Viking Sea: Santorini – It’s Complicated
I’ve always wanted to see Santorini. We once lived near ancient Carthage, and a nearby village, Sidi Bou Said, all white and deep turquoise blue, with tiny winding streets.
Coming into Santorini is beautiful. We had watched an excellent presentation the night before on how the volcanic activity and tectonic plates shape Santorini, and we loved seeing it and understanding it a little better.
This is one of those places where the ship anchors out in the bay and you tender in. I had imagined little rubber rafts bobbing by the side of the big ship, so I was happily surprised when I saw what a “tender” looked like.
There was one woman on board I noticed, and steered far away from, a woman who had no respect for others. She moved a man’s bag out of a chair she wanted to sit in, and just grinned at him when he noticed. She was waiting to board our tender, and had pushed her way to the front, but when she showed her ticket, she was not in the group called to board, and the Viking representative diplomatically told her she would have to wait until her group was called. I love it that Viking trains their staff to handle bullies with quiet firmness.
As we board the bus, AdventureMan said “Are you happy?” and I tell him “Yes, but it’s complicated.” Last year, on our voyage The Passage of the Moors, through Spain and Morocco, I waited until the last night to pack my bag, and on the last night, we joined two other couples we had thoroughly enjoyed, for dinner. I had a little sore throat at dinner, but we had duck, which I love, and so I couldn’t have been too sick.
But by the time we were back in our cabin, late, after too much wine and good conversation, I still had my packing to do, and packing is something I am generally very good at, very efficient, this time it didn’t go well. I was feverish, and not thinking clearly. I made mistakes. I ended up being really sick with a respiratory infection that took me a couple weeks to shake.
“I know I need to pack when we get back,” I told AdventureMan. “I don’t want to leave it to the last night. It’s hanging over me.”
Actually, once I said it, the anxiety went away, and I enjoyed Santorini.
Santorini is a caldera, the remains of ancient volcano(s) and multiple eruptions. The soil is rich. We start off, I believe, driving to Oia, in the north. I say “I believe” because the signs are in Greek, and it is Greek to me. We arrive in a beautiful little town where you can see it is set up for tourists. As we walk toward the first photo op, walking into a church courtyard, we hear the sound of the Zorba theme, being played by a man sitting there. The guide gathers everyone into a circle and has them dancing.
I could imagine my Mother, who is a lot of fun, joining the group and loving it.
Below is one of my favorite photos from the trip:
Mostly what I remember about the ride back into Fira/Thira is that because of the climate, the grape vines do not climb high, they are kept low so that they may make best use of the humidity and moisture.
We are dropped off at a viewpoint with another shopping lane to the right, and at the end of the lane will be the cable car to take us to the tender to take us to the boat. We aren’t ready to go back yet. We come to the Church of the Candlemas, which is beautiful, and we sit inside, soaking in a little sanctity.
There is one more thing I want to find, and along this path, I find it, just the thing, perfect. My little granddaughter wants a “twirly” dress, a dress that will fan out around her as she twirls. I find the perfect twirly dress.
Never mind that after lunch, I find the same dress at a lower price.
Lunch. Yes, by this time we are hungry, and I am looking to the left, at restaurants overlooking the big caldera. We are looking at menus; we know what we want.
We climb multiple sets of stairs to get to the terrace, and it is worth it. There is a table waiting for us, in the shade, with a spectacular view, views on both sides of the island.
We order a mixed appetizer plate and a mixed grill platter for two. We know we have ordered too much food, but we have no idea how much too much. It is enough for six or eight! We sample each treat, and content ourselves with hoping the untouched portions will feed others, or at least the hungry cats.
We take our time. After lunch, we dawdle our way toward the cable car,
and head down the hill, taking only seconds to get to the dock where the tender picks us up.
I wish you could experience L’heure bleu in Santorini. The colors are exquisite, and I can’t capture the magic of this twilight.
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