Posted by: Gary Guertin | November 3, 2012

18. Croatia/Med./Ft. Laud. Air/Cruise – Santorini, Greece

Hi All,

This Greek Island we are visiting today, Monday, Oct. 22nd, is what cruising is all about.  I won’t be able to do the beauty of this island justice in words and pictures, but I’m going to give it my best college try.

Let’s start with the history of Santorini.  It seems that in the year 1652 B.C., (I said before Christ), there was a huge volcano eruption (said to be one of the largest in recorded history).  The volcano that made the island of Thira (as Santorini was called at the time) erupted in a catastrophic explosion known as the Minoan eruption.  The entire island sank to the bottom of the caldera (center) and the sea rushed into the abyss to create a great bay.  The bay, which once was the center of the island, is 1300 ft. deep in places.  It is so deep that boats can not drop anchor, so cruise ships like the Nieuw Amsterdam have to sit out in the middle and tender passengers to shore.  The bay is 32 square miles in size.  Now picture yourself in the middle of this bay, it’s like being in the middle of a volcano, and you look up at the sides of the sheer cliff’s to see, perched above, these white structures, which are the towns of Fira, Oia, and Thira, or the island of Santorini.  

Let’s take a look from the ship:

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Up close, with my long lens, they looked like this:

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Susy and I didn’t want to miss a thing on this island so we booked a tour to see all three towns.  Fortunately, there was a way for tour buses to get to the top of the cliffs by going up a winding narrow road.  Have to show the port entrance:

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Our first stop was Fira, the highest point of the island.  Here’s a view looking back across the top of the cliffs toward the southern point (we are at the northern point):

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We proceeded from Fira to the other end of the island, to Oia, which is where the famous beautiful photos of Santorini are taken.  Here is a shopping street:

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This is one of the islands main churches:

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If you will forgive me for a minute, I have this beautiful traveling companion and I just couldn’t resist showing this photo of the flowers and my “beauty”:

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Now I want to show you what Susy and I believe is one of the most beautiful views we have seen.  We walked down a narrow path to a point far out from the side of Oia and looked back to take these two photos, one to one side and the other in the opposite direction.  I think the second is the best, but you choose:

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Here’s another shopping street in Oia:

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Our tour ended in Thira which is the center town and the largest of the three. On the way I got this photo of the Nieuw Amsterdam out in the bay:

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Now, apart from the tour bus road, which we took at the beginning, there was only three ways to get back down to the bay, to take the tenders back to the ship.  First was to walk down 982 steps, second was to take a donkey down those same 982 steps, and third was the cable car, for which the tour gave us a ticket.  Needless to say Susy and I opted for the cable car.  Before we leave Thira here’s one more shot of a shopping street:

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The cable car we took down:

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and a shot of the donkeys going down those 982 steps:

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That’s it for Santorini.  As I said at the beginning I don’t believe I can do this island justice in this short post.  If you ever get the chance to visit this island, do so.  You can’t believe what people can do, building beautiful, clean, white buildings on top of volcanic cliffs and living there day in and day out.  It would make me a little nervous, even though it’s been over 3000 years since the last eruption.

We’re on to Italy, so I’ll see you next stop,

Love You All,

Gary (alias Gagu)


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