I planned to stay in Santorini for three days, but I ended up stretching it to five days, for a few reasons. A major reason is that, after two months on the road, I’m sick of checking into and out of hotels, so the idea of spending a run of nights in the same place sounds pretty bloody good. The island is certainly not beautiful, with dirty brown cliffs and tons full of scooters and idiots with tattoos and shit haircuts, but it has its own charm and is a pleasant place to hang out and do nothing. But the main reason I’ve stayed is because I’ve met good people, and when travelling alone that’s about the most important thing you can find.
My hotel has a policy of grouping people of the same nationality together (or maybe they just like to put all the drunken Aussies together), and after a few months without talking to someone from my homeland it was a really welcome change. I met some lovely Queensland girls (a phrase you won’t hear often) who were good value and shared a delightful Oia sunset and a few drinks with me.
There’s even been a bit of romance with another lass I met. At two days (and not counting) it was one of my longer relationships. I felt like Lena out of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, except my romantic Santorinian experience didn’t involve a hunky Greek man who turns out to be married. I swear it didn’t – it involved a pretty lady. It was ships passing in the night, with me heading to Sri Lanka and her to Berlin, but that’s not necessarily bad because it doesn’t give things time to go bad.
Being alone overseas means inevitably holding brief friendships closer to the heart than in normal situations. When you travel, you give a part of yourself to every place you visit and every person you meet, and in return they give you something, which is why it’s such a transforming experience. It’s wonderful and difficult at the same time, and a reason why I often find it easier to keep moving on when I’m travelling – cut down that attachment, and the resultant difficulty of moving on.
Having a travel buddy (while not always a good idea) would alleviate a lot of those problems. Having a constant person who can be there when everyone else has left or been left would make it so much easier, but would that be a good thing? There’s something wonderful in the sweet sadness of leaving someone who’s just passed through your life, probably never to be seen again. Probably just the ramblings of a drunk, but it’s how I feel.
Having spent most of my time in Santorini within spitting distance of my hotel, I decided to spend my last day checking out some of the other parts of the island. I jumped on a bus to the Red Beach at the southern end of the island and, well, I probably shouldn’t have bothered. The red cliffs that give the beach its name are nice, but the strip of dirty sand was nasty and covered in rubbish. The water was filthy, with sharp rocks constantly trying to poke into my feet. Unlike Naxos, Santorini is certainly not a place to visit if you have any interest in going to beaches that aren’t as horrible and red as Amanda Vanstone’s vagina.
It’s time to move on to my final destination in Europe – the quiet, laid back island of Paros. Prepare for lots of posts about me lying in the sun, drinking beer and doing as little as humanly possible…