Sunday, October 14, 2012

Santorini – October 12, 2012

Santorini – October 12, 2012

The day was beautiful – warm and sunny.  Having been to Santorini, and knowing that it is an island of only two interesting little “towns”, the most important thing for me was to take photos.  I wanted to start in Oia, the town on the northern end of the island, and then return to Fira, the town in the middle of the island, where the cable car transports tourists down to the sea where the tender boats dock.  Outside our ship, I saw four other cruise ships, and I realized that thousands of other passengers would be heading for the cable cars up the cliff, so I wanted an early start.  I was on the first tender boat at 8:00 a.m., and when the tender arrived at the port, I headed for the cable car; however, a salesperson hawked a speedboat trip to Oia with a bus ride back to Fira, and I decided to take that boat.  It was a great decision; the boat trip to Oia was beautiful, with opportunities to take photos from the sea. 

Santorini is one of the truly beautiful islands I have visited.  Both of the towns have narrow sidewalks – no more than a few people wide – that are lined with souvenir shops and restaurants.  With all the ships in port today, the sidewalks were packed with tourists.  Santorini is the recipient of huge amounts of tourist money; cruise ships are in port almost every day from spring to autumn, and that tourist money goes to Athens to help support an ailing economy.  Tourism is a big part of the Greek economy. 

At Oia, I walked for four hours, stopping often to take photos, and the photo opportunities were endless.  Only the photos can describe the beauty of the white houses and churches and the blue domes of the churches.  The scenes were beautiful, and I hope the photos reflect that beauty.  I took the 1:00 p.m. bus back to Fira and walked through that town for an hour.  Fira is not as picturesque as Oia, and I didn’t need as much time there to take photos.

About 2:00 p.m., I felt that I had walked through all of the photo opportunities in Oia and Fira, and I decided to return to the ship.  Then I was in for a stunning realization – the line for the cable car back down the caldera was about half a mile long; some people said they had waited for more than an hour in the line.  I decided to walk down.  I got a gelato and took off down the steps.  It turned out that the path down the caldera is the path that the donkeys use to transport tourists up the caldera.  This path is a cobblestone path that is quite slippery in places.  As a result of the donkeys, the path was cluttered with donkey waste, and the odor was powerful.  I took photos, but the photos cannot convey the powerful odor.  It was impossible to walk down without stepping in the waste at times.  The trip down the caldera took half an hour, and when I arrived at the bottom, I was perspiring heavily.  After a short wait, the tender arrived and transported the waiting passengers back to the ship.  It was good to be in Santorini again; the island is beautiful and I hope my photos capture some of that beauty.

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