Santorini, Greece

Day two of my cruise took me to the island of Santorini and once again, it appears the islands were spared from the current economic crisis in Greece. The constant influx of tourists seems to give the locals a daily shot in the arm of foreign cash.

Santorini was spectacular… now I know why it’s a mandatory stop for the millions of tourists who travel to Greece every year. The daytime high was 85 degrees and there was a constant breeze all day long. From a distance, the white washed homes looked picture perfect, perched atop massive sea cliffs. As we got closer to the island, the bright blue accents were apparent and once I arrived on land, the island proved to be just as wonderful up close as it was from afar.

After hopping off of a tender, we hopped onto a bus that took us up a steep, winding hill as my tour guide, Lydia, shared tons of interesting facts about the island in a thick Greek accent. Santorini, which is south of Mykonos, is home to the largest caldera in the world. The cliffs are the ancient rim of the still-active volcano (“don’t worry, the volcano is sleeping” said Lydia) and the bay is the flooded caldera. The last eruption was in 1950, which was followed by an earthquake six years later that destroyed most of the buildings on the island.   They’ve since been built back up, so most of the buildings are relatively new. The volcano certainly dictates what the landscape looks like… you will not find white sandy beaches here… the sand is rocky with varying degrees of gray and black. The land is composed of volcanic ash, pumice stone and limestone… beautiful, but different than I expected.

For me, the highlight of the island was Oia (pronounced ee-ya) which sits on the northern tip of the island. It was almost completely devastated by the earthquake in 1956. Shortly after, the town was rebuilt. If you’ve ever seen the iconic photos of Greece that show the white washed buildings with bright blue domes, you’ve seen Oia. This place is amazing! Everywhere you look is an opportunity to take a picture… so I took a A LOT. I couldn’t help myself since it felt like I was walking through a postcard. The streets are lines with quaint shops that sell souvenirs, clothes, jewelry, and snacks (I left with a few beaded bracelets, an authentic Panama hat, sesame covered peanuts and sun dried tomatoes). On the way back to the ship, I stopped in the town of Fira, which was filled with more shops, restaurants, and beautiful views of the Aegean Sea.

DSC_0368 2Panoramic views from Santo Winery, Pyrgos Village

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DSC_0366 2View from Santo Winery, Pyrgos Village

DSC_0509Yup, I wore this dress to match all the blue accents in Santorini

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DSC_0449 2 Oia, Santorini

DSC_0517Evil eyes are everywhere!

DSC_0494Oia, Santorini

DSC_0471 2A well fed and very tired dog hanging outside of a local shop in Oia

DSC_0474 2From the doors and shutters, to the blown glass… I love all the blue accents!

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