If it’s Sunny, We are Happy
Excitement builds onboard as today’s site is Santorini. Breakfast at Cagney’s consisted of French toast topped with marscapone cheese and maple syrup, and then the wait for the first glimpses of the island as we pulled close to the port.
The members of the Priority Disembarkation Group met to catch the first tender to the landing. The largest decision awaited: whether to go to the top via funicular or ride up on donkeys. Since there were no ATM’s below, our decision was made for us. We began the trek upward on the enticing, spiraling trail of donkey poop while being reminded by those coming down that we weren’t even close to getting to the summit. Arrival at the halfway point prompted us to pay the few euros we had left which would get one of us on the donkey. That would be me, while the other one had to complete the journey on foot. I kept thinking, really- how often do you get to ride a donkey? I was also grateful that I was securely tethered to the rear of the group.
Upon arrival there, we opted for some photo op’s and we met new Florida friends, Clark and Ivonne. We decided to pull our funds together to get a taxi ride to Oia, about twenty minutes away. Note: If you have never been in a taxi in Greece, beware. In Athens, we had gotten ripped off with the sleight of hand trick on a trip to a museum, and the fear of that happening again overcame me since I knew that there was indeed a language barrier. At first, the male taxi drivers were obstinate and dishonest about proposed fares. We were lucky, however, and Mariana proved to be different. We had been told that we could get there but could not get back. If they tell you that, don’t believe it. There are taxis in Oia that will return you to Fira. She agreed to take us there when we assured her that we would be at the taxi stand at the time she would return for us. Oia is worth the trip…an artist’s and photographer’s paradise.
In antiquity, Santorini was called Strongili, or rounded, yet in 1500 C.E. the volcano erupted and the center was submerged. The steam underground to this day is another island attraction at the hot springs of Palia Kameni. The sunken basin, or caldera, is framed by mountainous clusters of village houses and Greek churches set above an azure blue Aegean sea. Evening appetizers and local wine at Lotza Taverna along with shopping within the narrow streets prefaced a late dinner in Fira: grilled lamb, Greek salad, potatoes, tzatziki and other localized sauces accompanied by glasses of the local Fira house wines. No ouzo! The trek down the mountain cliffs was easier late at night with the aid of flashlight apps on iPhones.
The night ended very late onboard with newfound friends and nightcaps around the Deck Seven bar.