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Monday, June 16, 2008

Santorini, Greece

Combine volcanic explosions with the Aegean sea and what do you get? Santorini. Perched high above the beautiful sea, Santorini's towns are the highest in the Greek Isles. Formed by volcanic activity, with the caldera in the sea, there's nary a bad view once you make your up. The port drops you below the village of Fira and it's up to you to decide how to rise to the town. 3 options exist: Wait an hour in line and ride the cable car. Hire a donkey and trudge up the cobbled street. Walk over 400 steps straight upwards and call the Greek emergency services upon arrival. We waited in a line. It's hard to describe what it's like being disgorged into a tiny village with narrow cobblestone streets along with 3,000 other passengers from the 3 huge cruise ships that sat in the caldera in the sea. Crowded doesn't begin to describe it. But, once freed from the maddening crowd, the views really do take your breath away. All of Santorini is white with blue roofs, quite the stunning backdrop against the sparkling sea that surrounds the island. After a quick stroll to the Greek Orthodox Cathedral we knew that walking down was our only sane option. So we began the descent contending with 16 switchbacks, numerous donkeys and untold tons of donkey manure. We were ready for that Mythos beer once we reached sea level. It was tiring and challenging but the beautiful Aegean spurred us on as the view after each turn was simply amazing. Special kudos to my dad who made the descent with us.