Thira (Santorini) is beautiful, amazing. If you've seen one picture of a Greek island, one picture of cubist chapels above the sea, one picture that made you say "I've got to go there" -- it was probably Thira, and specifically the rim view from Fira. It must be the most reproduced image from Greece, more than even the Parthenon.

Well, the pictures don't really lie. But, and it is an important "but" to those of us who like to travel to go someplace different from where we started, that city is a tourist trap. Every single building in the main city of Fira is a T-shirt shop, a nick-nack shop, a restaurant or something else specifically for the tourists.

And the tourists are there: in national packs reflecting national character: the Americans loud and spilling possessions, the Germans grim and plowing over all opposition, the English resigned to their burden of educating the lower orders, the Italians laughing.

I hated it. And I was there in late October, I cannot imagine July and August.

However, that is not all there is to Thira. You can enjoy yourself there, you can even enjoy the rim in Fira. I'd like to show you how...

First, you've got to find a cheap place to stay.

Then, you need to get out of Fira.

But the rim, is the rim, see it, walk it.

How to get there and back.

Last modified 9/18/11; posted 10/31/00; originial content © 2011, 2006 John P. Nordin