As my previous pointed out we had a 7 PM ferry to block Island to catch so in that 1 day we went from NYC subways, taxi cabs, and trains, to ferrying on over to Block Island from Rhode Island. It was a chilly ride with light sprinkling and some serious heaving and surging forward and back. Like if you stood on the bow, you may have been doused a time of 2. Luckily it’s just an hour ride over.
The last day we were up bright and early to close up the house and catch the 11 ferry (with everyone else) off the island. UNFORTUNATELY, it was only 1 enclosed single deck and pouring rain so everyone wanted to be INSIDE. Meaning our sorry butts getting there 10 minutes before leaving were left with the floor seats. haha The wet crowded floor that is also not helped by the ocean and the serious swaying that was going on. Needless to say I was glad I had some food in my stomach.. but not too much. It was a rough start to Memorial Day. haha
Block Island Costs:
The ferry from Pt. Judith, RI to Block Island: $12.50 each way
Various beverages from Ballard’s, Poor People’s Pub, and The Oar: around $10 average
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner we were blessed to have a kitchen so we cooked/ prepared stuff for those meals and thankfully brought most of the groceries with us on the ferry. (The food is crazy expensive at the stores ya’ll. Plan ahead!
And also thanks to my wonderful, amazing friends the lodging, car, and bikes were all covered. thanks again guys!
So not a bad memorial day weekend at around $55 plus grocery costs. Definitely recommend checking this little island off the New England coast a try! (But maybe wait till steadier weather cause those beaches really do look amazing!)
Greece Day 6: Bus day. Started off with more yogurt and some bread from previous day’s market shopping then hopped on a bus. Due to some not very clear directions on the part of our hostel, we hopped on the wrong bus as we’d meant to go straight to Red beach and the Akrotiri light house but instead ended up in Kamari.
No matter, wanted to see black beaches as well so easy place to start. In the first 2 photos that huge high point is where the ancient ruins of Thira are found.
We could see the switchbacks up there but weren’t feeling ruins today so we spent an hour or so on the black PEBBLES of Kamari beach enjoying the sunshine. Then we found out there are no direct transfers from Kamari to Akrotiri and we’d have to go back to Thira so we booked a taxi/ transfer to the town of Pyrgos in the center of the island for 15 euros.
Pyrgos was a fabulous little town with lots of blue domes and tons of cute little allies to explore. (more so then Oia and Thira) so we spent some time walking around and enjoying the churches.
Now from here we were told there’s a bus from Pyrgos to Akrotiri (red beach) but whenever I tried to clarify which bus stop we were supposed to wait at we got pointed in different directions. Finally a bus driver told us to get on and that they’d take us to the proper stop. WHICH TURNED OUT TO BE IN THE MIDDLE OF NO WHERE. so anyways we found ourselves at a cross roads near Santo Wines where there WAS a bus stop but absolutely no schedule to consult. We had an idea of what direction we needed to go but that was about it.
LUCKILY an older couple from Chile stopped to ask for directions to RED BEACH!!! (not sure why they thought the 3 girls on the side of the road would have any idea) But since we did have an idea we pointed them in the direction of Akrotiri and like a lightbulb, we all simultaneously realized that this couple had an empty backseat. SO HITCHHIKE we did. They were so nice and I turned on my gps so we guided them right to red beach. SUCCESS. We’d made it
After playing at the beach we hit another snag. As it was now after 4 the bus only comes every 1.5 hours to Akrotiri….. so we sat around for an hour waiting for our ride back to Thira.
But then it was TREAT YO SELF time. Since it was my last night in town, we splurged on a fancy roof top restaurant. These views were all taken seriously from our table!
I was wanting seafood and feeling adventurous so I ordered grilled Calamari (squid) It was huge and delicious! (minus the tentacles… those were tough and besides a few bites, left pretty much untouched)
After dinner we snagged some more gelato from the 50 shades of grey shop (seriously still dreaming of that gelato) and walked around Thira to enjoy the lights for a while more. We caught them also bringing the donkeys up for the night which was fun to see.
But my night was far from over. At 10:30 I got a transfer from the hotel to the airport for my flight with Ryanair back to Athens. Which unfortunately left super late at almost 1 AM which didn’t put me into Athens until almost 2. Then I had an airbnb booked for the night who picked me up and took me to a bed for the night. (I’d considered just staying in the airport but I’d read they aren’t very friendly to people snoozing in the airport and I wanted to lay down before 20 more hours of traveling) And my airbnb was great as my host was the cutest little Greek lady who had snacks and herbal tea waiting for me.
The next day she also had breakfast for me! And took me back to the airport for my returning flight at noon. It was a fabulous trip!
Cost for day 6:
Bus from Thira to Kamari: 1.80 euros
Private transfer from Kamari to Pyrgos: 15 total (so 5 pp)
Bus from Pyrgos to the cross roads: they didn’t charge us so that was nice
Hitchhiking from middle of nowhere to Red beach: priceless- also didn’t charge us
Bus from Akrotiri ruins (red beach) back to Thira: 2 euros
Breakfast/lunch: still made due with left over sandwich stuff and yogurt from previous days market shopping. ( we had a mini fridge in our hotel room to store stuff)
1.5 liters of water: 1 euro
Fancy smancy dinner: 16 euros
gelato: got 3 scoops this time so 5 euros
transfer from hotel to airport: 15 euros (the other girls stayed another night in Santorini so I was on my own at this point)
Ryanair flight back to Athens with early check in: $23
Airbnb for the night: $60
Cost for host to pick me up from Athens airport and take me back the next day: 20 euros
Total cost for last day/next morning: 150
Total cost for ENTIRE Trip including all night stays, food, and flights (so basically everything except souvenirs): $943
Greece Day 5: Boating day
We booked a
super ridiculously long 10 hour tour with King Thira boat tours through our hostel for $45 to take us to the Volcano, Hot springs, Thirassia, and Oia. They weren’t picking us up until 10 so we got up early to head to the market for some food for the day. I ended up with sandwich making materials, chips, water, 1 soda, and yogurt for breakfast for around 11 euros.
The bus took us to the main port on the island (not the one directly under Thira as it is not bus accessible) where we boarded our very piratey-esque boat. Then we
turned on the motors to get going set sail for a day of adventure.
It was a short ride of like 40 minutes to the Volcano bay. Entrance to the volcano site cost around 2 euros so if you go make sure you bring a bit of cash for that entrance fee. We had 2 hours of leisure to eat our yogurt we brought with us and hike around the volcano.
Back on the boat it was another short 30 minute ride to the hot spring area. (above) The boat gets you as close as it can and then you’re in for a swim. It’s SO COLD at first but as you swim up that channel a ways it goes from ocean to heated pool to bath tub to hot tub! All the while you can feel different currents of hot and cold water. It is QUITE the swim as it is 100% deep the whole time so you’ve gotta be really good at treading water or an expert floater (like I am) haha
I almost talked myself out of it since it was a little chilly but SO GLAD I did it. Even if you just make it to the mouth of the channel it will be warm enough and unlike any other experience. After the 30 min swim it was less than 10 minutes to Thirassia where we had 3 HOURS to dry off. Left: The port of Thirassia. We spent the first hour or so just sun bathing on the boat to dry off.
3 hours though was WAY too long. 2 hours maybe. Still would’ve felt long but would’ve been better. For the last hour everyone had returned from eating lunch and was chilling on the boat. Then it started raining, all the shops in the port closed like 30 min before we even left… and it was a waste of time. My 1 big criticism is the pointless 3 hour stop at Thirassia.
We had thought that we’d be watching the sunset from the boat but alas… it was a drop off in Oia to watch the sunset (what sunset?) which we’d done the day before. We were a tad bummed but as the sky was completely overcast and it was still drizzly, we were probably better off in town anyways.
BUT we did have to climb up from the port. SO MANY STAIRS (but not as bad as Thira) We had about 2 hours in Oia to kill until the bus would take us back to the hotel so we found a gelato shop that was out of the cold wind and had wifi and set up camp. Not the most thrilling evening but we did go to see if we missed anything at sunset and we definitely didn’t.
So all in all many pros and cons to the boat excursion we did. It was the cheapest boat excursion (as the catamaran tours started at 95 euros for 5 hour trips and didn’t take you to hike the volcano) and there were many cool experiences to be had. BUT the 10 hours thing just allowed for way too long of stops and felt like quite a waste of time. These were the options presented to us by our hostel. If you do enough digging before hand there are likely shorter options for cheaper. Next time I think I will dig a bit more.
Breakfast/lunch/dinner: 11.5 euros for a loaf of bread with deli stuff to make sandwiches, chips, apple, soda, and water for the day
Gelato: 2.50 for 2ish scoops (wasn’t nearly as good as the previous day gelato in Thira though)
Boat tour with King Thira tours: 45 euros pp
Entrance to Volcano: 2 euros pp
Hotel again divided by 3 people: 19
Total for day: 80 euros
Greece Day 4: Santorini. As our flight didn’t get us in until well after midnight and we still had to get settled, we slept well into the next day only leaving our hotel, Villa Manos to walk into the main town Thira around 1. The walk was about 20 minutes (with 10 minutes on a narrow road with no sidewalk and almost no shoulder) but we did stop by a market and pick up cheap waters (1.5 liters for 35 cents!!! WHAT!?)
Thira is the capitol city of Santorini or the main town so we sought out the post office for post card stamps and explored the shops to pick up some souvenirs and wait out the hottest part of the day. (it was hot!) I loved all the church architecture and the walkways which had beautiful stone work done. Between the 3 of us we got caught up in quite a few shops with the longest being in a painting shop where we each got paintings haha. (but they were legit hand done for only 30 euros for like HUGE paintings!)
Thira itself is a fun place to explore with so many shops and hotels and restaurants around every corner. However make your way out to the coast and the views are very rewarding!
First on our checklist was to walk down to Thira’s port… which is quite the hike my friends for what goes down.. must come back up. I was hoping for a spot to jump in and swim but in Thira port, there is no such place. 🙁 We passed A LOT of donkeys on our way down as well but I had previously promised myself I wouldn’t ride one (though they looked to be pretty well taken care of despite things I had read earlier)
The port! There are a few option to get back up from here. 1st is the cable car: cost is around 5 euros. 2nd are the donkeys: Cost around 7 euros
Third: the option we crazies decided to go with was to walk. The walk is paved switchbacks with wide stairs (approx. 600 of them!!!) and took us about 20 minutes to get back up (with rest stops) MAKE SURE you have water with you for you WILL need it. We all finished our massive 1.5 liters of water on the way back up.
Looking out from Thira at the volcano island (left) and the 2nd inhabited island of Santorini: Thirassia (right)
After our grueling climb back up from the port we immediately got more huge waters and started out on the coast hike to the town of Oia. (pronounced EEAh guys) It is approximately 11 km between the towns but as both towns are extremely long, you can count on adding at least another 6 km between walking through the towns)
There are signs within the town to keep you on the correct path but I will say there are not THAT MANY. There WILL be moments of doubt, but when in doubt, stick to the coast and wider pathways.
There are many beautiful stairs within the town. (like this) on your path to Oia, you won’t go up any of these as they mostly lead to hotels and restaurants.
One of the signs on the trail to keep you on the right path. Once you are out of the town, it is very easy to stay on the trail.
There is a brief section of the trail that spits you out onto the main road. It is less than a Km on the road, but be careful as the shoulder is not very wide. Before long you will see the trail (with a sign) pick up again.
Finally seeing the beginning of civilization up head with a church. The first thing we’d seen in miles.
1st things first after all that hiking.. we were starving so we fell upon the first market we came across like ravenous wolves. I ended up with a very complete meal of a loaf of bread, apple, and bottle of coke. haha
We got in with just enough time to stake out a good sunset watching spot. We explored the end and snapped a photo of the famous windmill. But then continues on to a better spot.
Basically follow the crowds but before you get to the rock where EVERYONE goes, take a right to a little side street where you get almost as many views for your shot, but a lot less people to contend with.
You can see a bit of the windmill peeping out by the dome (which to our sadness was not blue )
There area we were at also began to fill up with people but we had staked out our spots well where NO ONE could stand in front of us.
Lots of boats arrived to watch the sunset from the water.
As soon as that sun set out of site we hit the ground running to make it back to the buses. We got there in time to catch the first bus out (Barely) and the line looked pretty long as most people don’t shell out the money to stay in Oia… we must ALL get on the bus back to Thira.
Right: Thira lit up at night.
Now we knew we’d earned some gelato so we explored a bit of Thira until we came upon the MOST delicious gelato ever. They had a lot of different flavors but the 2 I settled upon was the 50 shades of grey flavor ( which they said was black vanilla, tasted like a cross over between white chocolate and vanilla) and Vinsanto which is their dessert wine on the island and had sun dried grapes (not rains) mixed in. Both flavors were sooo good, I will be forever dreaming of that gelato.
So we took our delicious dessert out to view the beautiful lights of Thira. We picked up our painting we had purchased previously and not wanted to hike with along with a few other souvenirs before making the scary walk back to Villa Manos. (it was after 11 that we started back and while the bus schedule claimed to go until midnight we couldn’t find any buses going our direction)
Total cost for day: 34.5 if you don’t count painting or 64.5 if you do