New York.- by Catherine Tsounis
“I found you a room at Santorini’s Pension Petros in the center of Fira, Santorini for 80 euros a day without breakfast,” said my travel agent Maria of Kapogiannis Tours, Tripoli, Greece. I began my adventure, alone, from Tripoli to Santorini. Knowing Greek and English is a plus in travelling. I am from New York City and am street smart, avoiding unpleasant incidents.
Arriving in Santorini airport was an unforgettable experience I have never witnessed before. The line to take the local bus to Thira was a block long. No one was taking taxis. I decided not to take the easy way out with a taxi. I joined the crowd in the early summer, waiting 45 minutes. I took the cheapest way to get from the airport to Fira.
“The public bus in Santorini Airport is the only mode of public transportation. There is no underground or train. The transfers are performed by KTEL company with full size air-conditioned coaches. A single fare from Santorini Airport to Fira Center, at the time of writing, costs €1.70 (around $2.0 or £0.90). The big attraction is low cost. There is no alternative that can compete on this price. Santorini Airport has only one terminal. So, the buses are waiting outside the arrival hall. Additionally, there are no excess luggage limits. But despite being the cheapest option, the Airport to Fira bus services are hardly used when compared to other alternatives, including the private taxis which are more expensive.”1 I disagree with Ktel’s opinion. Everyone was waiting for the bus. No one waited for a taxi.
The bus ride was enjoyable, showing the rocky coastline, villas on the cliffs and the blue sea. The modern bus has a bilingual sign saying, “area controlled by camera.” Santorini has cultivated farm fields, olive groves with white island stucco houses. The Ktel bus depot in Fira was overcrowded like the New York City rush. As I walked to Pension Petros, I passed by a laundromat and Dakoutros self-service market. All the conveniences for a tourist are near Pension Petros, my destination. Pension Petros is a multi-level, immaculate house on an urban street. Nicole, the administrator from South Africa, greeted me with a smile, in a room with antique furniture and an oil painting of the Santorini coast.
“We are waiting for you,” said Nicoleta Danasi, the owner. “Here is a map of Fira. We have a central location near all the main attractions. A guest just left. You will have a room with an outdoor patio.” I was amazed by the location and the island atmosphere of my room. I was impressed that Pension Petros had guests from Hong Kong who made internet reservations.
The website says “Pension Petros offers a relaxing atmosphere combined with comfortable and spacious rooms in a friendly and family run environment. We are A few meters away from the heart of Santorini, the capital Fira and its main square where shops, taverns, cafes, and bars can satisfy every traveler’s need. With easy access to the main bus station, the taxi rank, post office and the Caldera Walk with superb volcano views, you will find out that our pension is the ideal accommodation while you discover the beauties of Santorini.
Our Hotel is characterized by its hospitality after 23 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Our staffs are expert in the proposals for sightseeing, dining, nightlife, excursions and more. Pension Petros is recommended by two independent sources (tourist guide books): Lonely Planet and Let’s Go Greece.”2 Trip Advisor gave excellent ratings. Everything written on the website is true.
I bought breakfast and snacks from Stelios of Drakoutsos Super Market. Stelios colorful personality was very entertaining. His bread and cheese were fresh. Pension’s location near buses helped me save money. On my last evening, Nicoleta gave me a tour of the Pension. I met her husband and child. Her staff arranged for a taxi at 6 a.m. for the ferry. I deeply appreciate the efforts of Maria of Kapogiannis Tours, Tripoli, who researched and found Nicoleta of Pension Petros who gave me a great room for 80 euros a day.