120525 Santorini 25 May Friday

Arriving at Santorini is something rather different.  The island of Santorini, where we anchor, rises straight up out of the ocean.  We ‘park’ 650 meters above the ocean floor – now that’s a lot of chain between the ship and the anchor.  Today is a tender day, where we are ferried to the shore to the base of a big climb.  You can walk up the 650 steps, get the local smelly donkeys to carry you up, or you can catch the cable car.  We choose the cable car and arrive before too many others from the ship.  The streets are not very busy, yet.  Many of the shops have not opened as it is before 9:30am.  We find a café that overlooks a magnificent view of the bay, islands and our cruise boat.  The waiter is the owner’s son, half English and half Greek.  We order hot chocolate as the breeze is still a little cool and then he offers free Wi-Fi for both the computer and Lyn’s iPhone and sets us both up for ‘as long as you want’ use.

It’s the sort of view one could ‘die for’.  Absolutely fabulous!  We admire the view for 90 minutes and sort out a few things with the agency in Yarra Junction – from the top of an island in Greece – wow, nice office to work from.

Santorini survives on tourists.  The waiter tells us the most cruise boats in at the one time is 14.   Our ship captain had swapped Athens and Santorini in our itinerary, due to too many tourist ships coming to Santorini on the same day.  We are glad he has as for the previous 4 days, there has been a cold wind and plenty of rain, so today definitely is the right day to be in Santorini.

The town seems to be built on the edge of the cliff.  Hotels and villas line the edge, many with swimming pools with great views.  If you want to do some serious, serious sun tanning, its best not to do it at any of the hotels here – hahah!  “Off the cliff edge”, are narrow streets of shops, without room for cars.  The shops are all clean and well displayed – clothing, jewelry, swim ware, food, restaurants, more jewelry and more clothing shops – oh there is fish spa too, and some of our group try it out to find it is like little electric shocks as the fish nibble on your callouses and bunions.

We do a lot of walking along the cobbled streets that meander through hotels and villas along the edge of the cliff face, looking for ‘that’ postcard shot of white houses, some with striking blue domes – and we find some, many.

As we have a snack lunch in another café with the world’s greatest view, we hear that someone has had a very bad accident.  The donkey trail that allows many tourists to ride a donkey up the hill becomes littered with donkey poo.  As he was getting off his donkey, he slipped on the path right into a pile of donkey poo.  The donkeys smell enough as it is – we can smell them from the café – but to fall in their manure, would be a bad accident indeed.  (He was NOT a member of our group, so we can still travel home without a smelly donkey poo collector).

After purchasing some clothes and jewelry, and gifts for friends and relatives, we board the cable car at 3:30pm and onto our ship.  After changing, we make our way to the back of the ship for some r&r in the sun and the ‘sail-away’ party as the ship leaves Santorini at 6:00pm

Tonight’s entertainment is a brilliant piano man.  While others chat in the dining area, I thought I check out the entertainment around the ship for the night.  When I front up to the main entertainment lounge, I cannot be drawn away to tell the others and stay through a great concert of Jazz, Show music, Movie themes, and classical, I return to the group after the show and encourage some to come back to the 10:00pm show to enjoy it all again.

Tomorrow is a day at sea as we travel from Santorini to Messina in Italy, so I may not bother with a post for then.

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