We all woke up on Saturday morning and after breakfast, went to rent ATVs (4-wheelers)!!! It was very inexpensive (about 7 euros per person) for us to drive them for twenty four hours and we put two people on each bike! Our group of 15 left the ATV place and started on our adventure to the various beaches that Santorini had to offer. My friend Meredith and I were on the bike together and I was driving first. The beach we were going to was only about a half hour away - little did we know we would have a little bit of trouble getting there. After driving down the roads for about twenty minutes, we stopped at a gas station to regroup. We had all been following Jason but he accidentally missed the turn so we had to turn around. While making the left out of the gas station, Meredith and I got stuck four cars behind our group since we were bringing up the rear (because we got our ATV last not because we were slow!). Unfortunately, this led to Meredith and I missing the left turn we were supposed to make and deciding to make the second left turn because we had heard Jay say to make a left and we saw the sea! Well to say the least, we were very very horribly wrong. Remember that zig-zag road with no railings that I mentioned in the previous post? At this moment, I was driving down that and there was no place to turn around or due anything considering 1. the ATVs cannot be put into reverse you actually have to physically go out and push them and 2. cars were passing us if we even went slow for a minute which made the situation ten times worse. I ended up driving us to the bottom of the cliff and then all the way back up and we decided to go back and try that first left turn. (this was about a half hour after we had separated from everyone - at this time they had stopped at a gas station and two of the guys had gone out looking for us but they didn't see us anywhere) After traveling down the road for about ten minutes, Meredith and I thought of calling Jane, our professor, to get the phone numbers of the two kids in the group that had international cell phones. So with our little calling cards and the piece of paper we had with her number, we called Jane and told her that we had rented ATVs and "had gotten separated from the group for a little so we wanted to meet back up." (obviously at this moment in time we were NOT going to tell Jane we were lost because she probably would've freaked out considering she is like our mom!) Well, our luck must have been slowly running out because Jane did not have their phone numbers and told us to call our assistant teacher Maria who did not pick up her phone even after the third call. At that instant, we looked down the road and saw one of the boys Mike on our trip driving his ATV up into the parking lot! We ran over and were sooooo relieved!!! (just so no one is freaked out if anything Meredith and I did know our way back to the hotel so we weren't completely lost)
Meredith and I followed Mike to the beach and we met up with our group! They had been freaking out until they saw us and finally everyone was able to relax. the beach had red sand and the water wasn't crystal clear but pretty much sea through. It was not crowded or anything so we had plenty of room to lay out together and relax. Jason let me borrow his snorkeling stuff so I went out into the ocean and hung out with the fish for a while! It was great. Soon after we headed back into the small town, grabbed lunch, and drove to the black beach. (this time we had a better system for driving and if someone was not in sight we all started honking our horns and we pulled over at the nearest place possible - in addition, we all knew the name of the beach and the directions to the beach!) After a nap on the beach, about five of us wanted to go cliff jumping. Jason had checked out a spot for us so the five of us (me, anne, tasha, christine, and jason) swam out and huddled in a little cave. One at a time we climbed up the side of the rocks and jumped into the water! At first, I was so scared! I mean, I never used to be able to go on roller coasters before and now I was jumping off a cliff into the ocean with rocks about ten feet under! (we had tested before to make sure we wouldn't hit the rocks) I did scrape myself on one of the rocks on the way up - clumsy me I know - but it's fine the experience was great and I am looking forward to more cliff jumping in Paros this weekend. =] Immediately after cliff jumping, the group rushed over to Oia to see the most beautiful sunset on the island of Santorini. It was about a 45 minute drive from the black beach we were on and I drove Brooke's ATV because she was tired from all day. The ride was fun and this time we made sure to stay in the middle of the pack and I always kept my eye on Meredith mostly because getting lost twice in one day REALLY would have been bad. We arrived just as the sun was setting behind the clouds so although we didn't get the full effect, it was a sight I will never forget. Everyone lined up on the edge of the cliff and just stared into the distance over the sea and the hills.
Straight from Oia, we went back to Fira where our hotel was and drove our ATVs into town for gyros. Then it was time to go back to the hotels and shower before another exciting night of dancing on the strip. We went to a place called Murphy's and that was our favorite because they played American music so we could dance and sing. In addition, we met up with the other four girls on our trip that had been staying at the other hotel! We were all getting tired but we left in groups at different times. Anne, Christine and I walked home at about 2:30 am (because in Greece no one goes out until at least midnight anyway) and when I got back to the hotel, Tasha and Laura were still up. Laura went to bed almost immediately but Tasha and I decided to go out on the balcony and just talk about our trip and everything in our lives. We loved our "heart to heart" (haha) but when we woke up on Sunday morning with only five hours of sleep we decided that next time we needed to have talks like this at a more reasonable hour. All in all, it was a perfect ending to a perfect two days in Santorini!
Oh and just in case you were wondering about the weather here - it has been sunny and approximately 88 to 92 degrees daily. Jane said she felt two raindrops in Athens this weekend and that this was probably the most rain they would get for the month. Sorry about all of the rain back home! Hopefully when I get back on July 4th I can bring some sunshine from Greece with me!