Accio Jacksons!

An 11-inch holly blog with a phoenix feather core

November 21: Santorini, or our visit to a volcano

by Rebecca on 2008-12-16

When we woke up, we found Santorini floating off in the distance. Well, actually, we were floating in the distance of Santorini. But the view was beautiful! We were feeling lazy and not especially interested in seeing yet another off season Greek island filled with jewelry shops and cheap trinkets. So, we took our time getting ready and eating breakfast. But finally, we got our act together and found ourselves on a tender into the city. The tender ride was nice and bumpy, so we were glad to be back on land.

There are 3 ways to get up to Santoriniʼs main city, Fira.

  1. Cable car/gondola ride up a sheer rock face.
  2. 30-minute walk up a twisty windy path on the edge of a cliff.
  3. Hire a donkey to ride up.

We opted for the cable car, because it seemed the tidiest way to go. Strangely enough, the donkey ride and the cable car ride cost exactly the same. The cable car ride was easily the scariest thing that weʼd done the entire trip. I had my eyes squeezed shut for most of the ride, probably to the amusement of the couple sharing the ride with us and of course, William. I just had to keep telling myself that the cable car had run safely for decades and there was no reason to fear that it would somehow snap, sending us all to a violent and watery death. I hoped.

We wandered pretty aimlessly around Fira. Just as Iʼd predicted, it was full of jewelry shops and trinket stands. I imagine that itʼs more interesting in the summer time when more stores and restaurants are open. We did finally buckle down and buy a tiny Greek pot to be used as a Christmas ornament some day. (I buy Christmas ornaments for trip souvenirs — theyʼre generally small, and you only have to put them out once a year so you shouldnʼt ever get too tired of or resentful at them.) We also found a small archaeological museum with a standard collection of Greek treasures.

Santorini was formed by the eruption of a massive volcano thousands of years ago. The island has a ring shape, and you can see the ancient crater in the middle of the ring. Very pretty. But that means that everything else is very, very high up, which also means that the wind blows and blows and blows hard. We had decided to try some calamari at a rooftop cafe for the pretty views of the rest of the island and the crater. The wind blew so, so hard the entire time we were up there. We were both freezing, windswept, and really tired of Santorini. But the calamari was pretty good! After all that, we decided simply to walk down, instead of taking a cable car or the donkey. This was fine, except that we spent 30 minutes trying to dodge a walkway littered with donkey droppings that had accumulated over what must have been months and months.

We got back to the ship at 3, after a very choppy and stuffy tender ride. I didnʼt know it at the time, but a huge storm was brewing in the Mediterranean, which upset the water quite a bit. But a standard evening of relaxation and waiting around for dinner. After dinner was the dessert spectacular, where the kitchens put out all their fancy desserts. We were still quite full from dinner, but when I saw that they were handing out cremes brulee by the dozen, I had to have one. Mmmmm!