Day 3: FINALLY Santorini

Santorini Travel Blog

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Fresh off the boat
We made it! The first thing I saw when looking out of our cabin window, were the white houses covering the top of what is know as Thira, the largest island of the volcanic island group that is Santorini. The main reason why I let my dad and girlfriend talk me into coming along on this cruise, and now I'm HERE!!!! *insert biggest grin here*

Santorini is essentially what remains of an enormous volcanic explosion, destroying the earliest settlements on what was formerly a single island, and leading to the creation of the current geological caldera.
I bought a poster, looks just like this
(Some people think that the city of Atlantis was destroyed during this event.)  The last eruption was in 1950 and there was also a violent earthquake in 1956. Although the volcano is quiescent right now, at the current active crater (there are several former craters on
Nea Kameni ), steam and sulfur dioxide are given off. The island group is located in the Aegean Sea and is part of the Cyclades.

For today we have booked the excursion, which was 50 Euros/person, but we knew that otherwise we wouldn't get to see much of this beautiful island in such little time. We had to be back on board at 1:00pm to continue on to Mykonos, where we would arrive the same night.
Somebody's front door


First advantage of booking the excursion was that we were on one of the first tender boats bringing us to the port of Ormos Athinios. The trip took only a few minutes, since those little boats were hauling a$$. haha At the port, our tour guide was already waiting for us. We were group #3. After boarding the bus we drove up the serpentine street climbing ca. 300m (980 ft) to the top of the island. Then we drove on to our first destination, the little village of Oia (pronounced Ea or Ia, depending on where you're from). Famous for a gorgeous sunset, which we were not going to see.

We were dropped of at the bus parking lot and then followed our tour guide to the city square. Here she gave us a brief history of the place and told us where to go for the best views.
Blue roof
Now we were free to explore for an hour, waaaaay too short if you ask me. After the next turn there were a couple of Greek men waiting for the tourists to arrive. They had bags of pistachios and sesame covered glazed peanuts for everyone to try. Delicious! We already knew we were leaving with a big bag of the peanuts.


This whole time, I'm having a huge grin on my face. Dad is filming and taking way too long to move along, so I told him to meet me at the bus, cause darn it, we don't have much time! In the short hour that we spent here I took at least 80 pictures. Yes, 80! Wherever you look there is gorgeousness. What a beautiful, quiet (if it wasn't for the tourist) place. I assume, if you were here on your own time and could really take the time to explore every alley of this place you/I would end up with 80 more pictures. ;)

We made it all the way to a "scenic view platform" which seemed to be a ruin of some old building or fortification.
The village of Oia
Scenic, you get scenic here wherever you go, like I said. But from here I had a nice view of the hotel that my fellow TB friends Mark (marksreynolds) and Lena (bwitch16) had spent their honeymoon at. I recognized it instantly by the large pool. haha


So here I am. On top of a volcanic island, or what is it left of it. In the breath-taking village of Oia. *takes deep breath* So worth it! Moving on!

It was already time to catch the bus. I bought my magnet and a large poster to frame along the way. Also the peanuts and pistachios, which I now had to haul around for the rest of the tour. We're back in the bus now, getting ready for the wine tasting. The interesting thing about the wine of Santorini, the Vinsanto (holy wine) is that the grapevine grows very close to the ground with three sprout forming a "basket" in which the grapes are protected from the wind and close to the ground for the little moisture there is.
Self portrait
  We arrived at the winery and were let loose for 45 minutes.


Bathroom break (my first off the ship), interesting fact about Greece. You're not supposed to throw the TP in the bowl and  flush it down. There's a waste basket/bin for that. Yup. I'm going to leave it at that.  My one and only bathroom break while on land.

Back to more pleasant things. I tried the dessert wine first. Which was delicious! Made out of raisins, not the fresh grape. Very sweet. Turns out it was a dumb idea to start with the sweet stuff. I had a glass of the white afterwards, which then tasted very dry. The view from the winery was also very nice. A great view of the Nea Kameni in the middle. The uninhabited part of Santorini. Only visited since that's were all the toxic gases escape from the depths of the still active volcano.

The last stop of the tour was the city of Fira, capital of Santorini.
Blue blue ocean
End of our tour. Our cruise ship was now anchored of shore with shuttle boats still going back and forth. The cable car is located here, since this is the old harbor of Thira. We were let off at the new harbor. There are only 3 ways to get to Fira from the old harbor. You can take the cable car, which has a line. You can pay to have a donkey bring you up a serpentine path, and then burn your clothes, or you can hike that same trail up. Hmmm.. I'd say that's advantage nummero dos for booking the tour. We were already on top AND we only had to get in line to go down, back to our shuttle boat and then the ship. Plus we had seen a lot more of Thira than any of the passengers that left the ship on their own.


We had about 1 1/2 hours to get down to the shuttles since the last one was leaving at 13:00pm. We started walking down more narrow alleys past all the vendors.
Looking back
A lot of jewelry and gold was sold here. Then we got to a point were a line had formed we walked past everyone to see where it was leading; Oh, goody!; 'Twas the line for the cable car. This shorted our browsing time by lets say 45 minutes. Well, so we went to the back of the line while window shopping some more, but decided to stay queued since we were not about to miss our ship. (I actually wouldn't have minded staying here longer, but you know.)


We made it on the cable car 45 minutes later. 6 little compartments  for 6 people at a time. But they were fast!! Down at the old harbor we saw one of the cave houses, that are built into the volcanic rock. They keep warm in the winter and cool during summer.  We got one of the last shuttles to the our ship and glanced sadly back at Santorini from the upper deck. By now I had taken some 180 pictures and my first memory card of 1GB was almost full.

Bye, bye, Santorini. I'll be back one day!



missandrea81 says:
Oh, that's wonderful!! Make sure you visit one of the wineries when you're there and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!
Posted on: Oct 02, 2012
Mezmerized says:
I just booked a flight to Santorini, think it may have been your doing :)
Posted on: Oct 01, 2012
missandrea81 says:
It was for me too. I was so happy to be there, and hated to go. ;) I hope you get to enjoy it and you'll have a good time.
Posted on: Mar 27, 2012
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Fresh off the boat
Fresh off the boat
I bought a poster, looks just like…
I bought a poster, looks just lik…
Somebodys front door
Somebody's front door
Blue roof
Blue roof
The village of Oia
The village of Oia
Self portrait
Self portrait
Blue blue ocean
Blue blue ocean
Looking back
Looking back
Layers and layers of volcanic rock…
Layers and layers of volcanic roc…
beige roof
beige roof
Now isnt that just the perfect sh…
Now isn't that just the perfect s…
Oia again
Oia again
More Oia
More Oia
Enjoying the sun in Oia
Enjoying the sun in Oia
Oia.
Oia.
Oia
Oia
clock tower with, no doubt, a chur…
clock tower with, no doubt, a chu…
Church bells and blue roof
Church bells and blue roof
Tiny little island near the harbor…
Tiny little island near the harbo…
Churches, churches, churches
Churches, churches, churches
One last look, sigh
One last look, sigh
The blue dome again
The blue dome again
Thanks to Roger without heads in i…
Thanks to Roger without heads in …
Found my Oia real estate
Found my Oia real estate
Even the old building have charm
Even the old building have charm
Splash of color
Splash of color
Peek-a-boo
Peek-a-boo
They like it here too
They like it here too
Love these, azalea?
Love these, azalea?
yet another blue dome
yet another blue dome
Color splashes
Color splashes
Another Greek flag
Another Greek flag
Another front door
Another front door
Another pretty hotel
Another pretty hotel
Im in Oia!
I'm in Oia!
Church at the town square in Oia
Church at the town square in Oia
Mosaic at Oia city square
Mosaic at Oia city square
The other side of Thira
The other side of Thira
The new harbor of Athinios
The new harbor of Athinios
Nea Kameni uninhabited
Nea Kameni uninhabited
Seeing the layers clearly now.
Seeing the layers clearly now.
Ah! Theres our ship, and behind i…
Ah! There's our ship, and behind …
View of the Nea Kameni from the wi…
View of the Nea Kameni from the w…
Santo Wines winery
Santo Wines winery
Theres a monastery on the top of …
There's a monastery on the top of…
Fira on the right and Oia in the b…
Fira on the right and Oia in the …
Orthodox church in Fira
Orthodox church in Fira
Entrance of the orthodox church
Entrance of the orthodox church
Another church
Another church
me!
me!
Entrance to a restaurant
Entrance to a restaurant
Map of Santorini
Map of Santorini
Our cruise ship by Nea Kameni
Our cruise ship by Nea Kameni
A little peak at Firas old harbor
A little peak at Fira's old harbor
Fira, find the cable car!
Fira, find the cable car!
Entrance to an art studio
Entrance to an art studio
Couldnt get a good pictures of th…
Couldn't get a good pictures of t…
Views of Fira
Views of Fira
In the cable car
In the cable car
Layers from the cable car
Layers from the cable car
more layers
more layers
Cave houses
Cave houses
Down at Firas old harbor
Down at Fira's old harbor
We did have a nice stay
We did have a nice stay
Fira harbor
Fira harbor
Self portrait
Self portrait
Looking up at Fira
Looking up at Fira
Looking back at Fira from the ship…
Looking back at Fira from the shi…
More of Fira
More of Fira
Oia again while shipping away
Oia again while shipping away
Oia agian
Oia agian
Oias harbor
Oia's harbor
The other side of Thira is flat an…
The other side of Thira is flat a…
Back at the ship
Back at the ship
Shipping off
Shipping off
Fira again
Fira again
Self portrait, a bit windy
Self portrait, a bit windy
More Oia
More Oia
Thira island
Thira island
Me, sad because were leaving
Me, sad because we're leaving
Bye bye Santorini
Bye bye Santorini
Dad is NOT filming! Quick! Get a c…
Dad is NOT filming! Quick! Get a …
Santorini
photo by: wanderingluster