Ahhh Santorini. Waking up to this place was surprising mainly because the photos I have seen of it never really show that it is a Volcanic island that lies among a bunch of other islands that are actually just peaks of submerged mountainous formations – all the remnant of a volcanic caldera. Also, I knew the cities cascaded over bluffs but just didn’t realize unitl we saw them in person that they are actually so, SO high up there.
This time we would not just walk off the ship. Instead we picked up tickets for our time to head down where we would be tendered to the island via boat. Bryan has been on many cruises, but this was the first port he would experience like this – so he was the most excited and fascinated one watching the process!
Option #1.) Hike to the town of Fira – A-ha – NO…not since we had a day full of hiking plans. 😉
Option #2.) Ride a donkey. Oh HECK NO. As hot as it was and knowing how many people those poor babies would be dragging up in one long hot day did not have me wanting to support that.
So, we chose option #3.) the cable car. The lines were pretty long but efficient, and it gave my Dad time to buy a hat for the heat. We have all been on our share of funiculars, but this one was more roller coaster style with multiple dangling cars quickly headed up the cliff. We’ll just say Momma was not a fan. But she was trooper.
The night before Santorini, I reminded everyone that we had planned a 9km hike from Fira to Oia for the day and double checked to be sure the plan was still something everyone was ready for. However, with my Mom coming down with a cold, a tour guide acting shocked that we wanted to hike it “at this time of day” and looking ahead at what would be hours in the heat of the sun before arriving to our destination to sightsee, we literally made it 20 minutes until the family vetoed my plan and headed for the bus stop.
Well so much for that. It would have been fun though right? 😉 It turned out to be for the best once we experienced the time it took just for the bus to commute. However it was so crowded we were stuck sweaty and standing in the aisle of the bus the whole way as the driver made quick twists and hairpin turns around the bluffs. Ahh!
The island is very desolate but amazing. I do have to tell on myself here. We kept passing these little things (below).
I thought they were cute. I whispered later to my family “I took a picture of the cute little greek mailboxes”. As it turns out, after the mocking I learned that these were actually memorial markers for people killed at that place on the road. How sad, but how off I was! I am so glad I kept my thoughts to only myself, my family and you all for a good laugh!
Oia was just like you picture it. We loved walking through the city, trying real greek yogurt (wow!), and taking it all in. We stopped to snap a few photos and Bryan put down our GoPro…it was about 45 minutes later that a group of young Chinese tourists approached us and gave it to us. I was so so thankful and we were just amazed at the integrity they had and sheer determination it must have taken to find us in the crowds. Praise God!
Of course it was difficult for me to sightsee without wanting to hang out with the dogs and cats there….some things never change.
Looking back towards Fira….yeah I guess I am glad we took the bus too – haha! I would totally hike this if we were ever there in a morning, late evening or in the off season.
There is a photo I snapped quickly of my stud husband who never once let me carry my backpack with water, sunscreen and photo gear. He never even complained about it – I think I’ll keep him. 😉
After a full day in Oia we eventually went back to Fira (via bus – but we had seats this time!). Before heading down towards the ship, we stopped for some drinks and a look at the city in the late day sun.
I remember this night was perfect. It went from being so hot that day to nice cool and breezy enough to enjoy some hot green tea on the deck. A gorgeous sunset, full moon and fun watching the city change colors and then into what looked like those light bright toys we had when we were kids.
After Santorini we thought we’d seen the best of the Greek isles, but the next day in Mykonos would prove otherwise and steal our hearts. Stay tuned for my favorite Greek Isle and cruise adventure!
***Wondering where in the world we’ve been or where this all started? Feel free to click to take a look back at our other stops in Dubrovnik, Athens, Ephesus, Split, Venice, or Corfu or for more info on this crazy Adriatic cruise we took. ***