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A volcanic isle to blow your mind

FROLICKING on the ridge of a volcano in the Aegean Sea may not be everyone's idea of fun, but I count my week on Santorini as one of the great holiday experiences of my life.

This photograph is taken from the terrace of the fabulous cave house we rented in the super picturesque resort village of Oia. From here we looked out not only on the island's fabulous caldera, but also some of the most glorious sunsets on the planet.

Sipping cocktails and absorbing the October sun in one of the world's greatest island resorts, one is inclined to forget that it was here that the worst catastrophe in the history of mankind took place.

Three thousand years ago, the Santorini volcano blew a chunk of land the size of Manhattan twelve miles into the sky, wiping out the Minoan civilisation and devastating vast areas of the Mediterranean with a tsunami the likes of which had never been seen before.

For centuries thereafter, Santorini was an uninhabited chunk of molten rock jutting out of the rich blue of the Med's eastern reaches.

Now it is home to a largely Greek population whose six-month tourism season is its main source of income, but whose home-produced wines also have an international reputation. What a place - and what a vacation!

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