6th October 2009
We caught the local bus for Fira, and for 2 euros each enjoyed the most spectacular views of the island and the sea as it wound its way from one town to the next on the way there. The people who live here are lucky to see such beauty every day, but you have to remind yourself that the volcano is not extinct, it is merely sleeping. It has not erupted for a very long time, but an earthquake here in 1956 destroyed many towns and lives.
When we eventually arrive in Fira, the main town of the island, we went first to the Museum of Ancient Thira, which was fascinating. Here they exhibit finds from the ancient town of Aktiri, only about 5% of which has been excavated. It is like Pompeii in that the town was completely destroyed by lava, and as a result it has been preserved, almost intact, for all this time. The museum has wall paintings taken from the houses which are astounding.
The view from the town over the caldera is just as breathtaking as from below, and makes one feel tiny in comparison, which of course we are.
The town itself is not so wonderful, as it is full-on touristy, and caters for visitors from the numerous ferries and cruise ships. It is, however, possible to tolerate this for the sake of the awesome beauty that surrounds it.
From Fira - the cruise ship gives an idea of scale Fira
From Fira The island in the middle of the caldera
A less touristy street Steps up from the ferry port