Before I start describing this absolutely beautiful place, I thought I should say a few words about the social aspect of this trip. That way you get a little more complete picture of what was going on between the museums and the archaeological sites and all that other jazz. There were no freshmen on the trip, and only one other study abroad--so most of the people already knew each other at least to some extent. But it was really cool in that they weren't exclusive at all. I had a really fun time getting to know new people and hanging out with them. I made some new good friends, and had some really good conversations. I'll be getting some pictures of them up here and telling you who they all are when I can. This one is of a few of them:
from left to right: ximena, emily, alejandra, angela, stephanie, marta. And I know what you're thinking--they're all girls. I know, I know. Well there weren't that many guys on the trip and well, I just, well...you know...made friends with a group of girls ok! back off! So, Santorini. This place is so incredibly beautiful I can't begin to tell you. We stayed there for a total of three full days, which was quite a lot of a pretty small island, and since it was probably the least "academic" place that we went to. I am not complaining by any means. I would have loved to spend weeks there. I hope that some of these pictures can give you a little taste of what this place was like. Here more than anywhere else I was overwhelmed by the beauty I saw.
The first day we got in just after lunch (souvelaki!) and then took a hike up this little mountain over to a beach on the other side. There was a beach on our side too, but the hike was nice. Along the way I had a really good conversation with my new good friend Angela, and we all went for a swim in the Mediterranean. An interesting thing about Santorini, is that it is completely volcanic--formed form a volcanic eruption long ago. There is the volcano in the middle, which has sank, turning it into its own little island. That is surrounded by the semi-circular island of Santorini, with cliffs on each of the interior shores. So, because of that, on the back sides all of the beaches are black sand. It's very cool. After our nice swim we headed back to dinner and to our amazing hotel, as you can see from the view from my balcony:The second day we had a guided bus tour of the island, where I learned a lot of interesting facts about Santorini and even just Greece in general. We also went to a museum, and then spent the rest of the day exploring the capitol city--Fira.
Probably my favorite day of the whole trip was the third day in Santorini. In the morning we took a boat trip around the island and into the center volcano, which we hiked up. Then from there we sailed to these natural hot springs created by the volcano. We jumped off the boat and swam to them--and unfortunately they weren't really that hot and the water was crazy orange from the sulfur. Can that be healthy? From there we went to another island on the other side of the volcano (would complete the circular shape around the volcano). There we road donkeys up the steep hill to a restaurant on top overlooking the rest of the islands. The boat then took us to the main island to Oia, the most picturesque city on the island. We had three hours, and I spent all that time wandering around and taking pictures until the sunset. I sat out on a cliff and watched the sun go down over part of the island, casting a red light across the city back behind me. It was beautiful. We left the next day to head back to the mainland, much to our sadness. It was an 8 hour boat trip, which was actually a lot of fun. It took us back to Athens, from which we departed the very next day to go to Delphi. I'll cover from there and probably the rest of the trip in the next post.