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Lawrence Kesteloot (Sunday, July 20, 2003)

In late April 2002 we flew from Rome to Santorini, a Greek island well-known mostly because it is an active volcano. Some time ago the top blew off the volcano and water filled the crater, so the island is now split into the larger crescent island, where we stayed, and a smaller island on the other side, where not much happens.

We landed late at night without a hotel reservation. Our book had advised us to walk outside the airport and look lost. We did and immediately a hotel owner offered us a ride to his hotel in Fira. Fira, the capital of the island, is perched on the edge of the crater. Between that and the beautiful buildings, every pictures ends up looking like a postcard.

We took a boat ride around the islands. There are a few small islands in the middle of the crater where you can swim in hot springs and stick your hand into the volcano's exhaust. The only thing to do on the smaller island opposite is take a donkey ride up the hill and have lunch at the top at a restaurant that does nothing else but serve kebabs to donkey-riding tourists once a day. Apparently 50 years ago there was an earthquake on this smaller island and most everyone left. It's practically deserted to this day, an eerie ghost town with half-crumbled buildings.

Santorini was the perfect place to spend three days after the hectic schedule we'd kept up for four weeks. There wasn't much to do but relax by the pool and look at the beauty around us.

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