Have you ever had jet lag? I have, and I was embarrassed as I nodded off at a special event after my recent trip to Greece.

That led folks to asking me what my favorite part of the trip was. Santorini is different from the other islands of the Cyclades: It is an island borne from the thick lance of the volcano, which rose from the molten core of the Earth. Questions about how the island was created demand answers.

The soil is almost exclusively composed of volcanic rock, which gives the island a bewitching beauty. There is a volcanic history dating back many hundreds of thousands of years. The rocks and lava spewed out of the volcano have created an incredible landscape. Nature has carved it into curving bays and dramatic caves.

Santorini’s history has also been shaped by war, tragedy, earthquakes, pirates and passion, all unfurling against the Mediterranean background. It is perhaps precisely this intent that grabs and holds my attention so firmly. The name alone inspires romantic yearnings enticing young and old. Santorini is a spectacular island that combines everything: It has history, strong Greek elements, sights, unique beaches, beautiful sunsets, amazing energy, art, culture, nightlife and more.

As we got off the ferry and stepped onto the port at Santorini, the multicolored rock formations and the dizzying height of the mountain range surprised me. One looked up, up and up at the black rock. I gulped to myself, “Are we going way up there? How?” I thought. The buses climbing the mountain looked like little ants.

Our driver approached us, loaded the luggage and off we went, up and around on the trail to the summit ridge. The Cyclades, as the group of islands are called, are barren and rocky, but striking with their clusters of white houses shimmering in the Aegean sun. With the many constant uphill turns, the road winds between steep, imposing rocks and the cliffs.

Soon, we were at our hotel, a prime, cliff-top location with a breathtaking view. We had breakfast overlooking the sparkling, transparent sea in every shade of blue. Tall, bare rocks streaked in red, mauve, brown and yellow brought out the stark white of the scattered chapels.

At 5 p.m., as evening approached, the sun slowly descended into the vastness of the sea, and people gathered around the beautiful churchyard to witness the fiery sunset. Tourists filled the streets with chatter in a multitude of languages as they shopped the boutiques that line the walkways and harbor.

We walked the cobblestone streets, worn smooth by many years of use, leading us to small taverns, dining places, bakeries and all types of stores. The donkeys give the island a special local character. My family members were a sight to see strapped on the back of a donkey, being carried up the mountain side. One donkey stopped half way up and refused to move!

Santorini won me over with its simple beauty. In an ancient background, a wave of tourism washes over the island ”“ seamlessly combining the old and the new.

— Zaffie Hadiaris of Saco is the host of “Zaffie,” a weekly television talk show on Channel 3 Biddeford public access. It can also be seen at biddefordmaine.org. Contact Hadiaris at [email protected]