Not on our cruise ship though, but rather a traditional Greek shipping vessel, carrying us across the caldera to hike the volcano that made Santorini the unique geological setting it is today. My mom was less than enthusiastic about this tour when I first brought up the idea. “Volcanos are kind of boring” she argued, though I’m pretty sure the citizens of Pompeii weren’t exactly having a yawn-fest back in the day.
Being an outdoorsy kind of gal (not), I took the tour leader up on their suggestion to wear “sensible walking shoes.” Which I interpreted as flip-flops. This turned out to be not my brightest idea of all times, but the hike was still do-able. And I was still able to feel mildly athletically superior to someone when one or two had to turn back to the boat. While the volcano was
kind of boring visually monotonous, it provided some great views (all the way to our ship!) and a fun setting to hear more from our bubbly guide about the history of her home. You really are standing in the spot that started it all.
You’re also really, really hot, as all that black soot does a great job reflecting the already beating sun. Luckily our next stop was to jump into that beautiful blue water. While this stop was marketed as a “hot spring” we were relieved to find it was really more of a “warm spring.” We had oodles of fun jumping off the high deck on the boat and feeling the temperatures change as we swam back and forth to the boat.
My mom is such a good sport. She had forgotten her bathing suit bottoms on the cruise ship, but never one to stand on the sidelines, she jumped right in, pants and all.
We then docked outside Therasia, the remote island opposite Thera in the Santorini island group. Its number of inhabitants has dwindled to less than 100, most of whom are what our guide called “Jedi fisherman” and “master tomato growers.” I’d love to visit this island on my next visit to Greece, and walk the streets of a place untouched by mass tourism. But on this trip we simply swam from the beautiful shores and admired the view while sipping ouzo and snacking on Greek dishes.
After this came the best part of the evening. Santorini takes its sunsets seriously, with Oia’s tavernas and balconies being the most popular viewpoint. Though ss you an imagine, in peak tourist season things can get a bit crowded and we were perfectly happy to view the descent into nightfall with the company of a few other sailboats still pottering around the caldera. I apologize in advance for the amount of photos that follow. They could be pared down no more.
As the sun was dipping below the horizon, we got another treat: a private saxophone concert. Amazingly, this was far less cheesy than it sounds. Well, somewhat less.
If you happened to be around both my boyfriend and a computer sometime in late 2010, there’s a good chance he forced you into watching a certain Youtube video while alternating between unstoppable laughter and gasping for air. Having been innocent bystander to this many times, you can imagine how hard I had to work to hold in laughter when he sax player on board started in on it.
Soon it was time to head back to our other boat, and sail away into the night. But until next time, Santorini certainly has a piece of my heart.
To see the rest of my Santorini photos on Flickr, click here.
This post was sponsored.