Nissyros was definitely the hardest place I've had to leave on this trip. It had a great vibe... very laid back with great food and mostly locals... all very friendly. On my last morning there I took a nice 2 hour stroll up towards the rim of the volcano on a really nice well marked trail... although quite steep in places. I was alone the whole time and it felt like I had the whole island to myself. I walked up to a little monastery and church called Evangelistra. When I got there the church was locked but the key was hanging in the door jamg just like the woman at the restaurant said it would be. So I let myself in and took a look around, rested a bit and locked up on the way out! Caught the 3:30 day tripper boat back to the town of Kardhamena on Kos and took the bus to Kos Town. Got on the 8pm ferry and arrived in Santorini about 20 past midnite.
There's nothing at the port of arrival except a bus into town, some car rental places and (luckily) people trying to sell rooms. So I found a room in a hotel for 25 euro but it was on the wrong side of the island from where I wanted to be... at this hour though I didn't much care. The ride from the port was insane. Santorini is also a volcanic island and to get from the port to the top of the island where all the towns are is almost straight up! Must have been 20 hairpin switchbacks. The hotel was nice enough with clean sheets and towels and I laid down and fell asleep immediately.
Woke the next day and took a 10 minute walk down to the beach... nice but not really where I wanted to be. After breakfast I caught the next bus to Ia perched on a cliff on the northernmost point on the island. Ia is probably the most photographed island in Greece. Whitewashed buildings, whitewashed churches with bright blue domes and lots of windy little cobblestone streets all overlooking the Mediterranean. Santorini is just one island of several in a ring around a huge ancient underwater caldera. Just beautiful.
The hostel was nice... very clean. Walked down to a little pebble beach on the far side of the island away from the cliff and went for a refreshing swim. Came back and walked out to the point with about a thousand other people who all some to the town of Ia just for the sunset. We weren't dissapointed. Got some great photos.
Next morning Yannick and I walked to the main city of Fira. It was a beautiful 3 hour walk along the cliff overlooking the caldera. The sun was hot but we had a nice breeze and I must have taken about a hundred photos along the way. We passed some gorgeous high end boutique hotels hanging to the cliff with terraces and swimming pools overlooking the sea... very nice. Fira was crazy busy... cruise ship central. Tons of very nice boutique shops and lots of overpriced cafes with a view. There are 3 ways to get to down to the port from Fira. Walk (very steep... about 45 minutes) take a donkey ride (looked like fun) or take a cable car ride down. The cable car was definitely the most popular choice... the line was about an hour long... glad I wasn't heading to that port! Although the cable ride looked like fun.
Bought my ferry ticket to Athens. I leave tonight on the 10:30 pm slow ferry so I'll arrive in Athens about 7am. I upgraded to a cabin with a bunk so I'll be able to get a good night's rest. ( I hope).
Santorini is nice... very highly rated. And for most people stopping for the day on a cruise ship or spending a week in a luxury hotel and shopping every day it's a great choice. But for me Nissyros is the place.