Practice lang.

 Oia .... I have no words. Postcard-worthy. This is Santorini. This is why I am in Greece.

The weather was perfect. Lucky!

Windy shot. The purple camera case made it to Santorini!

Didn’t have a lot of time exploring Oia. We decided to come back the next day to explore the town in a slower pace. We had three hours of daylight left for the walk and we wanted to be as close to Fira as possible by sunset. Didn’t have time to locate a toilet nearby. So Marj held her bladder.

The paved roads of Oia
The challenge: finding the trail path. Just ask around for directions. The locals and tourists were pretty nice and helpful.

This old bus is a landmark in Oia. The trail going to Fira can be found after this bus.

There was a couple who came from the opposite direction (Fira to Oia). They asked, “Do you plan to walk all the way? Good luck!”. They took our photo. They were carrying souvenir bags. I guess they walked all the way from Fira without expecting that the trek would take so long.

Looking back at Oia. The start of these stunning views.

This is one trek that I am glad I didn’t do alone. I don’t know how I could get stunning shots if I did the trek solo. There were not a lot of trekkers. I had no place to put my tripod.
Standard pose overlooking Oia. Easy trek so far.

Absolutely stunning view. Just be careful not to lean to far.

 Everybody talks about how beautiful the view is. Nobody talks about the hardships of getting there. Oo, hardships talaga.


 There were trail marks from Oia to Fira.


I had to coach Marj how to take my photos without her shadow...

This is the legendary orange stand. I read in Tripadvisor that you will need to get some orange juice from this stand when you trek from Fira. Not in our case. We had water, and we had to manage our bladder.
Orange stand in Satorini. They have no toilets.

Grandpa warned us of his hill/rock/mountain part where there are two paths. The one on the right (point of view is from Oia) is the riskier route – steep, can be slippery and windy. The left route is the longer route but the safer one. We chose to be safe. The wind was howling. 

There weren't a lot of tourists. We took a chance at reading the signs. Hoorah! We found the lone church.

Swanky accommodations. I'd like a photo with you. 

Sunset, wind-blown hair

That's the handle of my camera. It was so windy!

Don't forget to look back. The view is stunning.
Somewhere in Imerovigli

Finally, civilization awaits.
Found a nice Tripadvisor recommended restaurant in Firostefani. Tired and famished, we ordered well and had some wine. The bill: 42.50 euros for our entire meal. Pricey.

I was tired and toasted. Basag from the trek. I wore my shades para fresh-looking pa rin. Cheers!

We told the owner-waitress that we hiked all the from Oia. She took pity on us. We had free dessert. Is it normal that people in Greece give out free dessert? We had the same experience in Athens.

Trekking tips:
  • The trek is not difficult. Most parts are flat, soil, grass or cobblestones.
  • The difficult part of the trek is in Oia. A bit steep at times, but manageable. It can be slippery because of the stones.
  • Wear appropriate footwear. We saw some who were wearing flip-flops. They survived, but I bet they were uncomfortable. The fitflops may not survive the whole trek. I wore “cross-training” shoes from Merrell. They survived. Marj planned to wear her flipflops but Grandpa from Caveland advised against it. She trekked in her low boots. She survived.
  • Find a toilet in Oia. Empty your bladder. There will be no toilets in sight for the next 3-4 hours.
  • Manage your water intake. Stay hydrated but again, remember that there are no toilets.
  • Sunblock, shades, and a nice outfit.
  • Camera. Make sure you have your extra battery charged. Your memory cards with ample space. 

Would I do this again? Definitely. 

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