"" Writer's Wanderings: Santorini, Greece

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Santorini, Greece

Our ride to shore

Back in 2012 we finished a cruise that ended in Athens and then flew to Santorini for a four day stay. It was a beautiful four days. You might even call it romantic. It's hard not to feel romantic when you explore Santorini. It is a beautiful place.

So, when our ship anchored in the caldera, the volcano basin that forms the harbor of the town of Fira, we hoped to revisit some of the places we had enjoyed. At least this day the weather looked to cooperate. The sun was shining brightly and the temperature was very comfortable. Since we didn't have a tour, we took our time with breakfast thinking that the rush to tenders would be over when we were ready to leave. We hoped it wouldn't be as bad as the day at Mykonos.

Switchback trail to the top

To our surprise an announcement came just as we finished breakfast that it was open tender time. That meant that you didn't need a tender ticket. You could go directly to the tender platform. When we looked over the side from the Promenade Deck we saw nice big local Greek boats that were tendering so the operation was going a lot faster...from ship to shore.

The only way to get to the town from where the tenders docked was either by donkey, walking uphill and up about a hundred steps as well or taking the cable car. There was no way we would ride a donkey up the steep switchback trail. Walking up was out of the question as well. That left the cable car. We'd done that before from a cruise ship and it was a pleasant ride. What wasn't pleasant this trip was an influx of about 10,000 cruise passengers from four ships that were anchored nearby.

Cable car

Now some of those passengers were going on tours which were tendered to a different dock where buses awaited. Let's say a generous 30% went on tours. That left about 7,000 to try to make it up the hill to town. The cable cars take about 600 passengers an hour according to what I read. That would make about ten hours to get them all up the hill. I don't think it took all that long, but when we saw the line that was at least more than an hour long, we turned around and wove our way back through the crowd and back onto the tender to return to the ship.

Disappointed a bit but ready to spend a "sea day" in port. We gathered our decks of cards, stopped by the Dutch Cafe and got our coffees and headed down to the game room where there were nice tables to play on. Bob got even with my run of card luck and by the time we were ready for lunch I was ready to cry, "Uncle!"

The ship was quiet. The weather was perfect and the view was lovely. We sat for a long time on our balcony and enjoyed the restful time together. 

So, we didn't get to see Fira, Santorini, again close up but the day couldn't have been nicer if we had. It ended with a glorious sunset over the caldera.

 On to Athens...

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