With high hopes to visit the ancient city of Thera, we took off by ATV this morning to check off the last handful of sites we wanted to see before heading out. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to us, it was a 45 minute hike just to get to the ancient site, and with only an hour available to us before we had to return our rental, we didn’t have enough time. So we just stood at the bottom of the trail and used our imaginations. Haha. It was a steep uphill climb and it must’ve been about 90 degrees out, so I don’t think Doug would’ve made for a happy companion anyhow.
Instead, we just zipped around the island some more, just enjoying the breeze in our faces and hair, for the last time. We found a cool beach in Oia that we stopped at momentarily just to take it in, but again didn’t have much time to chill as we still had to return the ATV. Once we were back in Oia, we had one last destination to hit before leaving Santorini. We wanted to stop at the famed Ammoudi Bay, which we saw by sailboat three nights ago, to enjoy the view and to taste arguably the island’s freshest fish. A tiny gem of a fisherman’s village, Ammoudi was located right off Oia, but required 250 steep steps down to reach sea level. Along the way, I nearly slipped on the slick marble steps while dodging donkey doodoo in my flip flops (no hiking boots today!)…definitely required some concentration. The village was comprised of about 6 restaurants literally on the water – some tables were inches from dropping off into the sea and you could peer down and see TONS of fish! Doug actually had to rescue one table whose leg was teetering right off the ledge into the water. We picked Dimitri’s Ammoudi Tavern, on the recommendation of several friends, where I got to pick yet another fish, freshly caught just feet away, for them to grill and serve with lemon and olive oil. It definitely tasted as fresh as it could get. Very random, but we experienced our second power outage here, only briefly, as we had to carry lanterns into the pitch black bathrooms and had to wait a bit longer for our food so they could power back up!
Oddly, a number of our friends had mentioned getting Greek donuts (which we later confirmed were called loukoumades), so we went off on our mission to find these tasty treats. Even though I swear I saw signs for them earlier, both here and in Crete we were met with these blank stares as though I had three heads. We ran out of time in Santorini as we had to meet our shuttle to take us back to Athinios port, where we would catch our final ferry, this time to Heraklion, Crete. This was the ferry I was most excited about because we booked VIP seats! Essentially first class, this got us seats on the top deck, which was far less crowded and had really comfy reclining seats. After an hour delay in boarding, we passed out almost immediately, which was a pity because by the time we woke up, we were just catching the end of another epic sunset over the sea…on the other side of the ferry.
We arrived at Heraklion port around 8pm where we would only spend one night. Crete is a massive island in and of itself, and the research we did before the trip suggested we hunker down in one town and focus on one side of the island. Because we wanted to spend the majority of our time in western Crete, we chose the charming harbor town of Chania, but needed to spend one night in Heraklion since that was the only port that Santorini-based ferries serviced. By the time we arrived and checked in, it was getting pretty late and we were still drowsy from our nap (and Dramamine), so we decided to walk around a bit and just find a place to eat. We were situated pretty close to the commercial area, so we took in some of the Venetian ruins around us and checked out a bunch of cafes before choosing a tiny, casual spot on the main drag where Doug could get his mitts on another tasty gyro. Here, I ordered another gyro platter so I could make my own bites, but Doug managed to find a gyro pizza pita which he said was delicious.
We ventured on another fruitless search for donuts here before getting pretty sleepy so we headed to bed early as we had an early start for the next day.