t2.bmp (300054 bytes)  Santorini

 

May 21, 2010

Oh, we had high hopes for our stop in Santorini! The most beautiful island we would visit!

But it was a cloudy, rainy day. We would be reminded of Seattle (which is always nice) and not get the photos we had hoped for.

This is a photo of Fira taken from the ship. We would tender to the island and then ride a cable car up to Fira at the top of the cliffs.

Here we are in a rare moment in Fira where no other tourist could be seen! The street were tiny and winding and challenging with hills and steps -- and also incredibly crowded.

We had heard that the town of Oia (pronounced Eee-ah) was the most beautiful place on the island. We would start the day in Fira, but we needed to find a way to get to Oia.

Jay, one of cruise staff, had shown us where on the map to get a taxi or a bus. He had warned us that it would be very easy to get a taxi to Oia, but that it would be much more difficult and expensive to get one coming back to Fira. And he said that the bus system was for the locals and might be overloaded by all the tourists.

Well we took a wrong turn somewhere and could not find the taxi stand.  But lo and behold a taxi just drove up to us!  We struck a deal and headed to Oia. The guy offered (in broken English) to stay with us all day. That seemed easier than trying to find a taxi back to Fira. Turned out, we only stayed with him for about an hour, though.

 

We stopped on the way to Oia to look over an overlook at a Catholic Church and at the caldera and our ship.

Here we are looking out over the caldera of the volcano!   You might be able to see our ship, she looks so tiny down there.

Here is a close-up of that church's steeple.

Even with the cloudy sky, the whitewashed buildings with blue accents were spectacular.

Then we zoomed to Oia.

We walked up a narrow alleyway with steps up to a great vantage point. If only it had been sunny!  The view would probably have knocked our socks off.  As it was, the sea and the mountainside were pretty.  Lou got some great pictures anyway.

We cannot remember the name of this church. We are in Oia. The plaza was crowded, but Lou managed to snap this photo between crowds.

This is the pathway up to that vantage point.

For some reason, this pharmacy sign struck us as funny on this old wall. This is the parking lot where our taxi waited for us.

The taxi driver wanted us to go to a black sand beach, to a winery, to a special restaurant for lunch... but we decided to go back to Fira and wander around town on our own.

It was a good decision to go back to Fira and wander, because soon afterward, the skies opened up. It was pouring rain!

Lou got a nice baseball cap.  Karen looked at scarves but could not find one that she would want to wear on her head to work.

This is an unusually wide section of sidewalk. Mostly the sidewalks were narrow and filled with cafe tables.

Our ship again

Later in the afternoon, once we were back onboard the ship, the sun came out! What a difference it made -- the sea was no longer black but bright blue.

There was no time to rush back to shore because soon the ship would be setting sail.

 

 

Excursion : We cancelled this tour because we just did not feel up to the adventure described below.

Volcano Hot Springs Tour

Volcano Hot Springs Tour - SO02

 

Santorini is one of the most spectacular islands in the Mediterranean. It presents the awesome sight of a volcanic crater, partially submerged by the sea. The two islands in the caldera that is now Santorini's harbor, Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni - "the volcano," to the local people are the youngest volcanic lands in Greece. Travel by boat directly from the ship to Erinia Cove, on the volcanic island of Nea Kameni. Step out onto the Daphni lava flow, the oldest lava on the island. The path to the top of the dome is over volcanic sand and lava fragments. Observe large fragments of lava that were ejected in a molten state and cooled very rapidly as they traveled through the air. Upon reaching the summit of the crater at 127 meters, you will have time to relax and enjoy the view of the island of Santorini and the amazing cliff of the caldera. Following the same route in reverse, return to your boat and sail to the thermal springs of Palea Kameni. The boat will stop in the deep green sulfur springs and you'll have a chance to swim in the mineral rich, warm waters (max 35 degrees C) of the Hot Springs. On the return boat trip, you will be dropped off at the small boat harbor of Fira where you can use your round trip cable car tickets that are included in this excursion. Waiting and queuing time are expected to enter the cable car station.

Note: Guests must be able to walk approximately 1 mile uphill over loose gravel paths on the volcano island. Hats, sunglasses and comfortable walking shoes are essential. Due to the nature of the terrain, it is suggested to wear comfortable, "closed-toe" walking shoes on this tour. Swimming in the thermal springs requires open-ocean swimming (depending on anchorage point) and is done at guest's discretion. Participants should be good swimmers and be comfortable in open water. Guests may be required to swim up to 50 yards to reach the hot spring area since the current and weather conditions are constantly changing. Participants should be aware that there are certain inherent risks involved with any swimming excursion. If you are planning on swimming, don't forget to wear your swimsuit and take a towel from the ship.

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