I nearly slept in this morning, I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm went off at 2:30am, turned the alarm off intent on getting up straight away and immediately went back to sleep. I woke up at 2:48am and luckily I had packed everything up, slept in my clothes and was ready to go. I trudged down to Victoria station with all my stuff and boarded a very overheated train to Gatwick airport. The ride took about half an hour and once there I had to transfer between terminals using this funny little monorail thing. I had a very early breakfast in one of the airport restaurants and waited around for my flight, which when I boarded, immediately fell asleep on!
I woke up and we were almost over Greece, I watched the fingers of the mainland, turn into the speckled sea of the islands and couldn't believe how fortunate I was to be coming back to the amazing place.
The plane landed in Santorini and I stepped onto the tarmac and onto the waiting bus, which took me to the smallest arrival terminal I've ever seen. I went through customs, which was really only one amazing looking Greek guy in a smart uniform making sure everyone had an EU passport and not even looking at the photo page. He gave me a cheeky grin when he saw me and motioned to his mate with his head when I walked past, as if to say, Check that one out. I'm going to have a wonderful holiday here, I thought to myself.
The lady from the hotel was waiting for me outside the terminal to take me to the small village of Karterados where I am staying. On the way she pointed out the mini mart, where I could hire a motor bike or quad bike (I said not on your life to both) and then the bus station to get the bus into town or any of the surrounding beaches.
I checked into my room, assisted by a very nice looking Greek boy, obviously the proprietors son and turned my phone back on, to be greeted with about six messages! I've gone for months with out hearing from anyone, it never just rains it pours. I spent a good two hours chatting to various people and skyping with Aaron, before heading out into town.
I walked back up the hill and to the bus station, I got the local bus with no problems to Fira, the capital of the island and started to attempt to reorient myself from my 24 hour trip here six years ago. The little white, winding streets were just as confusing as they always were, but I actually found the inclines a bit easier. I must be fitter now, than when I was 24…hard to believe. I came out at the same view point that I had basically run up to six years ago in order to watch the sunset, sunset which was again happening at that moment.
I had this weird notion that when I was traveling in Greece, especially Santorini six years ago, I may have found it so spectacular, because I didn't know any better, being my first big trip. A reasonable assumption I think, but an incorrect one. Years of Vagabonding and time on the road seeing the best the world has to offer, could never diminish a place this beautiful. The sunset I was viewing rivaled the best I'd seen in Africa, the cliffs were still like nothing I'd seen before I came to the island or since leaving it, the white city that hugged the cliff face in the failing light made even Venice look like one of Cinderella's ugly step sisters and the crater I was standing on made even the Jungfrau, the highest mountain in the Alps, pale in comparison to the power of the active volcano in the centre of the caldera.
However, unlike my last trip to the island, when I was skint broke, money was now not a problem, so I proceeded to set myself up in the prime position of the restaurant directly overlooking the sunset over the caldera. I ate my wonderful Greek food and watched the most spectacular view on the planet change from blue, to gold, to pink and then finally fade to black…..and then more lights appeared on the side of the caldera than stars in the sky. I finished my dinner and wandered around some more, in the process buying some groceries as my room has a fridge. All I really wanted to do today was dye my hair, so I went and bought hair dye, but not read this time, black. I feel a change in the air and I feel like a totally new person just being here. I also decided to get a much needed eyebrow wax and a pedicure, before getting on the bus to go back to Karterados to sleep off my incredibly long journey and prepare for some new and wonderful adventures.