Backpacking Santorini:Pyrgos Cultural Village,Greece12:22 PM
Culture is, and always have been,the "Key"! View from the ruins of Kasteli.
‘I fume every time when anyone says their options were limited at a place they went’. Travel is infinite.You can’t see everything all the time - the world is huge.You need not always go by checklist either.But whatever you wish to see or wherever your gut takes you , is where your destination must be next.Always.For rest,there might be a next chance at either the same place or some other.
Today’s story is in silence.A random gut instinct that took me to more interiors of Santorini.A white village called Pyrgos.
To those who succumb to a well-planned itinerary,Travel is vision.Take a bus.Talk to locals.And wander.Sometimes it takes you to places which may just not be listed anywhere,or even if it is,you’d rather enjoy your own time.Santorini doesn’t always have to mean Volcanic tour or Oia .It can also mean your own search for exploration elsewhere.
Last Blogposts on Greece
Backpacking Santorini:Perissa Black Beach
Backpacking Santorini:Red Beach
Other Blogs on Greece
Greece by Indrani
Greece by Gaurav Bhan Bhatnagar
Greece by Santorini Dave
A trip to Perissa,Santorini in my last blogpost was where I had left.When I took the local bus at around 5:30pm from Perissa,I thought I was late and should return to Fira but when I saw Pyrgos come in between buzzing with small town cafes,I just took my bags,turned my head towards the bus driver and asked ‘When is the last bus to Fira’? He said 8pm.I never looked back.Never estimated time.Just walked.
Pyrgos is 7km from Fira
Pyrgos Cultural Village is a small unspoilt village on a hill with a maze of tiny streets in Santorini.So small,that that it takes a while to grasp the peacefulness around.Even a pin drop would be felt a little away from the main road.The main square where the bus stops has local coffee and eatery shops,with people mostly from the village who come or tourists who are looking for rather local food options.A random chatter,Fried Fish and Santorini wine,that’s what make Pyrgos a little different.When taking the local bus or along the way from Fira to Red beach/Perissa,you would see Megalachori,where vineyards are labelled as wine village.Megalochori is definitely a place to experience the rich wine tradition. The famous Boutari winery is found on the village's outskirts.
Think local first
But for me,time was less.It was almost 6 pm when I arrived.The hike to the top looked intriguing and unfamiliar.Super narrow alleyways marked with arrows had along the hike, Church and Monastery and white homes.This one is a hike when you want to calm yourself.Literally.At the top is Venetian castle (Kasteli) .Good quality souvenirs and local crafts as well as local cafes are all located on the uphill hike.It’s fascinating to walk right into the old preserved homes and witness how people still live in them.The bus stops at Santo Wine, Pyrgos Restaurant, and Pyrgos town. It gets very windy up there.
Specially when I stood up for the photo-op over the old ruined castle at the top,I almost had a Marilyn Monroe moment :)
Over the hike of 1.5 hours,I almost lost track of time.Each alleyway,led to another.Many of these steps diverted in directions marked at the bottom.Along one such alleyway was written Central square.I smiled.I didn't know what that meant...
Even if I get lost,getting lost would just be fun.Because apart from me,I could spot barely 2-3 tourists.Sometimes along the way not even one soul.The shops at the hill were closed by then.The sun was setting.Drama plays with me.It felt surreal.Nothing short of extraordinary but yet very convincing.
Coming back downhill,I spotted a spooky home.I wondered if there were any ghost stories associated but there wasn’t a soul to confirm.It was very unlike the rest of surroundings covered in moss,deserted.
As I reached the main square,I chatted with one of the passersby and asked on why the homes in Santorini are white.He first said ‘Because they like the color’,and then stopped in amusement and said wait its because it keeps us cool during summers and hot during winters.I nodded.Remember white village,Mijas in Spain,yes the color white is made of thick limestone which keeps the correct temperature inside.
Remember Turkey and Greece are one of the easiest place to backpack.If you do not wish to do it my way you can always use services of The Backpacker Co(8 days island hopping in Greece scheduled for June) or Contiki.
I gazed at my watch.It was still 15 minutes more.The bus had not arrived.I was hungry.So in one of the eateries at the main square,I ordered ‘Fish of the day’ eagerly awaiting to have.Just then,from the left corner of my eye,I saw the last bus almost going.May be by the time I had checked the menu and ordered,the bus halted and now was ready to move.
I shouted to the owner,Cancel my order.My buss..my buss..is going. Running past the two tiny little shops and saying goodbye to the quaint Pyrgos I hurriedly got into the bus.Every one exchanged a wicked stare.I gasped and got into an empty seat at the back.
The ticket collector smiled.We have met before,haven’t we! Yes.Santorini is a small island . Indeed.
Tomorrow we catch the ferry to Mykonos,the island of the winds and the ibiza of Greece.See ya!