October 26, 2019
We began the cruise with a day at sea, sailing all the way west to the Greek islands. The sea was calm, and the ship was big and well stabilized. So it was a good day to take it easy and eat well.
The Greeks call the island Thira. Santorini is a Venetian corruption of "St. Irene," and is used for the group of five islands as well as this main one. It is sort of a crescent-moon shape. The volcano's caldera collapsed and is under water. The town of Fira is above the cliffs and the old harbor is below. You can see in this picture the mule trails winding their way back and forth up to the top. Since we had booked a tour, the tender took us to the new harbor farther south where we boarded buses.
The bus took us to the scenic town of Oia, pronounced "EE-ah". The guide took us to the main square and talked a bit and let us wander around on our own. When we arrived a wedding had just ended, and guests were waiting for the couple to exit the church.
Over the door the big Greek abbreviation stands for "Mother of God," and the smaller one for "Jesus Christ."
As the couple exited, guests took pictures and threw rice, of course.
Cats on Greek islands seem to belong to the community and are fed and taken care of. I saw a few in Oia, and even more on other islands. The town has mostly gift shops and cafés and a few churches. There are colorful buildings and flowers, but most coastal buildings are white. That reflects the heat in summer. During the reign of the Ottomans, they were not permitted to fly the Greek flag, so along with the white buildings there were blue domes and decorations, so the colors of the Greek flag showed patriotism.
Torrey walked on to the end of the path by the coast to what had been the site of a fort. He shot this panorama of Oia.
Oia is noted for its sunsets, but it was time for the bus to take us to Fira, the capital of the island, where we would spend the rest of the afternoon and then go down to the old port to catch a tender back to the ship.
It was too late to visit the museums when we got there, so we wandered the alleyways and explored some shops. Torrey bought Greek dresses for his daughter and twin granddaughters.
To get to the tender back to the ship, we could ride the cable cars or ride a mule down the winding steps. We chose the former.
But first we wanted to stay for the sunset. So as the sun set, I photographed the town as well as the ship in the caldera.
I assembled more of the sunset pictures into a time-lapse animation. You can watch it here.
Suggestion: watch in full screen mode.