Scooter Steve doesn’t like mass tourism. Camera clad tourists climbing on and off cruise ships cause him to break out into hives.
By the bus load they attack the local habitat with destructive abandon. Spatial awareness and quiet whispers are not their modus operandi. It’s about quantity over quality. Savouring the beauty is done with view finders and over-sized smart phones. Picture uploads and status updates are measured in thousands per second.
Escape and evade. Thankfully I have my trusty Kymco Agility to put as much distance between me and the passengers of the MSC sheep!
Disclaimer: I am open to the idea of binge drinking at sea where we never dock. Like that cruise from Durban to nowhere. No one will be hurt in our reveling!
Santorini. Or Thira as the locals call it. It’s a lekker volcanic island somewhere between Greece and Turkey. It floats in the Aegean Sea and is sinking due to too many invading tourists between March and October every year.
Calmness is restored as the windy months of Autumn blow in. Restaurants are boarded up as the sheep disembark. Perfect for a spot of scootourism Steve style!
I knew about the popularity of Thira before I booked our ferry tickets from nearby island Paros. With an acute awareness of my need for silence, I booked us into a humble digs on the cliffside of Megalochori. It’s far from the hoity crowd of Fira (The main town) & half the price with twice the view. Mission accomplished. And we had our trusty Kymco ysterperd! Freedom was reigning supreme.
* ysterperd – Afrikaans slang for iron horse
I wasn’t very complimentary about the Kymco Agility 125cc in a previous story (Cappadocia). This had more do do with the age of the scooter than anything else. In Thira I had the pleasure of riding a newer 2011 Agility. What an improvement. Better styling, 16” mag wheels and a raised step for Mrs pillion to rest her weary feet!
Santorini and sunsets are synonymous. The Northern village of Oia is a Lonely Planet must see destination. Stay away. Too many chavs with white Puma sneakers! But the scooter ride up to Oia rates up there with Chapman’s Peak drive in Cape Town.
From Fira take the provincial road called Eparchiaki Odos Firon-Ias. It is spectacular, meandering road that skirts the western caldera cliffside. 11km of sweeping bends high above the the Aegan. Soul food stuff.
So if Oia is where the sunsets are, does that mean it holds the exclusive rights? Of course not. Humans are weird creatures. No man can own the west. Except maybe Donald Trump! Santorini is a long crescent-shaped island with 23km of west coast. Take your pick. It all makes for epic sunsets.
Top Tip: Autumn in Santorini is still considered sweltering summer for the Brits. They come in their droves from mud island for a week of sun and debauchery. The town of Kamari flanks the airport on the flat east coast.
“Simba, you must never go there. Ever!”
The rest of the Island is retiring into a sleepy hibernation. Tourism is seasonal so you won’t be spoilt for choice when it comes to eateries. The tiny local population is less than 13 000, so bar a few supermarkets and bakeries, pickings are slim.
It took some time but we found a strip of top notch restaurants down south in Perivolos. “Seaside” was a winner. Let’s keep it a secret from the MSC crowd.
A modern bistro with a view of the ocean. Service second to none and dare I say the best cocktails in the Cyclades.
Reasons to go to a Greek Island?
Beach cocktails. Check!
You haven’t lived until you’ve have eaten this delight. Unlike the ubiquitous chav this yoghurt has some culture! Creamy and double thick it is served as a dessert.
Marliese and I indulged on our final night. The waiter suggested we try some yoghurt with queenz? Queenz? Oh well! When in Greece I suppose. The yoghurt arrived as 2 large quenelles, dotted with yellow leach-like strips of who knew what. Here goes nothing. I was transported to my childhood. The flavour of Zoo Biscuits exploded in my mouth. Quince! Like the fruit. Not queenz!
The Kymco held it’s own. Zippy, agile and reliable.
The styling of this 2011 is a step up on the 2009 but nothing amazing. The 2016 Agility is available in the US for $2000. Not entry level but there is no evolution in the styling.
My money is on the Kymco Super 8 series. For an extra $200 you get naked handle bars and a rear seat that folds up to a back rest! This is the new flag bearer of awesomeness. The Taiwanese manufacturer has an arsenal of new scooters I need to try in upcoming adventures, and I look forward to the chance.
ScooterSteve happily rates the 2011 Kymco Agility 125cc a respectable 35/50.
Legal note: In the EU there is confusion about what size scooters can be rented with a standard drivers licence. In Greece they rent you a 50cc without a licence! BUT the current trend, and loopholes in regulation, the 125cc seems to be the legal choice for now.