We arrived at the island of Santorini, Greece quite early in the morning. Our ship had tendered and we had to go to the theater to get tickets for our boat number, which they subsequently called off when it was our turn to get ferried to land. We had brought our breakfast to the queue, so we ate while we waited. Once we arrived on land we had to make a big decision- whether to travel up to the city by donkey, mule, cable car, or our two feet. We assumed the cable car line would be really long, and decided just to walk up the path ourselves. It probably wasn’t the best decision; it was hot, there were ungulates everywhere, and there were (smelly!) poops covering the path. It was an intense 20 minute hike up the trail of switchbacks. We finally made it to the top where we looked for a bathroom. We finally found one– our first eastern-style toilet! It was basically just a hole in the ground; no structure, no tp, no soap. After that episode, we set off towards Oia (the city where The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was filmed). We weren’t sure if we would have time to hike there and back, but we set off in that direction anyway. Fira, the town that we arrived at was really beautiful. There were unique small churches and most of the buildings were white, blue, or light tan or pink. It had a very Mediterranean feel. There were cats everywhere. Some were friendly and we stopped to pet them. As we were walking, we saw a guy out on a nearby cape. It looked like a cool place to hike to (one with a good view of the Island) so we set off to hike there. A little rough hiking later (though much easier than the switchbacks) and we were there. Jon climbed onto the very top of the hill top using sketchy old masonry (it seems as if there used to be a house dug into the prominent cape) and took some pictures. Many people had declared their love for each other on top by arranging stones to form hearts and initials. On the hike back we discovered a small, beautiful, and secluded blue and white church on the side of the cliff. See posted photo.
We made it back to Fira, did a bit of shopping, had some amazing frozen yogurt (with pistacios, honey, and caramelized sesame seeds) and then walked back down the donkey path. (At this point there was definitely a huge line in front of the cable car.) We were incredibly hungry after all of this so we headed straight to the buffet for a late lunch. We ate our lunch at the back of the ship and had a nice view of the island as we left. The dinner tonight was not separated into two shifts as usual, as the boat would be docking at Mykonos during the normal dinner hours. We had a quick but nice dinner with two grouchy seeming Italian couples and then made our way onto the island. We didn’t get to spend too much time there but we enjoyed it; it was very similar to Santorini but with more red paint. It was dark so we didn’t see that much but it was easy to tell that the water was crystal clear and there were cats everywhere like in Santorini. We enjoyed our short stay there and felt like it would be a great place to take a relaxing vacation.