An evening on the ship and a good night’s sleep and lots of water helped bring me back into balance after the heat incident in Ephesus, so we were all ready to go for the next day in Santorini. Santorini was another tendering port, and there was another catch in accessing this island: only 3 ways to get from sea level to the 1000 ft elevation town of Fira above: cable car, donkey, or hiking. We knew we did not want to push my climbing that early in the day (no repeats of shortened days!), we were both feeling icky from sinus infections, and wanted to make the most of our time on Santorini by getting to the top as fast as possible. The cable car is the obvious choice, but we knew that it is very slow, and cannot accommodate a ships worth of people very efficiently. We did not want to get stuck in a line, so we got up early, grabbed tender tickets early, scarfed breakfast, and got on the first boat in. No line! Perfect!
We had two main missions on Santorini: Minoan ruins of Acrotiri and photos and views in Oia. Problem: they were on opposite ends of the island. Solution: plan the day out efficiently. We grabbed a local bus schedule and hopped onto the first available bus to Acrotiri. The drive across the island was stunning, in a very dry, deserty way. It was extremely hot, arid, and brown. Most of the ground was desert dirt of volcanic rock/ash. The houses were all white, accented with bright blue and colorful bougainvillea flowers. This harsh landscape was back cast perfectly by the clear, deep blue water of the caldera. Really quite stunning and unlike any place I had ever been.
Like I mention in other posts, Matt loves history. His two favorite cultures: Roman and Minoan. And this was Minoan country. We were going to explore the ruins of an ancient, ancient people, a highly developed civilization dating back 3,500 years preserved under layers of volcanic debris. The archeological site of Acrotiri had actually been closed to tourists for the past 7 years so we were not expecting to see it, but we learned on the ship it had reopened in April! Just our luck! We toured around the beautifully excavated site (all covered and indoors…really ideal for such a hot place!) taking our time to soak it all in.
After Acroteri we were tempted to follow the bikini clad moped crew to the beach (Red Beach was just around the corner) but we decided to take the bus back to Oia and get the iconic Santorini view that I was craving. We could lounge on the pool deck later.
Oia did not disappoint. It was not the same quiet experience of exploring the ruins through. Every view was jam packed with tourists trying to replicate Santorini’s famous blue domed postcard images. We wandered town, took photos, and finally found some gyros for a late lunch. Gyros in Greece! Another local food checked off the list! The bus ride back to town was twisty and turny, and after scarfing down our gyros in record time (no food on the buses) we were feeling a bit queasy.
This time we did get caught in line for the cable car, but we enjoyed the view and were relieved that we at least did not miss the last tender boat!
First stop back onboard? Medical office. We were ready to admit that we needed something to take for these sinus infections. Everyone we had talked to had caught the same thing we did, so there was defiantly something going around the ship. It would have been better to get meds a few days earlier, but we were concerned that we could potentially, possibly, get quarantined to our room and miss Santorini. No way! However, when the nurse handed us Sudafed, we were so grateful. A few hours later we were feeling better, sailing away, and enjoying our time aboard.