Crete and I left parted as friends. And I departed for Santorini by ferryboat. I believe when lat we spoke, they had emailed me to let me know that my ferry had been cancelled, but to just come down to the dock to arrange for another one. And that's what happened. The ferryboat, by the by, was ridiculously decked out (pun intended).
And so I arrive. The boat docks and there's not really anything there except for the ferry terminal itself, a handful of restaurants and lines of buses. There are also a handful of cars, but it's been announced that only inhabitants of Santorini are actually legally allowed to drive from the bay up the side of the mountain and into town. The switchbacks were not only impressive, but the fact that it's primarily giant public and tour buses zig-zagging all day is just astonishing.
As one might expect, it's not that plain and straightforward to plan how to use public transit in a foreign country on an island from back in Chicago. I'm winging a lot of this because that's all you can do. So I got off the ferry and it's friggin crowded. Guys are shouting, "I rent you car! This much!" Which I don't understand due to the aforementioned fact that it'd be illegal for me to drive up that hill.
Nevertheless, I find a bus that says it's a local bus. Apparently it's going into Thira. I realize that this is not the part of the island where my hotel was. So I tell the driver where I'm going and ask him how to get there. I get a, "Yes, yes," and a hand motion to just get in the bus. Fine. I pay the fair and get on.
The bus only made one stop. Thira. Now, prior to the trip, I also had no idea which villages had what and where I should go. So this was actually helpful that I wasn't where I wanted to be. The bus drops us at the island bus depot. What that actually means is that there's big parking lot where these giant buses are magically backing in. There's a tiny kiosk with bust schedules posted. I check the schedule. Perfect. There's a bus from Thira to Perissa, which is where I'm going.
(Side note: I'm in Milos as a write this. It's early-ish morning and I just leaned over my balcony enjoying the beautiful view of local flowering trees seeing down to the beach. And my downstairs neighbor came out of his room, onto his balcony. Butt. Ass. Naked. So I sat back down to write some more. Good morning.)
I get on the bus to Perissa. The last stop is Perivolos. Which is also great because that's where my hotel is. The ride is long and winding. And warm. Despite the fact that there is air conditioning going, it's hot. And all the bus drivers smoke inside the bus, which mixed with winding roads and the hotness, I'm a little woozy. But so it goes.
I am dropped off at the beach. The Perivolos beach is quit remarkable. It's a black beach, which I didn't even realize was a thing.
I find my hotel. This place has the friendliest staff I've ever met. "Would you like to sit down and we will call you in a moment," I was told when someone was already at the reception desk and they could clearly see I'd been hauling around my giant backpack all day. I get to my room, ditch my stuff and head for the pool.
I grab a lounge chair and sit down. There's a young couple sitting next to me and they're clearing from England. And by, "clearly from England," all I mean is that they had accents. It's funny when traveling abroad - I get so used to hearing voices and just not understanding what anyone is saying that when I hear English my head turns like a curious dog.
"Well you didn't waste any time. You just walked in 15 minutes ago," the guy says to me.
"I've got priorities."
He and I chit-chat a bit, but the woman he's with isn't that chatty. At this point I don't want her to feel like I'm flirting with him, so I go grab a beer and keep to myself for a bit. I take a dip in the pool. You know, living the dream. I get chatting to the couple again once it becomes apparent that they are just friends and, in fact, he's gay.
"Have a drink, Emma. You're much nicer when you're drinking." Thus solving the fact that she seemed a bit cranky/anti-social. I know, this is all very interesting.
Point here: I made two friends that day.
Simon had to go to a wedding elsewhere on the island, leaving Emma and I to chat by the pool, drink pitchers of wine and head out to dinner. We went to a restaurant serving traditional Greek food. I'm trying to shy away from places that might serve food of which I have specific expectations. (Have you ever ordered Mexican food in Ireland? Disappointment learned forever.)
I ordered what are apparently traditional Santorini tomato balls. Hearing an English girl say, "Tomato balls," is incredibly entertaining. When I laughed, she said, "Tomato, tomato." But you know, "Tomato, tomoto." Which I feel like is a solid win for the day. When do you actually get someone with an English accent saying that to you. Hardly ever, that's how often. Back to it. So tomato balls are just slices of tomatoes fried up in batter. Like a lot of batter. They're delicious. Also ordered fried cheese, which is just as expected: a giant slab of fried cheese. And the grand finale was the lamb. So far, my favorite dish I've had.
The menu was half the fun. There was something called, "Sausage Village." I asked the waitress what that was and she just pointed to a picture of sausages. I wanted to ask what makes it a village, but didn't. Because, come on, Sara, be somewhat respectful about sausage jokes. They also use the letter "p" instead of "b" in situations and I can't figure it out. Like it was, "Lamp," on the menu. And later I saw a sign that said, "Don't climp."
All in all, a busy traveling day, but a really great one. I'm not especially outgoing with new people and it's hard to make friends, but this was the perfect situation. And hey, it's all about getting outside of your comfort zone, right?