The Big Trip: Santorini

The third morning we woke up and headed to Zanzibar to have our usual breakfast before preparing for the trip of the day. When we looked outside the window it was still a bit chilly and to our surprise, the tops of the nearby islands were… covered with snow (!?)… The islands were a bit far away so we could not tell 100% sure whether it was snow or some white sand on top of the black mountains, so we had to wait a bit to get closer. After about 20 minutes of cruising we got close enough to be able to distinguish the white stuff on the top: they were villages :)… we were in Santorini!
We had a prepaid trip in Santorini also, which was entitled Trip to Oia Village, but it actually included 3 main stops: some wine tasting in a local winery, a walk in Oia village and some shopping in Thira, the main village. We did not dock in Santorini, because there is no dock that is large enough to accommodate such a big ship. Instead, we used a local tender service, which took us ashore, where our local tour-guide was already waiting for us in our designated bus (we were given numbers again, just like in Katakolon).

Once we were in the bus, we headed off on a winding road taking us to the top of the “Caldera” and our tour-guide already started explaining us about the history of Santorini. After just a short trip, we stopped at the first destination, the winery, where we were greeted by the cheerful staff with three types of wine and some snacks (cheese, baked stuff and olives). Apart from tourism, wine is the main industry of the island, so we had the chance to taste the results of their hard work at this stop (and spend some money on bottled wine, if we wanted to, at the “gift shop” 😉 ). Also, the view from this spot was very exciting, so we could have our first scenic pictures taken so early in the morning (too bad, the sun was not out fully, yet 🙁 ). We have spent about half an hour here and then we were ready to move on to the main destination of the trip: Oia village.

The trip to Oia took about 20-25 minutes during which the tour-guide continued to explain us more and more information about Santorini. Actually this was OK… it was better to get the information while on the bus, instead of cramming around the guide on the narrow streets of Oia. This way, we could first understand what we are going to be visiting and then we were able to just explore the location on our own. The village of Oia lived up to its fame: the houses are really that white and the streets are really that narrow as they are on the posters. The main street is really easy to follow, so it is not too hard to find your way around, but careful, there are some turns which may look in a way from one direction, but are completely unrecognizable when you are coming back. It is a small village, but you may get lost if you are not careful 😉 .

After spending enough time and money in Oia, we were ready to return to our final destination of our trip: the capital of Santorini, Thira. It is also quite the colorless village, but it is significantly larger than Oia. Admiring the great cathedral in the main square was enough of an additional experience for us, so we decided to just follow the path to the cable-cars where we had the option to actually go down using the cable-cars (our tickets were included in the trip), or follow the long pathway down into the port to admire the descent into the crater on foot. Option 2 did not sound too bad at first, but (there is always a but), we had to share our path with the donkeys (an old tradition of Santorini is the usage of donkeys), which was not really something we were happy about. Donkeys seem quite nice animals on picture, but they have a big problem: they smell. And it is not really a problem when you have to deal with only a couple of donkeys, the problem arises, when there are large packs of them… in that case the smell quickly sends a lot of the tourists towards the cable-cars. We were some of these tourists ;).

We got back to the ship a bit ahead of the rest of the crowds, so at last we could have our first lunch at Zanzibar without the additional nerve-wrecking 20 minutes of trying to find a place to sit down. Also we were among the first ones to occupy some of the strategically placed sun-beds and enjoy some sun-bathing in the beautiful crater of this unique island. For that day the animators planned some Greek dances in the pool area so the atmosphere was exceptionally Greek that day 🙂 . We have spent quite a few hours on the sun-deck that day, partially due to the atmosphere and partially due to a family who was late and caused us some delays until we got a hold of them. It was funny to see half of the ship applauding from the top sun-deck when they saw them stepping out of the last tender aboard the ship 😀 .

After leaving Santorini, we packed our stuff and headed back to our cabin to prepare for the “white party” organized for that evening. It was quite the “matching” theme for all the white we have already seen that day ;).

I have uploaded some pictures here.


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