Send the vampire to Santorini!

An article like you might never find about Santorini

CEYMS47The silence was less and less disturbed by the distant steps of a woman on the long stairs made of paving Stones. It was around three in the morning. For a person who might have calmly looked at the cliff from the hills of Thira, those were the sound of my steps, distancing. Down the famous 600-step stair of Santorini, I was climbing down to the sea all alone.

By the time I stepped on the flat ground, leaving all the ecstasy, colors and the noise uphill, it was only the steps that one could hear. Was I thrilled? Perhaps….

It was quite tricky while I was trying to navigate my feet with the light of my cell phone. Looking uphill towards the luminous city, I judged that I was in midway. However, that was the mystery of darkness; although I had been walking for half an hour, I couldn’t arrive at the sea. Does this mystery of the night in Santorin harm the joyful reputation of the island as a heaven of romanticism? Most probably not, but it invokes island’s another, age-old reputation, the real one: The banishment island of vampires!

CEYMS48It doesn’t usually read on the travel guides and catalogues. This touristic island with one of the most fabulous views is indeed a vampire island. There were volcanic eruptions between 1650-1450 B.C. Later, the volcano collapsed, submerging 73 square km of the island including the remains of the Minoan civilization on the island. This collapse of the volcano crushed all of the villages towards Crete on the sea level. The rest of the villages were covered with ashes, suffocating the life in Mediterranean. This volcano is the explanation of the current shape of the island: similar to a croissant, hollow in the middle.

CEYMS49In the sources, it’s mentioned that Greece was always in trouble with vampires throughout history. In 15-17th centuries, Greece was under the occupation of vampires, the VRYKOLAKAS! This isn’t a legend. Many historical documents dating from 15-17th and even 19th centuries mention the dreadful terror of the Vrykolakas, which indeed was the name of one single vampire. But since all of the vampires that Vrykolakas converted were called by his name, the period was called Vrykolakas. According to the documents, Vrykolakas resurrects from his tomb, knocks people’s doors. “Who’s that?” Vrykolakas was very smart and informed. He tells the person-behind-the-door’s beloved’s name. If you answer in the first knock-knock, he converts you into a Vrykolakas vampire! So, it’s still a custom in Greece to answer the door in the second knock-knock.

CEYMS50According to what I’ve read, the Vrykolakas vampires interestingly didn’t limit their interests to drinking blood; they also abhorred the human species and wanted to kill humans, if they didn’t want to convert humans into a vampire. Greeks saw the impossibility of eliminating vampires by killing. But they were fortunate to find out that it was also impossible for the vampires to cross salty water, and there began the banishment of the vampires on the island on Santorin. There’s even a saying from those days.

It is used in a situation where someone does something futile: send the vampire to Santorini! The scientists today found that the soil on Santorini isn’t very efficient to dissolve the corpse of the dead due to the volcanic eruption. This particular feature of the soil might have reinforced the legends.

CEYMS51If you have never been to Santorini, don’t go there for vacation! Because the sand on the beaches, due to the volcanic eruption I’ve mentioned, is black! Yes, just black! There is a red part called red beach. When you walk in the sea expecting to step on soft sand, you walk on a huge one-piece rock. (This is a giant rock. The ground under the water indeed is constituted by only this huge rock.) Also, the water is quite hot. In short, while there are turquoises waters around other islands, visiting Santorin sounds to me a National Geographic like venture.

CEYMS52On the other hand, there is the most romantic restaurant that you might ever encounter. You might know that I’m quite picky and over-realist. So, if I say you should go, just go! You’ll see a spectacular view from which you’ll not be able to take your eyes off. Surprisingly, the feeling that the view invokes is fabulous throughout the day!

CEYMS53After dinner you can go to Thira to see the night-life over there, and stay at Oia to wake up to another magnificent view, and have a lunch rich in sea food at one of the Oia restaurants before leaving. As I sometimes do when I get bored with a country in abroad or an island; then I just leave for another. If you’re lucky, you can take a boat or a ferry from another Greek island to have dinner on another just in two hours. I don’t want to sound like bragging but it is definitely a very cool feeling to enter an island with a beautiful sail yacht!

CEYMS54Next time you’re on Santorin, take a good care of yourself and be careful about the vampire next to you while you are drinking your champagne while watching the spectacular sunset!