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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

15 Hours of touring yesterday

We started with a quick croissant and were picked up by a day tour bus at 8:30.  First stop was the highest point of Santorini, Profitis Ilias.   The drive was harrowing, all steep switchbacks, and these were normal size tour buses (like we see in Branson).  At one point there were 7 buses here.  There is a monastery at the top.  We couldn't go in, but the grounds were beautiful.  The weather was hazy, as it is when then humidity is really cranking.  Even so, the views around the island were wonderful.

I can't believe we were sampling wine at 9:00 in the morning.  Tanya, our guide, said to think of it as communion, especially since that is what they use for their communion.  It really was just a swallow.

After the high point, we spent an hour or so touring the traditional village of Pirgos.  The streets were narrow, and houses and doorways wonderful.  Some of the houses sold items they hung outside their doors.

This was the entrance to another section, just past their cathedral. This was our guide, Tanya.

Walk took us up to this view.  

After our walk, we were taken to the pier, and we continued our day on a traditional wooden boat (but no sails).  This is a view of Fira from the sea, pretty far out, hence the haze.

First stop from the boat was the volcano.  It is still an active volcano, but dormant.  The biggest eruption was about 1500 BC, which split the island, caused a tsunami, destroyed Crete (and maybe Atlantis?)  Anyhoo, the center is an island itself, and I made it about half way, but John continued on.  It was much steeper in most parts than this picture shows. 

John took this picture into the crater.  John saw a little steam, but he was sort of disappointing.  Glad I sat and rested.

At one point, HOT LAVA left this,

After we loaded up into the boat again, we went to one of the hot springs.  We anchored and we could swim into the hot springs if we wanted.  I wanted.  John didn't.  He took this picture; didn't zoom, but I'm one of the little heads bobbing around.   It was supposed to have curative powers, but I'm still old and heavy.  Afterwards, I stunk like brine, and my hair was not only creepily  tall, but was very heavy with all the salt.  I'm not sure I like a whole body salt scrub.   But we still had 10 more hours to go.  

Next stop, a village on Thirasua,  another island of the Caldera.  We ate lunch finally, 3:00 I think, and walked around a little.  Sorry, more doors, etc.  Something I didn't get a good picture of, was the one large souvenir store was run by the village priest and his wife, he is full regalia, less the hat.

From our table at lunch, I looked down into the sea and saw sponges doing whatever it is they do.  My kind of snorkeling-from a dinner table.

Some lunch options.  I passed on these.  I couldn't even do the chicken next to it because of their proximity.

Better.  this is chicken.

Heading to Oia (EEEE-ya).  Almost looks like snow on top, but white buildings.

Oia.  Very beautiful village, everyone flocks here to view the sunsets.  Unfortunately, it clouded over about 10 minutes before sunset, but we saw a lot of pretty pre-views.

If  that's all right with you . 

From the pier at Oia, your choices were to walk up, or mule ride.  No cable car here.  John declined, I took a mule.
The mule they put me on had a hello kitty blanket.  After I got on, which wasn't easy, as you can guess, the guy slapped the mule, yelled and him and I was first out of the gate.  What an experience.  The mule really didn't want to go, but would stop, and as soon as another one got close, he'd hurry up again.  We shared the little staircase with people walking (John), and sometimes the mules would crowd the people off the steps.  It wasn't my mule, I swear, but I saw John jump on top of the wall to escape one.  It was pretty funny.  At one point near the top, the mules got pretty competitive, trying to go 3 abreast, then 4.  At that point, one of them got me in the leg with his wire muzzle.  A little skin missing, but none the worse for wear.  There is a picture of me on the mule for proof, but it's such a lovely picture, what with my hair and all, no one gets to see it unless I owe them big time.   Of course now, in addition to sweat, brine smell, and a coating of salt, I now have mule sweat and poop on me. 
Who'd like to go with me on my next vacation?

At the top, something pretty to see on a rock wall.

The main square at Oia has their largest church, and was a good spot for portraits.  All over the town, we saw gussied up people posing and taking selfies.

Sorry, more blue domed churches.

A very expensive marionette and gift shop.  I didn't even look at the price.

View from our dinner table.

Tomato Balls.

Stuffed peppers

Saw this guy peeking over a roof.  No shirt, and he was sure enjoying his drink.  Later, he had a shirt on, and when I realized it was a private villa, I decided he can do whatever he wants on his probably gorgeous rooftop garden.



  1. Beautiful pictures! I have enjoyed your trip!!!

  2. Thank you for sharing your trip with all of us. Looks incredible.