Santorini, Greece

Trip Start May 22, 2008
Trip End Jun 14, 2008

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

UPDATE 6/5/08:

Santorini was definitely one of the highlights of our trip so far.  We docked early in the morning at the island which, due to its port size, required that we ride tender boats (local passenger boats) to the shore.  Santorini is an ancient volcano caldera that makes up around 4 islands.  Thira (most tourists just call it Santorini) is the largest and the island where most people spend their time.  After coming ashore from the tender boats, we had to make our way to the rim of the caldera.  We could do this one of three ways: walk, ride a donkey, or take a cable car.  Walking looked to be pretty strenuous, riding the donkey looked to be pretty messy and riding the cable car terrified Joe.  We rode the cable car and Joe just held his breath.

This was one of the excursions that we spent with our new friends, Ericka and Chris.  Once we reached the top, we found an ATV rental store and toured the entire island on our own terms.  It was by far the best way to see everything.  We first rode to the town of OiŽ on the northern part of the island.  OiŽ is the town that so many people think of when they see pictures of the greek isles.  The houses are all white with blue domes and seem the cling to the cliff side.  We shot a lot of really great pictures and canŽt wait to share them all.

After we were done at OiŽ, we rode south on the east side of the island through a farming community.  I am not sure how self-sufficient the island is, but they seem to be able to produce just about everything that they need with the exception of water.  Even with the steep topography, they have managed to terrace and step every mountain side, even the extreme ones.  It was pretty impressive.  Kristen even got a lot of pictures off the back of the moving ATV!  Passing through the farming community and turning back to the west, we went back up the hill and asked about a recommended local winery.  We ended up at the Santo Winery, which is about 4 kilometers directly south of the town that we docked in and has the most amazing views.  We got pictures and video while at the winery and were completely blown away.  Kristen didnŽt want to leave and even grabbed a couple of real estate guides just to see if we could move there (the plan is in progress).  We got a flight of 6 wines, bread, olives and cheese for 10 euros and were pleasantly surprised.

After the winery, we couldnŽt decide if we wanted to head down to some old ruins or find a beach.  After discussion, the beach won out and we headed back to the southeast corner of the island.  The beaches on the east side of the island are all black sand beaches due to the volcanic nature of the place.  We found a nice spot and had a couple strawberry daiquiris and even got into the water a little bit.  That was the most relaxing place on the trip and we had a great time doing nothing for a couple of hours.

After the beach, we made our way back to Fira (the port town) and headed back out to the ship on the last tender of the day (Joe was nervous).  We slept quite well that night.

Santorini is a place that we both desperately want to return to someday.  We would like to spend some time to stay on the island and also visit some other islands like Naxos and Mykenos.  This place was absolutely breathtaking.

Now weŽre on to Naples!

Joe and Kristen
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