Santorini, Greece Day 162

We had a long day in the HOT sun today. We did a tour that picked us up near out hotel to take us to the port to catch a sailboat to take us to the volcano. Santorini is in essence a series of islands created by an enormous volcanic eruption about a million years ago. This is an active volcano and at places you can see steam and smoke emerging from the earth. A little freaky, yes, but we were assured that the seismologists monitor it daily and know well in advance if the volcano is feeling cranky. Good! We met some Canadians on the boat (a couple from Calgary and a guy from Vancouver) so we had a nice little group to hang out with for the day. We had a lovely sail over and had to jostle for position at the harbour just to get on the island. It is busy, and there’s no staggering of groups, boats or anything to make it easier on everyone, so we joined the masses and climbed our way to the top. On the way up this older woman from our group had a bad fall and cracked open her forehead. She was stunned and bleeding, so we all stopped for a bit to get her some assistance. She was wearing a tube top (with no bra) and her boobs had popped out. She was clearly European and wasn’t really concerned about exposing herself, but afterwards when we all (the Canadians) were talking, we were all laughing that if it were us in that position, we’d be more concerned about getting our boobs back in the tube top than the bleeding cut on our forehead. How sad we are such prudes! The woman was OK and we continued up to the top. It was not easy going. It was very hot and very rocky. The rocks and soil were black because its volcanic, so the heat was just radiating from the ground. We finally made it and what a view. From this vantage you can really see the caldera and how the water surrounding Santorini is simply filling the void left by the eruption so long ago.
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The church in the square of Perissa, the town that we’re staying in.
Cat of the day! His name is Feta!
Our boat and its captain.
The island is just a black mass of rough volcanic rock.
The crater where the active steam vents can be seen if you look *very closely*
On the island of Palea Kameni there is a hot spring that you can jump off the boat and swim to. It was kind of interesting, but the water just wasn’t all that hot. I guess when it mixes in with the ocean it cools down a lot, but it was warmish. The water has a lot of iron oxide in it so if you’re wearing a white bathing suit, you will return to the boat with a new and improved light rust coloured bathing suit.
We weren’t really sailing… no sails were up.
We stopped at Thirassia island for lunch. If you want to see the village you have to either take a donkey up or walk, so we all decided to just eat at the restaurant at the bottom. It was VERY expensive and not that great but beggars can’t be choosers when you’re held captive on a tour.
Last but not least, we took the little commuter boat over to Oia to see the sunset. Again, there are two ways  to get to the top. Walk in the blazing late afternoon sun, or take a donkey. Well, I’ve been looking forward to my Santorini donkey ride for a long time. Four out of the five Canadians went by donkey, one walked. He said the walk was god awful, but didn’t want to smell of donkey which is why he walked. To be honest, they didn’t smell all that bad. Well, not as bad as you might think they would. The donkey wranglers were interesting, to say the least. The only English they appeared to know was, “Lady, over here!” to direct you to your donkey. It was mass pandemonium once we got started. You get on the donkey, then the guy gives it a slap and off you go! It’s just like the Indy 500 with donkeys! They’re trying to pass each other, deke each other out, running occasionally. All uphill. It was terrifying, but hilarious. I was laughing the whole way up. Well, laughing when I wasn’t shrieking. Debs donkey was just a tad aggressive. She wanted Eeyore but got the donkey from Shrek. He was trying to crowd another donkey to get by and Debs knee wound up going up that poor donkey’s butt. She wasn’t too impressed, and neither was the donkey. As you were going up, when they would try to get by each other you had to watch you didn’t scrape your leg against the retaining wall. Might I mention this wall was the only thing between you and the ground far, far below? We saw one woman with a white Prada purse (we really hope it was a knock off) that got scraped end to end on the wall. On the other hand, what the hell are you doing bringing your Prada purse on a tour involving a donkey ride? Sheesh. It was by far one of the most entertaining, stressful and memorable moments of the trip so for that alone it was worth the five euro.
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The harbour at the bottom pre-Donkey ride.
We didn’t eat here but isn’t it just beautiful?
This was me on my donkey. I tried to take more photos while on the donkey but I needed two hands to hold on…
We made it. I don’t know is more traumatized, the humans or the donkey’s.
After this we needed some serious ice cream action, so the boys stayed and secured a good spot to watch the sunset and we girls walked up to the town to get some. Eight and a half euro for 2 scoops of Hagen Daz. I think I can say that was the most expensive ice cream cone of my life.. Ah, Santorini. As we were sitting there enjoying our ice cream we noticed that the radio station the guy had on was a Seattle Jazz station… how funny to come all the way to Greece to listen to music that we could find three hours from home!
The donkey’s making their last trip up for the night.
The Oia sunset. This is touted as being one of the best sunsets in the world. Can I be honest? It was nice, but I’ve seen better from The Butlers patio in Lions Bay many times before. I guess I’m just spoiled! If you came from a non-ocean city then it would knock your socks off, but for a Vancouverite it’s just another beautiful summer sunset.

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