A Greek Odyssey – day 3

Strong winds, red sand and high seas

In bed last night, the victim of a losing battle between the (high) ambient air temperature and a too efficient air conditioning unit, I lay not quite shivering, but a little chilly, under my sheet listening to the wind howl and swirl outside our room – I could have been at home, in grey England in November. When morning came, I expected to see the balcony (and my towel and trunks left out to air) soaking wet but throwing back the shutters the sun streamed in, along with a glorious warmth, every thing was still intact, but the breeze could be described as “stiff” as I headed to the sea for my morning dip, mindful that I might have to be extra careful in the inevitable swell of the sea.

But as I reached the beach, the water was becalmed, millpond still and I swam out further and deeper in the crystal clear waters, the sandy bottom visible a long way beneath my feet. I found a spot to exit the water and scramble up the cliff face and have my first leap, then dive, into the water below. I remained a little confused as to why the strong wind – albeit blowing in a different direction from before – was not disturbing the surface of the sea, but I didn’t give it too much thought. A perfect start to another perfect day …

All roads lead to Rome Thira

The plan for the day was to explore the south of the island, and the Red Beach in particular, described as stunningly beautiful – red cliffs enclosing a beach of red (volcanic) sand. The excellent Santorini bus system is pretty simple – you can get to anywhere on the island, as long as you start in Thira, and pretty much every journey – whether two stops or twenty – will cost two euros. And they don’t hang about – the bus turns up, they corral and cajole you in, the doors close, and off you go. Dilly dally about and a helpful, but stern, bus conductor will chastise you and hurry you up. Once on route, the conductor comes round for your two euros, and helpfully shouts out the name of each location as you arrive at the stop. So first we got a bus up to Thira, then we got on another down to Akrotiri, the jumping off point for the red beach.

It was a 500m walk along a dead end road, and then a dusty, (slightly) difficult undulating track for another 500 m to the beach.

A number of rock falls had narrowed the beach, and we trekked to the far end to find a spot to park ourselves for the day.

The sea was rough, the red sand was baking under bare foot and whilst there was a rugged charm to the beach, I don’t think I’d describe it as beautiful. The rough seas and rocky foreshore made getting in and out of the sea tricky; I’m happy and confident in the water and quite enjoyed the odd breaker crashing down over my head, but I wouldn’t have wanted to take responsibility for anyone else in the water, and Becky wasn’t a fan, not going beyond knee deep depth, but still getting totally splashed and submerged. I’m glad we went, as I have now seen it (FOMO kicking in here) but if I’m honest, not the most beautiful Greek beach – one you could happily miss.

So we didn’t stay as long as we might and caught the bus back to Thira. As the road ascended towards the capital, we found ourselves in low cloud, with mist drifting across the landscape – not the sun kissed Greece we’ve come to know and love.

But back at base – Kamari beach – the sky was blue and the temperature high. We enjoyed an ice cream as we walked back to our apartment and then enjoyed the more tranquil waters of our pool under the late afternoon sunshine.

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