|The first of October was a pretty great day. The weather as we anchored off the island of Santorini was not good...we could hear thunder and there were dark clouds all around but as we boarded the locally provided tenders for our ride into the port – for lack of a better term – things started to improve. Today was Kathy’s turn to be under the weather and Dave decided to stay with her, but we eventually found him at a restaurant later in the day.
We got off the tender and immediately hopped onto another for the short journey to the port at Oia where we caught a bus to the actual town situated along the cliffs on the top of the island. Since the weather had cleared up it was now a gold mine of photo ops and wandering. Santorini is actually part of a caldera, or volcanic crater, from an eruption in the 16th century BC. It left the semi-circular pieces of land that now include 2 inhabited and 4 uninhabited islands...and awesome views.
After sufficiently wandering around Oia, we hopped back on the bus and after about a 20 minute ride, were dropped off at the edge of Fira, the main town on the island.
I felt that both towns were awesome, thanks to the great weather, but Oia seemed more laid back and Fira was more lively...probably because it was more crowded. Seems that once the tenders drop people off at the dock they spend their time clogging the streets of Fira while Oia was filled with more non-cruise ship tourists. Since we visited both, we are special.
We made it into the main part of town despite Ken getting hit by a car. Really; a passing car’s mirror hit him in the back as he walked along the street. Luckily he wasn’t hurt, probably because the mirror hit his camera backpack and his inherent toughness. The driver didn’t stop, maybe because they didn’t like tourists or maybe because it’s an everyday occurrence on the narrow, crowded streets of Santorini...or maybe both are valid reasons.
Despite Ken’s not-quite-so-near-death experience, we were all able to carry on with the main goal of the day...which was apparently more shopping. Luckily for me, the ship has to eventually leave so there is a time limit on shopping. As we slowly plodded along the narrow streets we happened to stumble across Dave who was just finishing his lunch at The Greeks restaurant so he joined us as we headed down the street to the Zafora restaurant so he could watch us eat. The food was not all that memorable, but as you can tell by the pictue, the view was amazing so it was well worth it.
In order to get down from Fira you have a couple options. You can walk down the switchbacks, take the cable cars or ride the donkeys. And since there may be a weight limit for donkey riders and Dave and I MAY have been a pound or two over that arbitrary number, we opted to take the cable car – actually more of a gondola thingie – while Michele, Lisa and Ken rode the donkeys. The donkey ride is a unique thing for tourists to do in Santorini, so they can now say they did it...not necessarily a Bucket List kind of thing, but I’m fairly sure this was the first donkey ride for these 3 adventurers. And I’m sure the donkeys appreciate Dave and I taking the cable car...just sayin’.