Date of Trip: July 2009
Monday, July 27: Santorini, Greece
Our ship was to arrive in Santorini at 8am. But due to an accident the night before involving 2 crewmembers, one seriously injured in a fall, the captain turned the ship around, and headed back to Kusadasi at full speed (23 knots). Arriving there at 2:30am, we were consequently (but only 2 hours) late in getting to Santorini, where we were to have docked by 8am. Tour directors worked all night rearranging tours (but that did not affect us). We were supposed to leave Santorini at 5 pm, and the captain said that could not be changed because we had to be in Katakolon before 9am the next morning.
We headed to the Lido at 10am. Those on tours would leave first, being tendered to another place where buses came down to pick them up. Tender tickets for the rest of the passengers would be available beginning at about 11am. Some people were not happy, but most handled it well.
We were planning on renting a scooter here, and perhaps heading to a beach, so we took the swimsuits and left the Family Dolls.
Tender tickets were given out earlier than announced, and those present were the first to get the tickets, although there were several tenders going close together, each holding 40-60 people. When you got your tickets, you could get as many as you needed for your group. They would say that everyone had to be present, but knew that wasn’t possible. We got 2 more tickets for a couple who were going with us. Although the ship’s lifeboats were sometimes used as tenders, we had to use the ones from Santorini.
We got off the tender below Fira and walked to the cable car platform (4 € each = 8€). Went quickly, not much waiting. Up at Fira, we rented ATVs at “Ancient Thira Tours” for 20 € each (one per couple), put on our helmets (required), and headed out. (To rent the vehicle, we only needed a driver’s license for identification, as it was in Corfu, and in Poland pre-cruise). The ATV’s weren’t very powerful (could have rented ones with bigger engines, I think), so they didn’t go fast, but it was fun! We drove about 12km to Oia & parked the scooters.
Walked up some steps — quite a few, actually — past lots of shops, to the top. Found a restaurant on the main street with a nice view. I don’t have the receipt, only a napkin with a map of Santorini on it, so I don’t know the name. We had a bowl of bread with garlic & olive oil paste for it, & an order of moussaka to share. DH had a lemon drink. It was plenty of food for us, and our friends kindly shared their tomato/cucumber salad with us as well. We paid 19,50 €.
It was another sweltering day, but riding the ATVs made it seem cooler, as long as we kept moving! We drove around a while, and then headed back. Our friends wanted to do some shopping, so we parted ways and decided to explore some more.
We passed a pretty blue-domed church, so we drove up to it to check it out. It seemed to be a hotel, also. I took some photos — a lovely contrast with the white walls, blue dome and shutters, bright sky, and red bougainvilleas.
Took another road down to a beach. We decided we’d go swimming the next day. There was a cafe at the end of the road by the waterfront, so we stopped to have Greek coffees (Total: 5 €)
We then got back on the bikes to try to find our way back. We did not have a good map of the island — the ones provided were not detailed, and the Greek letters make signs nearly impossible to read, unless you know Greek (my review of Nafplion talks about this culture shock).
As we made our back along the coast, we turned and went up one hill that was too steep for the ATV and us combined. We slowly backed down and turned around. There were a few minutes when we weren’t sure if we were heading back the right way. No familiar landmarks. But all was well, and in a few more minutes we found the rental place.
We got in line for the cable car back to the dock at about 3:30-3:45pm. There was already a LONG line. The last tender would be leaving at 4:30pm. When we finally got to the bottom (8€), there was an equally long line. For a while we noticed about 5 Santorini tenders doing nothing — and the line, quite naturally, wasn’t moving. Passengers in line speculated as to what the problem was. Well, at about 4:35 or so, the tenders began filling up & leaving. (Some thought that there was a contract between the ship & Santorini tender company, and that more money would be paid for overtime — after 4:30pm, and that was why the boats did nothing until after 4:30.) Never found out what the story was.
It was very hot in the full sun waiting with the couple hundred people for the tenders, so I bought a couple of ice cream bars(3€).
Total price for the day = 63,50 €, or $88.19. Only walked 2.3 miles today!