Santorini Quad Bikes and Three Sunsets

After arriving in Santorini we decided to hire a car, however, there were only large expensive cars available. We discussed it and decided a big car was not a good idea to manoeuvre around the streets or for parking…we walked away.

There were plenty of taxis at the rank so with bags placed in the racks on top of the taxi we headed for Villa Irini. At least is was a Mercedes so there was plenty of room for the 3 back seat passengers. The weather was hot and windy…very windy, unusually windy for this time of year. The locals told us it very unusual but it had been extremely hot so they’re happy…..I wasn’t – I don’t like dirt and dust flying into my eyes and mouth, my hair blowing all over the place. I end up looking and feeling like a wind blown wreck. Fingers crossed it would subside sooner rather than later.

The taxi fare from Santorini airport to the Villas in Messaria was 20 €.

We were checking in when Ty asked about hiring bikes and quad bikes (ATV). Receptionist said she could organise it for us and have them delivered…..everyone agreed that would be a good idea. LL and GG chose motor bikes at a cost of 110€ and 97€ respectively for 3 days rental. Cost to fill the bike was 7.50€. The Quad bike was 135€ for 3 days and cost 17€ to fill.

The bikes were delivered within 30 minutes and the ‘boys’ (using that term lightly) were eager to get out on the road. Our Quad had a box at the back to hold the helmets and handbags etc, the other motor bikes also had boxes at the back. Surprisingly the Quad was comfortable as there was a padded backrest. Wasn’t so keen on the vibration through my feet when I put them on the footrest…spent most of my time trying to keep them off the footrest as much as possible. This was also my first time wearing a helmet – not the best experience in the world….tight, hot, hard to get on and off AND it flattens your hair badly against your head….did not like helmet hair…needless to say I would spend the next 3 days with the worst hair ever!!! The wind didn’t help when I took the helmet off either…it blew the flat helmet hair in positions a comb couldn’t fix. Doubt I’d ever be a biker unless they bring out a helmet with a layer that protects the hair from being flattened, keeps the style in place and has vents for cool air to circulate. Thinking about that sentence, it wouldn’t matter biking is not my style. Sitting up behind the rider with a skirt or dress hitched up as far as you can to enable you to straddle the seat whilst trying to hold onto your scarf so a) you don’t choke or b) it doesn’t attach itself to a passing cars’ wing mirror and take you with it

We headed into Fira, parked in a dusty car park and wandered up to the main square to have a cold drink at George’s creperie. We arrived in the main square. Looked up and down, spied the chairs and tables where we thought George’s should be…..sat down …. No George. George’s cafe had closed. Oh well, they come they go….we found another cafe, perhaps not a friendly as George but still serving good food. Akinos (perhaps not the correct spelling) ran this cafe.
We didn’t go to Oia for the sunset this evening, there was no need, sunset on our balcony is just as good and less crowded. We didn’t need to jockey for position or worry about having hundreds of people in our photos. Sunset photos taken we’d decided to walk up to Señor Zorbas for dinner…..we’d eaten here previously with other friends and the food wasn’t too bad. Sort of Greek Mexican!!!!

Of course Lord Lunchalot (Troy) found that Sangria was on the drinks menu so when in Mexican Greece etc etc…..we ordered a jug. Four jugs later I’d tipped my glass over and cracked it….. I didn’t spill all the sangria but my companions wouldn’t let me finish my drink in case the glass cracked. Which meant I was marginally more sober than they were! Now remember I said this was a Mexican Greek restaurant so imagine the waiters face when a large group of people wandered in and requested pizza. It wasn’t even on the menu….the group wasn’t happy. The ladies were dressed in their best dresses, all blinged up, high heeled shoes, hair perfectly styled and throughly disappointed there wasn’t any pizza. The whole group was terribly overdressed for a very casual open air restaurant, hanging over a cliff edge, on an extremely windy night. Perhaps they’d come from a wedding. It was a funny night…lots of silly laughter. We recognised the older American waitress from our last trip…she was still very friendly, working very hard and being treated badly by the young Greek (assume) waiter. He could do with a bit of her lively personality…no need to take the world so seriously. We certainly couldn’t be accused of that tonight.

There were special celebrations for the volcano this evening…9pm fireworks which we watched from our table during dinner. Ty took photos, I abstained, as there only so many photos of fireworks you can take …they don’t tend to have anything different from other firework shows.

Dinner over, Sangria drunk, everyone a little tipsy it was time to head back to the villas and bed. We had quite a few laughs over dinner ….mostly at my expense I think!!! Dinner this evening cost 30€ each. We started the walk down the slight incline to the villas, we’re chatting and laughing when suddenly, and not unusually, I missed a little step in the footpath and stumbled, Gorging Gonz grabbed me just as my right foot twisted under me. Was it too many glasses of the lethal Sangria or not looking where I was going? Not sure about the answer to that although my companions will tell you it was the Sangria!! Whatever the cause my foot was extremely sore and blew up like a balloon in no time.

We sat on our balcony for a short time, coffees all round with GG and Ty settling in with cigars, although Ty only had a few puffs in his when he decided he didn’t really like it. Eventually we turned in for the night….us upstairs and the others to their respective studios on the side of the Caldera. It had been a long day…
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Monday morning and the windy weather is still with us! It doesn’t make it any more bearable because the locals are happy to have a respite from the hot dry weather they’ve been experiencing. Nor do the words ‘It’s unusual for windy weather at this time of year”…..sure, I know that, I’ve visited this beautiful island in August and September and the weather has always been fabulous.

Leisurely breakfast this morning on our balcony before we packed towels, sunscreen, cosies and placed them in our storage boxes at the back of our bikes. All packed, it’s time to head off for more food at our new friend Akinos who we christened George the 2nd. We ordered crepes and coffee then headed off to Kamari for a swim, sun bake and lunch at Zorbas Taverna. After a very pleasant lunch the guys ordered a double shot espresso, I didn’t want a coffee so the waiter suggested I try a frozen yoghurt.
Told me it was the best desert ever so I said ‘ok’… He was partially right, it was very nice and the small amount of chocolate drizzled over the top gave it a rich taste. He said if I didn’t like it I wouldn’t pay….I finished it then told him I didn’t like it…..needless to say he didn’t believe me.

Frozen Yoghurt

Frozen Yoghurt

After lunch we changed clothes again and headed to Oia via the mountain road….lots of curves and the quad steering has trouble turning corners easily, so did Troy’s bike so that was a challenge to ensure we took the corner, not the oncoming traffic or not over the barrier on the edge of the mountain. We found a parking space on the side of the road and wandered up into Oia. Aim was to photograph the three blue domed churches together. After much ducking and weaving between other keen photographers the aim was accomplished…time to head back to the pool at the villa…a few drinks, a swim and a short sun bake.

Oia and blue domes

Oia and blue domes

Leaving Oia the quad stalled a couple of times as we tried to turn in front of traffic……..in this instance it was a large bus with a patient driver. Not a good look as the other 2 watched and chuckled in amusement. How embarrassing holding up all the traffic and with pedestrians watching. Eventually the cars behind the bus started to toot horns which, had I been driving, would have made me so nervous I’d never have started the bike.

We didn’t feel like getting dressed up and heading backing into Fira and we had noticed a little eatery across the road with sign saying ‘authentic Greek food’ and the previous evening it was packed. ‘Shall we give that place a go?’ I asked everyone….’why not’ came the reply. Around 7pm we crossed the road and walked into the eatery. Only one other customer this evening, sitting on the back verandah, we were early for Greek dining time but we were a little tired and Gorging Gonz was a lot hungry. We were all a little hungry……

The place was very plain inside, nothing special but given the number of people in last night we assumed the food made up for the nondescript interior. The waitress handed us menus, somewhat limited but we all found something we liked….I’m the fussy one so I had a little more trouble than the males deciding. I chose the lamb chops….no price though…no matter they sounded very good. Waitress asked what I’d like…’Lamb chops please’ ‘We don’t have lamb chops…there is no price beside it and this means we don’t have’ replied our waitress. ‘Oh, ok’ I said with disappointment. I chose a salad instead. After the meal we thought we might look at the dessert menu ‘No, we have no dessert’. We all looked at each other, shrugged and said ‘we’ll have coffee then, what variety do you have’ ‘No, we don’t have coffee’. She started to walk away. ‘Could we have the bill please’ ahh no trouble with that request. Wouldn’t recommend this place at all.

Back to our balcony for instant coffee….not me though, I don’t do instant coffee!!!
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Our last full day in Santorini started with breakfast at George 2s establishment…..it was quite busy this morning so we were contemplating going somewhere else but he made room for us. We’d become popular customers however, clearly not as popular as we were with original George who supplied us with homemade liquor each morning after breakfast!!

Nothing much planned for today….just a wander through the laneways checking out the shops, clothing, jewellery and souvenir places available.eventually it was time for lunch so we found a little eatery just at the edge of Fira town which gave a good view of this little section of walkway between the shops. Food was very tasty, meal cost us around 20 euros each including coffee and dessert…..fabulous homemade ice cream who could resist…..not me.
We didn’t rush our meal, it was very relaxing sitting there in the shade watching the people passing by. Eventually it was time to leave, get back on our bikes and head off into the sunset…..not really but I like the sound of it….

After a little more window shopping we decided it was time for a siesta (don’t know Greek word for it) for a few hours and then a refreshing swim and drinks by the pool. Today was our anniversary and we had dinner booked at The Sphinx Restaurant this evening….same place we held our wedding dinner. Unfortunately the windy weather was still with us so it was going to be a bit blowy up there on the caldera edge.

On the way back to the villa Ty was pushing the quad bike to it’s limit I’m sure. When I thought we were going too fast I would dig him in the ribs….that was the only way to communicate whilst we were on the bike,which I’m sure he was happy about, and would probably prefer to communicate this way most of the time!!

We reconvened at the pool around 4.30pm for wine and nibblies.

All dressed up for dinner this evening, did my hair as best I could given it was still excruciatingly windy and I had to put a helmet on. Almost time to go for dinner Ty said ‘I’m going out to start the bike, don’t be too long’. A few minutes late I was ready and had decided to go without the helmet. A scarf would suffice to keep my hair in place tonight. I also had a dress on which I had to hitch up to my thighs…so here’s the picture…..I’m on the bike high heel shoes, dress hitched up to my thighs, a scarf around my head, wound around my neck and tied. Now there were still the edges of the scarf to deal with….they would just be flying in the wind which I’m sure looks very chic however the prospect of being attached to a passing bus mirror made me hold on very tightly to those ends!!

Managed to make it to the bottom of the hill below the restaurant without any wardrobe dramas and with hair relatively in tact…..although with Ty trying to break the land speed record on the little quad bike I was wearing the helmet home after dinner. Overtaking slow bike riders is fine until a bus decides to overtake a biker on the opposite side of the road! As well he and Gorging Gonz would enjoy overtaking each other.

Taken out for dinner on the Quad bike. Where's my Merc when I need it?

Taken out for dinner on the Quad bike. Where’s my Merc when I need it?

We arrived at the restaurant a little early in spite of the traffic jam getting into Fira. It only has small streets and a one way system to get into and around the main part of town.. There is no driving through the centre so everyone has to drive the same way route to get to where the action is.

We had a table right on caldera edge….lovely views over to the volcano and the cruise ships in port but oh so windy. The sunset, once again, was very good from this vantage point.

Luckily we all bought jackets with us to protect against the wind and we used them. We had a bottle of wine (shared – not all for me), cocktails spirits and 3 courses plus coffee throughout the evening. The food was good, the service was a little on the slow side. There was a family sitting near us from Canada and the woman had spent some time on Santorini, 27 years ago, as a backpacker. Now returning for a holiday with her teenage children and husband. Their son was thinking of travelling to Australia so he asked a number of questions about Australia which we duly answered but with a little Aussie humour thrown in!!

We were the last ones to leave the restaurant apart from the wind it was a relaxing evening. We thought the staff may have been wanting to go home as there was no one left to serve and they’d cleared and cleaned all other tables. Time to ask for the bill and I’m sure they breathed a collective sigh of relief when we did. The total wasn’t too bad, they also gave us a €35 discount…obviously an anniversary discount so the discounted bill was €270. We paid the bill and suggested the other two companions cover the tip. I had bought a pair of flats with us for coming home because I didn’t think I could get back on the quad in high heels plus my foot was still swollen and tender from the trip a couple of nights ago.

We wandered back down the hill to the bikes, jumped on and, in Ty’s words, Hells Ankles rides again!! Of course there was a race between GG and Ty to get home first….sensible idea to wear helmet home!!
Once again we finished the day sitting on our balcony chatting until, one by one, we toddled off to bed. Tomorrow was a busy day as we’re moving on to Mykonos.

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Our last morning in Santorini, last breakfast at George 2nds and our bikes are being collected at 9.00am….which means it’s an early breakfast at George’s. This morning 2 stray dogs, a male and a female, sauntered over and sat themselves down in the shade behind us. I had a cheese, ham, capsicum and tomato crepe even though I’d ordered a vegetarian crepe – I’m not vegetarian but I don’t really eat ham either. Rather than waste the ham I thought the dogs might appreciate a bite to eat. When George was otherwise engaged I threw each dog some ham which they wolfed down. I continued to do this until it was time for us to leave Fira and head back to the villa in Messaria. As we left I took my camera out to take a photo of the dogs but as I took the photo the female took exception to the camera and moved toward me with a low growl and then a warning bark. Needless to say I moved out of their way as quickly as possible. I’ve had typhoid shots, tetanus and diptheria but nor Rabies so best to err on the side of avoidance. The Greek cats are much more photogenic, they just look at you lazily or totally ignore you.

I can’t finish this post off without telling you that everywhere we went, whether it be a shop,or an eatery Ty told everyone we had been married on Santorini 5 years ago and we’re here to celebrate our anniversary. I’m sure he even told people in Athens why we were here. I threatened to get him a T-shirt with ‘ I was married on Santorini’ emblazoned across the front…..well, it would save him having to mention it to everyone he meets. Although he’d need 2 t shirts as we also had a ceremony in Vegas 2 weeks later!!! I probably shouldn’t be too harsh…..I’m lucky to have someone who loves and cares for me so much and is proud to have me as his wife.

Oh dear a soppy end to my post, apologies, I’ll be more careful not to fall into Mills & Boon ending in future……………

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