MY FAVORITE DAY SO FAR…
I woke up at 9:00 am on September 25th in a beautiful hotel in Santorini. I put on my bathing suit, my sundress, and my floppy hat and was out the door. We took a short walk through little side streets to get to the cable cars that take you down to the port. The streets are everything I ever pictured Greece to be. Everywhere you look there are tiny shops and tavernas. The buildings are all white with bright blue roofs. Even on these side streets you can feel the scorching hot sun and the temperature has reached approximately 90 degrees. We arrive at the cable cars and take the short journey down the side of the mountain to the port. From the car we have a beautiful view of the caldera in the distance and boat making their way into the port. We arrive at the port and hop on a ferry that takes a 10 minute ride to the caldera. A caldera is a hole that a volcano explosion leaves after it erupts.
We dock and begin the long trek to the top of the caldera. When we reach the peak we can see steam and smoke coming from craters that are still active. From the top the view is even more beautiful than it was from the cable cars. We spend some time looking around and I slip a few lava rocks in my purse for secret souvenirs. We take the long trek back down the volcano and get back onto the ferry. The ferry then takes us on a 5 minute ride to a specific spot in the Aegean Sea. We all strip down into our bathing suits and my whole group jumps from the side of the boat into the water (of course I am wearing my lime green goggles for exploring). We swim and swim until we can feel the temperature of the water rising. We reach the little cove where the hot spring is and we can't see the bottom of the sea floor because it is covered with warm sulfur. As we look up the mountain we can see herds of mountain goats gracefully leaping down the side of the mountain. There is also a small abandoned church that has retained all of its beauty. We hear our boat sound a horn and we know its time for us to swim back. Regretfully we start to swim back. Finally, we reach the boat but are hesitant to get out of the water. Like little kids we make our way up the ladder and leap back in the water. We do this some three times until it is really time to go. Our boat makes it’s way back to the port with a wonderful day behind us.
Now, is where our journey takes an unpleasant twist. To get back up to the town from the port, there are three main forms of transportation. You can take a cable car, walk, or ride a donkey up. Why couldn’t I have stuck with the cable car? I don’t know why I torture myself. For some strange reason, I thought it was the best idea in the world to take a donkey up. Boy, was that a BIG MISTAKE. There are a little less than 600 steps from the bottom of the port to the top of the island but it felt more like a million. I have a strange fear of falling off mountains and this definitely put my fears to the test. The first five minutes were great fun but then my donkey off galloping. We got stuck in a donkey traffic jam, he rammed me into a wall and kept marching right up along the edge of the short wall between us and falling to our death. I screamed and bawled my eyes out the whole way. I have love almost everything I’ve encountered in Greece besides feta and donkeys. At least that is an experience I can say I’ve had. I don’t want to scare anyone into not riding donkeys but don’t look for me to recommend it either. The rest of the day was spent wandering through town buying beautiful handmade jewelry and cheap, cheap beer. Sadly our trip came to an end but I was extremely glad to make it back to my home in Athens.