I woke early and checked the weather. It was good again so I slipped out without waking the others, which was difficult because the door locking mechanism was clunky and made a lot of noise and I sat around the pool reading again.
There you go I had established a routine again in only two days. Later when everyone was awake and I had taken food orders I slipped down to the harbour to a busy bakery to buy breakfast. Croissants and donuts on the balcony and I had a beer to wash it down. Then during the morning I had two more beers while Sally and Charlotte went to the pool and I sat in the sun with Bill Bryson.
When the beer supply had run dry I joined the others by the pool and tried to extend my sun tan to those bits down the side of the body that remained stubbornly white. This had happened because I had spent a lot of time reading with my arms clamped to my side and denying access to the sun. This had the unfortunate effect of making me look like an Arsenal supporter. It really is difficult to contort your body to catch the sun in these awkward spots without looking for all the world like an upturned paraplegic crab!
I had limited success and quickly got bored so I turned instead to taking pictures of the girls jumping in the swimming pool and then talking to the American couple again. The pool terrace was in a terrific location, high up and overlooking the harbour and the sea beyond. The pool was good too, a reasonable size with clean clear water and big enough and deep enough to have fun in. After lunch on the hotel terrace the owner took us to the harbour to catch our ferry.
We watched as the boat, the Nissos Thira, came into port and yes it was small, it was slow and it was old, it was streaked with rust and caked with salt but it looked seaworthy, reliable and honest in a seamanlike way and I needn’t have worried because the sea was flat calm again and we found a nice seat on the top deck in the sun.
This was our third ferry and they were getting smaller and older each time. We were sorry to leave Ios and we watched it slide away behind us in a reminiscent mood. In the daylight we could see that the island was rugged, barren and arid with a dramatic mountainous coastline with white churches standing like sentinels forever looking out to sea.
We had a good journey, it was very hot and the islands slipped by one by one and we tried to identify them from our map, I found some people to chat to about island hopping experiences and I picked up some good tips on where to go. I passed myself of as a seasoned expert and shared some of my Greek island experiences, which to be honest I had mostly picked up and was passing on from the island hopping bible! I was enjoying myself and will definitely do it again. Excitement was mounting now because we knew that tonight we would be reacquainting ourselves with and dining at the ‘Boss Bar’, Oh how I hoped that it would be Greek night and the bouzouki player would be there! The Boss Bar is my favourite in all of Greece (so far); we had some really good nights there, including my 50th birthday celebration meal in 2004, and some very good memories.
Not long out of Ios and sooner than I expected Santorini came into view, the entrance to the caldera looking like two carnivorous jaws enticing the ferry into the inviting blue waters inside. I was sure that I could hear the song of the Siren but perhaps it was just the wind. This was a fantastic approach to the island, so much better than arriving by aircraft! There surely isn’t a more picturesque island in all of Greece and we slipped into the caldera past Oia on the northern tip of the island, famous for its sunsets, and then sun drenched Thira in the middle and perched precariously on the top of the ridge of a volcano with a trail of white buildings tumbling down the mountain in a disorderly fashion to the waters edge.
The town looked like a chocolate layer cake topped with white icing that had been carelessly applied by Keith Floyd after an extra bottle of red wine. Further on towards the port and we could see cars and vans snaking down the hairpin approach road bringing hotel and apartment owners to meet the ferry to try and induce us to go with them to their accommodation. We had ours booked already and I knew that we were going to be met so I left the boat with a confident swagger sweeping past the rugby scrum of activity looking for our lift.