|We're spending the day in Santorini, a lovely Greek island that I have seen so many photos of.
I have to insert here that this particular part of the review is extremely difficult…that’s because Santorini, for the most part, is one giant photo-op. It’s a photographer’s dream…and I have about 1,000 photos (well maybe not that many), so I had to pick and choose. Sigh. The sacrifices one must make…I hope I’ve picked some of the good ones, but I’ll let you be the judge.
We meet our usual crew and then head off together so we are all on the same tender.
Santorini is an interesting port…it's an adventure upon itself to even GET there. We will have to tender in, which will drop us off at the base of a very steep volcanic cliff. We then have three choices as to how to get to the top of the cliff:
1. We can pay $5E a person and ride the famed Santorini donkeys up the winding path…
2. We can pay $4E a person and ride the fast-moving cable car up the cliff…
3. Or, we can “hoof” it ourselves and walk with our own two feet up the cliff...dodging donkeys and donkey droppings along the way. 586 steps up!
No brainer. We'll take the cable car for $500, Alex. After a very short tender ride over to the cliffside, we hop out, walk right up to the ticket window for the cable car, and are on a cable car within 5 minutes.
Just an FYI…the cable car is pretty steep, and can look VERY intimidating…especially to those of us (as in, ME) who have a fear of heights. I had pulled up videos of the cable car experience on YouTube ahead of time to somewhat prepare myself on the experience. However, the ride is very short (less than 3 minutes), and it’s very smooth.
Before we realize it, we are on the streets of Fira by 8:00 am…with 60 minutes before we have to meet our tour. Wow. We're way early. This actually worked out pretty good, as it gave us time to do some window shopping (some of the little shops nearby were just starting to open) and explore our surroundings.
Soon, the herds of donkeys appear at the top of the path, ready to make their plodding way down, to greet the disembarking cruise passengers.
Before we know it, it’s 9:00, and we soon see our tour guide, ready to go… So…off to explore the island of Santorini, and all it has to offer…but…just WHAT does it have to offer????
Our guide is quite the character…he talks a mile a minute and has a lot of Greek “kefi” – or, zest, for life. He quickly herds the six of us together and we walk a short distance to where the van is parked. There are over 250 churches on the tiny island of Santorini, and about 247 of them are painted white with a blue-painted dome. Our first stop will be to capture photographs of the “famous” blue-domed church. Yes. Although 247 of the churches all look alike, this one is famous and is featured on all of the postcards.
Our destination is Oia (pronounced “EE-ya”)…the “pretty” part of Santorini; the part that is featured in all of the movies. Along the way, we can see the village up ahead of us, and it looks postcard-perfect.
After hopping back in the van, we then drive ALL the way around the island…over to the non-cliff side…that snakes around and shows us the non-populated areas of Santorini. Not very picturesque…just a few houses…blue & white domed churches (of course), and a lot of pasture land.
Some of our tourist stops for the day included:
- Monastery for a taste of their special wine, we did buy their olive oil.
- Another town for a bit of an explore (I cannot remember the name, I was in overload with too much beauty around me)
- A beach town for lunch
- A beach?
We were then dropped off in Fira where we had started for the day and slowly made our way back up to the cable car. We did have to climb some of the stairs the donkeys use and actually it wasn’t as bad as we had thought it was going to be. No line up for the cable car so quickly back to the ship where we all met up for some pool time and our usual discussion about the day.
Side note about the tour guide, he told us at the beginning of the tour that we would need to guess where he was from and he gave subtle hints during the tour. Everybody guessed different states so I guessed Canada and when he said his first language wasn’t English – I guessed Montreal and I was correct. He then went on to say that he had left Montreal right after high school and had travelled around and had finally landed in Greece. He had been in Greece for 30 years, I asked what passport he travelled under and he said “Canadian of course, there is no better one”.