Santorini Greece, June 2007

I headed out to Greece for the Extreme Solar Systems conference. By the time I got to the island, I'd lost my poster and all my luggage (including my bike). The luggage showed up two days later, and against my odds, I was able to find a poster printer on the island which printed out my poster at a bargain price.

I was staying in a small 10-room family-run joint called Hotel Thira. Thira, or Fira, is the name of the main city on Santorini. (Well, ΘΙΡΑ is the main city on Σαντορινη, that is.) The island is C-shaped and is the rim of a volcano. Not an ancient one -- the most recent eruption was in 1955, which produced Europe's newest land mass. (Iceland may disagree, but this is what the Greeks claim.) Homer and the Bible both referred to a `ring-shaped island' which was probably Santorini -- apparently a great place to build a port, since there's a ton of sheltered space. Unfortunately for the Minoans and numerous civilizations afterwards, the same volcano that makes a pleasant port island has other byproducts. The eruption alleged to have buried Atlantis in 1640 BC is the largest one the Earth has seen in 10,000 years -- far bigger than Pompeii. No buried dogs and people here though -- they must've had time to run. Lots of artifacts and buildings, though.

I spent most of my time at the conference, but I biked around the island on a couple of mornings, and took a full-day boat trip to the caldera on the last day.

As far as natural drama goes, Santorini's got it made more than just about anywhere else on the planet. The island appears to be not naturally habitable: little fresh water, no trees, and a long hike from the sheltered ports to the cliffs. This begs the question of what the Atlantians were doing there. Extremophiles in action, I suppose.

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Henry Throop

Last modified Thu Aug 23 12:56:59 2007