We arrived in Santorini after a four hour ferry ride from Paros. Everyone we have met has raved about it, but both James and I agree that Mykonos and Paros have been nicer. Cleaner and less western feeling.
With Lonely Planet and Wikipedia as our guide (as our real one isn't very useful) we have still found out some interesting stuff! More about that in a moment... Given that I have been unable to update those around me about my general wellness and body alignment, I just needed to share my toe with you. Stubbed it climbing up a rock to cliff jump in Paros on our boat trip and then thought I might have broken it. It is now looking and feeling a little better and is no longer black.
Thank you for indulging me.
Back to Santorini. Its one of the most seismically active places in the world. See all that water in the photo below? That used to be land. Inhabited since c.3000BC the island used to be round. Then around 1650BC (they think) the biggest volcanic explosion ever, caused the centre of the island to sink in leaving a massive caldera. The water where the ferry is is approx 400m deep.
Check out a map to see the circle of land surrounding the caldera. It's thought that the resulting tsunami from the explosion was responsible for wiping out the Minoans on Crete.
That island behind the ferry is a dormant volcano that appeared out of the ocean around 1707.
1956 saw a massive earthquake that destroyed countless houses and killed scores of people. You can see from this photo how the fabulous clifftop towns like Thira and Oia cling to the side of the caldera.
Donkeys can carry you up the 500 odd stairs from the Port to Thira for 4 Euros. Or you can save them their toil and take the cable car for the same cost.