number seventeen: greece day 6

This post was written on Wednesday, October 16th, 2013.
Today we stopped at the island of Santorini, and here is where I saw my first taste of what I imagined Greece to be — white and sand coloured houses rising from the sea, with bright blue doors and bougainvillea blooming everywhere. I hate to admit that this image comes from Hollywood and I’ve now learned that not all of Greece looks like this, but my goodness is it beautiful.

Approaching the island was also beautiful — the area was a volcano, so all the islands have sheer cliffs with the houses built along the top — from far away it looks like snow.

This was our only tendered port, so we anchored along with three other ships and took a tender to shore. We didn’t book an excursion for today so we thought we’d have to wait for a while to get off the ship, but it was surprisingly quick. We arrived in the town of Fira, and because everything is built atop these volcanic cliffs, our next goal
was getting UP. There is a cable car, which I would have done even with my fear of heights, but none of us wanted to wait in line. There is also a zig zagging staircase up the cliff, but it’s a 900 m rise and we weren’t sure Mum would make it. More accurately, she probably would have made it, but that would have been it for the day.

There were also water taxis offered to the more historic town of Oia, and these included a bus ride back to Fira. We decided to do this, and it was a good choice. We had a 30 minute boat ride along the coast, a ride up the road to Oia, and we spent a couple of hours there before taking the bus back to Fira. Oia was breathtaking. I can’t do it
justice with words. All I kept thinking was that Greg would love to take pictures there. All the buildings are connected, and it’s just a maze of little alleyways and archways, with brightly coloured doors (mostly blue), and lots of flowers. Add to that some beautiful displays of pottery, scarves, silk and other goods and you’ve got one
of the most picturesque cities I’ve ever been in. I want to come back with Greg some day. (About now you’re probably wondering when the hell any pictures will be posted…)

After a snack of olives, olive oil and walnut bread at a cafe overlooking the water, we caught the bus back to Fira. There we decided to make the trek down the cliff on the staircase. Mostly because I was too chicken to take the cable car. Plus it was free. What we didn’t take into account were the donkeys. You can rent a donkey to get up or down the hill, and once the donkeys get moving they don’t really stop for anyone. And there are a lot of them. So you have to watch out for your feet! Not to mention the donkey shit. Mum was a trouper and made it down with her arthritic knees. It was a long way!

We got back on the ship in the mid afternoon and Jan and I had a snack and read for a bit on the deck. The weather has been spectacular, but some rain is moving in.

We had dinner and then Jan and I watched “White House Down”. So corny it was entertaining.

I really enjoyed today. I truly don’t have the words to describe how beautiful it was.

Purchases: Necklace for Mary Ann