My chariot departs Crete at noon for an afternoon cruise to Santorini. To my amazement, the sea was a little rough. Until now, the sea had been quiet and placid. We arrive at the town of Fira on the island of Santorini at 4:30p.m. Because of the rough seas, the ship cannot dock and everyone must take a tender to shore. There is nothing quite like boarding a tender in rough seas. You need to time you step from the ship to the tender just right. Fortunately for me, as I can’t swim, the crewmembers helping all of us disembark from the ship are very skilled at reading the waves. The ride in the tender was rough and, once docked; disembarking from the tender wasn’t any easier. However, everyone made it to shore without incident. For those of us leaving the ship, to stay on the island, were taken to one dock area where we could get our ground transportation to the hotels. Those going on a tour were dropped off at a different area. I will explain the reason for this later.
Santorini, or Thira, and her sister islands of Thirasia, Aspronisi, Palia Kament, and Nea Kameni, were once the volcanic island of Thira, also known as Strongili or the Round One. A catastrophic eruption ending with the collapse of the volcano destroyed the island and gave birth to the five smaller islands and the caldera we see today. Santorini itself has towering cliffs on the caldera side, covered with white buildings, and looks majestic. Now comes the Crete connection. It is thought that the eruption of the volcano on Thira caused a giant tidal wave and destroyed the Minoan people and culture. However, geologists working in the caldera say they may have discovered evidence that this volcano had its catastrophic eruption several hundred years earlier than first thought.
Santorini is not a party island like Mykonos. The rich and famous come here to “get away from it all.” At a hotel in Oia I was told I just missed Chris Jenner. Looking out over the caldera you can see why the rich and famous come here.
Santorini has two main towns: Oia and Fira. Because they are so different in structure and what you see, I have split this into two parts. As the title says, we will be looking at Fira first.
Okay, let’s get the culture shock over first. The bus from the hotel dropped me off next to that bane of American culture: McDonald’s. No, I did not go in. (And NO, the thought never crossed my mind!)
Santorini may not be a party island like Mykonos but it has its fair share of bars. Here we have “The 2 Brothers.” Judging from the waitress at the door, business must be slow during the day. I don’t know why because it was hot!
I said there were two dock areas in Fira. The one I was dropped at had a way for busses and cars to come down and pick people up. The other dock you have three different ways to get to Fira proper. You can always do the old bag-drag and walk up the path. There is a cable car that will deliver you to the top of the cliff. You just have to go up these stairs to get to the cable car going down. Or, there is another way. You can usually smell the mode of transportation before you see it.
Copyright © 2018 John J Campo