This post is written by Katie, about her solo trip to Turkey and Greece.
Today I took a ferry from Naxos to Santorini.
I woke at 8:30am and causally packed. I took the hotel van at 10am to the port. It’s short enough to walk, but the van was nice with luggage.
Windmill Naxos was a nice place to spend a few days. The owner guy was extremely helpful when it came to information about various activities around the island and how to get to them by public transit. It’s location was a bit far from the port, but I had no qualms about walking back and forth to the port multiple times in a day. Naxos felt completely safe in the day or night. There was also a great little grocery store nearby, so I was able to use the kitchenette in my room to cook dinner.
I carried my bags to the ferry boarding lane. One other woman was waiting, and a bus full of people appeared shortly after. Around 10:15am, a guy appeared on a motorbike and told us the Super Jet that we had tickets on was cancelled. The next boat to Santorini was at 12:55pm, and we could either contact the agency we booked through to get a refund and then rebook, or we could just exchange our tickets for first class tickets on the 12:55pm Blue Star ferry. Since I could not call the Internet booking site, I had to do the upgrade despite it being a rip-off.
With about 2.5 hours until my ferry, I was stuck with all my belongings at the port. I found a cafe (Lotto) promoting breakfast, a covered patio, and wifi. I ordered a Special Greek Breakfast, which came with unlimited filter coffee. I also ordered a chocolate milkshake closer to noon.
I headed over to the ferry pier at 12:30pm. I got into corral 3, which was opened third but still let me get onto the ferry much quicker than most of the people in corrals 1 and 2. Boarding the ferry was very disorganized – although I supposedly had first class tickets, I saw no signs for first class (nor any staff to ask) so I grabbed a deck seat on the upper back deck. In the shade, second row, and plenty of space for luggage – no complaint.
We docked at 3:35pm and I quickly boarded a public bus to Fira. The buses were not marked, so you had to trust that plain clothes people telling you the bus was going to Fira were correct. There was no confirmation when the driver entered and the bus drove away for the port at 3:58pm. We stopped at the side of the road while climbing the switchbacks to pick up a guy – apparently this was the ticket seller. It was only when he came around that I was finally able to get confirmation that we were indeed going to Fira. Tickets were 2.20 euro a person. We took a non-direct route to Fira and finally arrived at 4:36pm.
I got off the bus and walked a short distance for my hostel (Fira Backpackers House). I checked in, and although the guy owner was grumpy the woman was very nice and gave me a good overview of Fira and the entire island. She over-viewed many possible activities and options, and there was a bus schedule posted at reception.
I set up my bed and settled in before heading off to explore. I went to the caldera view walk first, and got some good pictures. But man is Fira touristy! I find it strange how many evil eyes I’m seeing here – I’m used to seeing them in Turkey and did not expect to see them in a Greek isle.
I grew tired of the touristy vibe and wanted to see if the washer was open at the hostel (since I needed to wash some clothing tonight so it could line dry before I leave tomorrow night). Of course, when I got back, a guy was just putting his laundry in. I did not want to wait, so I went in search of a drop off laundry. I found one near the hostel (walking away from the bus station). I was hoping they would charge per kilo (since I did not have much that I actually needed to be washed), but they charged by the load (15 euro / load, paid on pick-up). It’s worth it to have clean, comfy clothing while travelling, so I agreed.
With my clothing dropped off, I went off in search of good, cheap dinner before sunset. There are plenty of places to watch the sunset without paying for expensive food/drink, so I was happy eating first. I had a 6 euro pita wrap with chicken, fries, and Coke Zero combo at Meat House. Then I headed to find a spot on the wall to watch sunset.
I was a bit early for sunset, so I sat on the wall looking at Fira in one direction and the impending sunset in the other direction. A guy with a guitar showed up shortly after I settled in, and started playing. He was fun to listen to, so I gave him a small tip as I was leaving. I watched the sunset from my perch on the wall for a while, and then I moved to a slightly better location for the last bit of the sunset. The sunset was indeed pretty awesome.
After the sunset, I made my way back to the hostel and sat in the kitchen/common room and sat with my laptop. There’s a super friendly cat that came and sat in different people’s laps. The vibe at Fira Backpackers Place was certainly very social – people were chatting, watching a movie, and cooking all together in the common room.