Santo Winery

After early morning starts all the way around Britain and Ireland, it’s been great to take our time in the mornings and saunter down to Volkan on the Rocks for breakfast at a time that suits us. After breakfast, while it was still relatively cool, we walked down into the town to the Museum of Prehistoric Thera. We were pleased to find there wasn’t a single cruise ship berthed in the harbour, so the streets were not crowded with pushy people. What a nice change.

The museum would go close to being the smallest museum I have ever been in, but that’s because not a great deal of prehistoric Santorini has been unearthed to date. The museum features some of the artefacts that have been discovered by archaeologists in the ancient Minoan town of Akrotiri on the southern end of the island. The site was first excavated in 1967, and so far only 3% of what it contains has been unearthed and recorded. Akrotiri grew from a small Bronze Age settlement around the 21st century BC to a busy fishing village and Aegean sea port by the 16th century BC, at which time there was a volcanic eruption on Santorini that covered Akrotiri with ash. This ash helped to preserve many of the frescoes and much of the pottery and other artefacts used by the Minoan people who lived there. Today, some of what remains of the frescoes and pottery vessels are on display in the museum. It was an interesting visit, but not a long one.

Returning to our accommodation through Thera, Marg stopped at a jewellery store to look at some earrings. She removed one she was wearing, part of a favourite pair she had bought in the Cinque Terre, so she could try on one of the earrings she was keen to buy. We paid the shopkeeper and Marg slipped the original earring back into position. Around the corner we stopped for an ice cream, as it was getting quite hot. We finished our ice creams and walked home to our cave house. It was about 12.30pm now, very hot, and we were puffing and panting and dripping with perspiration. All we wanted to do was sit in the shade, have a cold drink, and get cool again. It was about this moment that Marg discovered that one of her favourite Cinque Terre earrings was missing. A quick search of bags and pockets confirmed that it was definitely gone, and a phone call back to the jewellery store where she had momentarily removed it proved to be fruitless.

So we immediately went back out into the hot sun and retraced our footsteps, all the way back into Thera, to the jewellery store where Marg had originally removed it. Our eyes scanned the rough cobblestone paths all the way, and I kept one eye on the walls just in case someone had found it and left it there for its owner to find. But unfortunately we made it all the way to the jewellers and nothing turned up. The jeweller hadn’t seen it. The lady in the ice cream shop remembered Marg and told her she was definitely wearing two earrings when we ordered the ice creams. So we made the long, hot, uphill slog back towards our lodgings once more. Marg was pretty disappointed. Just a short distance past the ‘white dress’ shop, I found it, sitting on a wall. Someone had picked it up and put it there. Marg had walked straight past and didn’t even notice it, but there it was. There are some good people in the world, aren’t there. Marg has resolved to pay it forward in her gratitude, so she’ll be looking out for an opportunity to do someone else a favour in return for the one a thoughtful stranger did for her. Of course, we both arrived home hot and sweaty once more, and this time we retreated to the cool of our air conditioned cave house and didn’t emerge again until 5.30pm, when it was slightly cooler.

Tess and Adam had visited Santorini on their European trip last year, and Tess recommended the wine tasting at Santo Winery. It sounded like a good way to wind up our time on the island. They recommended the ten wine flight and the cheeseboard, so we booked and ordered exactly as they had suggested. That’s when they surprised us with the news that we wouldn’t be paying for this one, which was incredibly generous of them. And, in fact, our dinner in Athens on Monday night is going to be covered by Casey and Nick, so we’re feeling very grateful to both of our girls and their guys.

We had a really enjoyable time at Santo, although at times the wind threatened to upend all of the contents of the wine glasses all over us, and it was fun and games for a while trying to arrange the glasses in a pattern where none would blow over in a gust of wind. The wind died down, however, and the wines ( a sparkling, four whites, a sparkling rose, a rose, two reds and a vinsanto dessert wine) were great. The cheese platter was massive and we never finished it, but it was just perfect for the wines.

We finished the dessert wine just as the sun was going down over the volcanic islands. Santorini sunsets, as you would imagine, are quite spectacular, so we watched as the sky took on an orange tinge for a time, before the sun slipped below the horizon and darkness began to fall. We waited a short while for our taxi to drive us back to Firostefani. He dropped us off in the car park and we walked the last couple of hundred metres along the path and up the thirty-nine steps for the last time. In the morning we will leave this beautiful place, bound for Athens.

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