Amy and I decided to keep the ATV for another day, thinking that it would be much easier to be able to travel whenever we pleased as opposed to trying to plan our day around the limited bus schedule. We had reserved a spot on the 2:00 PM boat for the volcano and hot springs tour. We made our way down the long, winding stone path to the Old Port, which served as the only way in and out of Santorini up until just a couple of decades ago.
A small vessel, filled with mostly tourists, took us on a half-hour trip out to a barren island that contained two volcanoes, one dormant and one still active. The barren volcano was basically right off the boat; Amy and I took a quick look at it and then continued on the long hike up to the active volcano. We were left less than an hour and a half to make our way to the other side of the island (quite a long hike) and catch a glimpse of the active volcano, then make our way all the way back to the boat. We aren’t quite sure if what we saw was actually the volcano! Amy and I were expecting a huge volcano with a visible crater at the top, and we didn’t happen to see anything that resembled that, unfortunately. The entire island seemed to be made up of red and green grasses interspersed with sections of jagged, volcanic rock. It was incredibly interesting nonetheless.
The boat took us on another quick trip to a much smaller island. Here we were given the option of jumping into the Aegean Sea and swimming our way over to the hot springs in a small cove named Palia Kameni. Quite a large group of those on the boat decided to take the plunge, and we all begin stripping down to our bathing suits. I knew the water right off the boat would be cold, but I wasn’t quite prepared; as soon as I hit the water it took my breath away. It was a quick swim to the hot springs and, hopefully, relief from the frigid water. Relief we found, and we basked in the abnormally warm water with a view of the small church of St. Nicholas. All the swimmers around me and I were petrified of entering the cold waters of the Aegean Sea again, so we took our time until we mustered up the courage to make the sprint back to the boat.
After a return to the Old Port and a ride up the cable car to Fira, Amy and I ended our day with a quick trip to the Koutsoyannopoulos Winery & Wine Museum, supposedly the only of its kind in all of Greece. We went through an underground museum, complete with 24 separate exhibits detailing the life of Gregory and Dimitri Koutsoyannopoulou, the original founders of the winery in 1870. The museum illustrated their lives and the techniques and machines they used to make their different wines. At the conclusion, we were able to sample four different wines and learned about the different techniques used to make each one. George Koutsoyannopoulos, the fourth generation of the Koutsoyannopoulou family, still owns and operates the winery today.
A view from the Old Port all the way up to Santorini. Many tourists ride donkeys from the bottom to the top.
The Koutsoyannopoulos Winery & Wine Museum. Excellent museum and excellent wine!