Heraklion, Crete to Ia and Fira, Santorini

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July 16th 2017
Published: July 21st 2017
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Crete To Santorini

July 16 Sunday continuation from previous blog...
After having lunch with some of my travel members, I went back to my room to pack for tomorrow. We had to have our luggage out by midnight so they can collect it during the night, so that it will be ready to board the buses. We also had to make sure we packed an extra day of clothes in our carry-on because after we're done with Athens we are taking a ferry boat over to Italy. We will be on the ferry for almost 24 hours. It will be interesting to see what type of cabin I'll be getting for that one. After a short meeting at 3 o'clock going over the procedures for Santorini and for Monday, we had a few minutes to go up on deck and watch as we approach the Island of Santorini.
Santorini is the top destination in Greece and among the most romantic destinations in the Greek islands and also in the world. Santorini classically Thera, and officially Thira, is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 120 miles southeast of Greece's mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera. It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with a 2011 census population of 15,550. Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption some 3,600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization. It destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island, and created the current geological caldera. Another popular theory holds that the Thera eruption is the source of the legend of Atlantis. A giant central, rectangular lagoon, which measures about 7.5 by 4.3 miles, is surrounded by 980 ft high, steep cliffs on three sides. The main island slopes downward to the Aegean Sea. Apart from the fabulous caldera villages, Santorini Greece is also famous for the romantic sunset, the volcano and the luxurious resorts. The island's principal port is Athinios. The capital, Fira, clings to the top of the cliff looking down on the lagoon. Firá, together with Oia, Imerovígli and Firostefáni located high above on a cliff, make up the so-called “Caldera’s eyebrow”, the balcony of Santorini, which offers an amazing view of the volcano.
Santorini from the distance looked like it had snow on top of its peaks. As we got closer to the island, the snow became whitewashed homes. In Oia, one can stroll through the marble paved alleys, to gaze at the adorably cute shops or to take pictures.
Our tour guide during the cruise, Sabrina, was able for us to get off the ship quickly. We took water taxis over to the village of Athinios on the island and boarded the bus quickly. Unfortunately we had to wait for another group that took 25 minutes to get to us. We then headed up the mountain side. If you don't like steep drop all this was not the bus right for you! At least our driver was very experienced at driving these mountains being a local person. After 35 minute drive, we finally reach the town of Oia (pronounced /ee-u/). This is the town that is famous for the Greek postcards of the blue domed churches with the Aegean Sea behind it. After getting off the bus we hiked up a little bit to get to the main town. Along the way up I took a little tumble after I tripped over a electrical plate in the road that was not leveled. Not too bad of a tumble. We finally made it to the top where the village was and it was, of course, crowded with hundreds and hundreds of tourists. To actually see all three domes perfectly like in the postcards you have to go onto private property. So our tour guide showed us another route that would give us a better shot. We didn't get all three domes but got two of them. After that we were left on our own for two hours. I got my postcard and magnets. However I did get ripped off at one place. The store had lots and lots of postcards. I found three that I liked including a magnet. When I went to pay for them, he asked me for €8.50. I was shocked at the price for just the four items. I asked him why so much and he got belligerent. He said each postcard was €1.50 and the magnet was €5!!! He then said that the magnet was that much because it was made in the town. He then only let me purchase the postcards and wouldn't let me have the magnet! Too funny! I then went to the recommended restaurant. I went up to the second floor to eat some french fries while I looked at the view of the Aegean Sea for about 30 minutes. I then headed back to where were supposed to meet or the buses. At the waiting area they had a couple of shops. One of the shops had the same postcards I had bought for €.80! We were then taken to the next town over, Fira, to catch the cable car ride down the mountain side. It was a bit of a hike to get to it, as with most of the towns built on the hillside. So we walked for about 30 minutes to get to the funicular/cable car company. There were 6 cars going down at a time. The ride down was less than 2 minutes. I was put in the last car with 5 others. It was neat going down the mountainside. We got to the bottom to the Old Port where the boat taxis were waiting to take us back to the ship. Cameron and Charne and I decided to go eat dinner first. The food in general has been very bland. The best parts have been the salads and the bougasta. The dinner buffet looked bleak so I went over to the other Side of the shed to where they were having a Greek farewell dinner barbecue. They had chicken gyros so I grabbed one of them. Never had one. it was quite delicious. After dinner took a few more pictures of the lights of Santorini before heading off to bed for the night. I waited until 11 o'clock to put my luggage out to be ready for the morning pick up.

Additional photos below
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Santorini (6)Santorini (6)
Santorini (6)

Cameron and Charne Pitman and me

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