MONDAY, MAY 4, 2009 – 116/29 – SANTORINI, THE GREEK ISLES
SANTORINI! Dick has wanted to visit this island for 40 years. His mother visited here in the late 1970s and loved it. Well we are finally here. What a disappointment! It is raining, misty, foggy and windy. Maybe we should just sleep in. However, we don’t and after a good breakfast, we head for the island on a local tender. That means the local boatmen’s union is strong enough to prevent the ship from using its own lifeboats as tenders and to force the ship to hire the local boatmen and their boats to tender the passengers ashore.
It is a rough passage to the landing but we arrive safe and relatively dry. At least we do not have to ride donkeys up the twisting path to the top of the cliff as they did in the past. Now we can ride the cable car to the top in much less time and out of the weather.The cost is €4 each or $5.30US for a one way ticket. We ask and find out that the cable car is about 15 years old.
At the top, we plan to rent a small car and explore on our own but the agency is closed and we do not want to wait in the rain so we walk down to the taxi stand. Dick wants to go to the archeological site at Akrotiri but learns that it has been closed to the public for over two years. The cabbie suggests that he take us to Oia on the western tip of the island.This village is reputed to be the most photographed place in Greece, if not the world. We agree on a round trip price of €55 ($73US) and for the car to wait for us one hour while we explore the village.
Even with the wind and rain, the village of Oia is a photographer’s dream. It must be stunning on a cloudless day.The building’s paint schemes are very simply with doors and window frames one pastel and the house wall another.Together, the houses make up a montage of pastel colors and photo opportunities are around every corner.Our hour passes all too rapidly!Unfortunately, it is not over before Carolyn has contributed to the local economy by buying a pair of earrings!
We return to Fira, the population center at the top of the cable car, pay the driver and explore here for a while. There are over three hundred churhes in Fira. Unfortunately, it is beginning to rain harder and a chill is setting in from our wet clothes. We stop for the day, disappointed that Santorini is not at its best today but thinking that we would like to come back and rent one of the traditional houses that spill down the cliff side.Not having seen the island in the bright sun, we can only imagine how spectacular the place and the view must be on a clear day. As we sail out of the Santorini caldera, the Captain warns us of high winds and continued rain for the next 24-36 hours. It sounds like Patmos may be a washout.
We elect to keep our standing reservation in “2” for dinner as they are serving an Italian meal and Osso Bucco is an entree choice. Dick loves Osso Bucco! It is good night for a heavy meal since it is cold and rainy. Before dinner, we attend a cocktail party for returning passengers. I guess we are on our second cruise with them as this is a separate segment. We sit with some people from Fredericksburg, Texas and their friends from Arkansas and have a nice chat before dinner.
Dinner is very bouncy with ship heeling smartly to starboard due to the wind. Several times, the ship does a double back flip and bounce due to the sea conditions and once, people are grabbing for their plates and glasses as the ship bounces and heels. It is definitely getting bouncy tonight.
During the night, things go flying several times. Carolyn opens the curtains and watches the heavy spray wash over the front deck and balcony for a while. Mind you, we are on the 5th deck. The sea is very angry tonight!