Edit Blog Post
Published: September 20th 2013
Santorini. How could it possibly match the glowing reviews and beautiful pictures. I wasn't convinced until I saw the island and the villages clinging to the edge of the caldera. A word about the sea. It is sapphire blue, truly. I have never seen water this color anywhere.
In pre-historic times the island blew itself up, literally, with a volcanic explosion 100 times the force of Krakatoa. What was once a round island made up of five volcanos became a crescent shaped island with smaller islands around, remnants of the volcano. Villages were later built on the rim of the caldera, a position safe from pirates that were a constant threat.
Today, these villages continue although they are really modern replacements for the ones destroyed by earthquakes and more recent eruptions. The vast majority of the buildings are whitewashed with white limestone and doors, shutters and other trim is painted a bright blue. The domes of churches are painted the same vibrant blue, trying to replicate the sky and surrounding water. Here and there is a building of terra cotta or painted pink or yellow but the overall impression is of white and blue, the
in a sapphire sea
colors of the Greek flag.
We tendered to shore and the swells at the harbor were very strong. We transferred to our bus and enjoyed (or not) the ride up the cliff face, steep and with few walls between us and the cliff. Our tour today took us to a vantage point on the highest mountain on the island. Along the way we pass villages rebuilt on the ancient footprints. The upper lanes are narrow and winding and closed to vehicles. If you need to transport goods or furniture up to the top, you would still use donkeys.
At the top we were able to get a sense of the topography of the island. There is a north and south cape with villages on the top of the caldera rim to the west and a large flat plane to the east where the airport is located. The beaches are on the eastern shore.
Then we rode down the same roads, thru Thira, the main town and out to Oia. This is the village that appears in all the brochures advertising Santorini. It does not disappoint as we walk down the narrow
lanes and search out the best photo spots. While there are crowds it is not nearly as bad as it can be. There were only three ships in port today and only one large ship. Sometimes there can be six large ships in port and that would truly be a nightmare.
Since I'm not a shopper and therefor not attracted to the galleries and shops, we stopped in a taverna for a taste of the local produce and beer. We were on the roof, protected from the sun and cooled by a strong breeze. Joe ordered feta wrapped in phillo and served in a bed of honey with black sesame. I had the grilled eggplant slices topped with tomato chunks and soft cheese. I tried ouzo and was not too impressed, like drinking licorice, while Joe tried the local brew, Red Donkey. That was quite tasty. We agreed that this was the best meal of the entire cruise.
By then it was time to get back on the bus and drive back to Thira and the cable car that would take us to the tender station. The wait was long but eventually we made
it back to the ship where I immediately headed for the pool to cool down. Thira could be a shopper's paradise but I was ready to relax and take a short nap.
I can imagine spending time on Santorini. There are beaches to visit and alleys and lanes to explore. Whether we will be back is a question for the future. We're both glad to have visited this beautiful and interesting spot on earth.
We stopped at the ocean bar and visited with Rolando #1 and Roland #2 as we have each night of the cruise. They make us our stingers and we chat, exchanging favorite ports and just visiting as you would with friends. Tonight we hit the main dining room for a turkey dinner with carrots, cranberries, corn, turnips and candied sweet potatoes. Just a warm up for the Holiday to come. Tomorrow, Ephesus, Turkey.
Tot: 1.493s; Tpl: 0.043s; cc: 11; qc: 50; dbt: 0.0313s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb