Santorini, Greece (2011 Trip) Pics

August 31, 2011 – Santorini!

Our first port o’ call!  It was exciting to explore a place that neither of us had ever been to before – especially as that place was Greece.  It had always been one of my favored destinations and one that I hadn’t yet been to, so to not only finally make it there but while on this ridiculously luxurious ship – pure bliss.  In the morning, we awoke to the ship still moving yet outside there were scattered little Greek islands.  They weren’t islands that make you think beautiful and unspoiled – more like the volcanic remnants of what used to be there, which is in fact the case.  Santorini as it is today is basically the remnants of what used to be a huge island that blew up in a giant volcano.  Now it’s an archipelago – many think that this was actually the basis of the legend of Atlantis.

Anyway, Santorini is what many people would think of in terms of a Greek Isle….at least in terms of the countryside and bleached-white architecture situated on dramatic cliffs with stunning Med views.  As the Equinox approached the city of Fira on the coast of Santorini, it became clear that what looked like white-topped cliffs was not due to geology but the city itself.  It clings on the side of these massive cliffs and as you’ll see in the later pics of this post, it ends up affording the town an unbelievable view of the water.  Simply breathtaking.  There is actually no harbor big enough for a ship our size, not to mention the fact that Santorini is a very popular cruise ship destination.  Hence, Equinox docked out in the water and we were taken ashore by multiple skiffs.  This was our first excursion experience and it was almost nerve-wracking to get assigned your tour group number and anxiously await your number to be called.  It finally happened though and after a quick jaunt to the shore, we met our guide (a very beautiful Greek woman – you can see her in the photos if you pay attention) and were ushered on to our bus.

Arrival into Santorini

When we woke up the next morning, we were in the middle of the Greek Isles!
When we woke up the next morning, we were in the middle of the Greek Isles!31-Aug-2011 13:00, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
31-Aug-2011 13:00, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
31-Aug-2011 13:00, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
 
31-Aug-2011 13:01, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
31-Aug-2011 13:02, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
31-Aug-2011 13:02, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 125
 
As we got around this island, you could start to see the other cruise ships
As we got around this island, you could start to see the other cruise ships31-Aug-2011 13:04, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.5, 7.152mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
All of them headed where we were: Santorini, Greece
All of them headed where we were: Santorini, Greece31-Aug-2011 13:06, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 4.0, 7.815mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
31-Aug-2011 13:06, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.2, 6.491mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
 
31-Aug-2011 13:06, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.2, 6.491mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
One day we'll come back in a yacht, too!
One day we'll come back in a yacht, too!31-Aug-2011 13:08, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.2, 6.711mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
All that white topping?  Those are the towns.  Yeah, they built up high.
All that white topping? Those are the towns. Yeah, they built up high.31-Aug-2011 13:09, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 5.0, 11.381mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
 
31-Aug-2011 13:22, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 4.0, 8.48mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
You go to the Equinox Theater to get your excursion sticker so you know where to go
You go to the Equinox Theater to get your excursion sticker so you know where to go31-Aug-2011 14:09, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.0, 4.3mm, 0.05 sec, ISO 1600
31-Aug-2011 14:16, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.5, 6.932mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 800
 

The bus immediately went up the scariest fucking switchback road I think I’ve ever been on.  As I mentioned, there are ridiculous cliffs around the entire island so to actually see the interior of the island, you have to ascend the cliffs.  UGH.  It was nauseating how high we ended up going and seeing how high above even those massive cruise ships we were.  That torture blessedly ended and we ended up driving across the island and through many volcanic-soil-based orchards and vineyards.  The landscape, at least up there, reminded me a lot of Southern Calif0rnia, besides the volcanic part.  Our first stop was to the highest point of the island which afforded us views of the entire Santorini.  It was a beautiful and HOT day, so the views were spectacular.

Bus Ride Up to the Highest Point

That's our ship way back there while beautiful white Greece architecture is in front
That's our ship way back there while beautiful white Greece architecture is in front31-Aug-2011 14:35, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.0, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 160
We boarded a bus and started up a road that went up....
We boarded a bus and started up a road that went up....31-Aug-2011 14:35, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
....and up.....
....and up.....31-Aug-2011 14:35, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
 
....and up....
....and up....31-Aug-2011 14:36, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
...and UP....to the point where it was scary to look over as the bus was huge...
...and UP....to the point where it was scary to look over as the bus was huge...31-Aug-2011 14:38, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
...and the road was tiny.....ugh...still have flashbacks.
...and the road was tiny.....ugh...still have flashbacks.31-Aug-2011 14:40, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
 
Volcanic soil is great for growing things, as long as they're planted low
Volcanic soil is great for growing things, as long as they're planted low31-Aug-2011 14:44, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
31-Aug-2011 14:47, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
31-Aug-2011 14:51, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
 
31-Aug-2011 14:51, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.0, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 160
As you can see, we ended up driving to to the top of the island
As you can see, we ended up driving to to the top of the island31-Aug-2011 14:54, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
It afforded us a dramatic view of nearly the entire island.
It afforded us a dramatic view of nearly the entire island.31-Aug-2011 14:55, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
 
Larry at our first stop on the bus
Larry at our first stop on the bus31-Aug-2011 14:55, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
31-Aug-2011 14:55, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
31-Aug-2011 14:55, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
 

The second and longest stop was in one of the more ancient cities of Santorini, Pyrgos.  This is basically the city you imagine when you think of Greek Isles.  The stunning white architecture with pops of blue here and there led to all of us in the group being slack-jawed at the beauty.  Our guide took us on a walking tour through it and while it was extremely beautiful (you can see the pics – I didn’t choose that top photo above for no reason) it was muthafuckin’ hot.  Holy god it was hot.  So glad I had a hat and we brought water as otherwise your ass was going to pass out.  Don’t mind me though – it was totally worth it.  We were taken to where the old fortress had once been and saw its ruins along with all these gorgeous little step-filled corridors.  Sigh….it was so beautiful.  Could totally imagine going back there just to vacation and chill the fuck out.

City of Pyrgos

Went to the town of Pyrgos for our second stop and for a walking tour
Went to the town of Pyrgos for our second stop and for a walking tour31-Aug-2011 15:20, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 160
WAs pretty much the idyllic, prototypical white-walled Greek town you imagine
WAs pretty much the idyllic, prototypical white-walled Greek town you imagine31-Aug-2011 15:21, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.2, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
31-Aug-2011 15:21, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
 
31-Aug-2011 15:21, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.5, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 160
Beautiful blue skies contrast amazingly against the buildings
Beautiful blue skies contrast amazingly against the buildings31-Aug-2011 15:21, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.2, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 125
31-Aug-2011 15:22, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
 
31-Aug-2011 15:22, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.2, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 125
Lots of neat, meandering narrow passageways through the village
Lots of neat, meandering narrow passageways through the village31-Aug-2011 15:24, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 320
It was hot, and very nice in the shade
It was hot, and very nice in the shade31-Aug-2011 15:24, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 400
 
Had to wear my hat a lot this trip - blazing sun is no friend to bald spots
Had to wear my hat a lot this trip - blazing sun is no friend to bald spots31-Aug-2011 15:25, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 125
31-Aug-2011 15:26, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.2, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
31-Aug-2011 15:26, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.5, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 200
 
31-Aug-2011 15:27, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.5, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 400
That's our Greek tour guide, standing in front of the entry to the walled part of the original Pyrgos
That's our Greek tour guide, standing in front of the entry to the walled part of the original Pyrgos31-Aug-2011 15:29, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 200
Yeah, it was spectacular.  Just hot and humid as hell.
Yeah, it was spectacular. Just hot and humid as hell.31-Aug-2011 15:30, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.2, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 125
 

This excursion wasn’t JUST a visit of Santorini – we also got some authentic Greek food for lunch!  We went to this great little restaurant with a beautiful view and met some new people for the first time the entire trip.  There were some great couples that we ended up seeing frequently over the cruise, but this excursion was very fortuitous as we ended up meeting Amy at lunch.  Larry & I were kind of the chatty ones at the table and over some topics, it was clear we got along fabulously with Amy.  Trying not to be too awkward about it, we ended up asking Amy if she wanted to hang out again during the trip.  We definitely ended up doing so many times – I think even that night we did as we went to our first cruise ship show and met up with her afterwards to play craps.  That’s when we found out she’s in the advertising industry too!  Small world.  Back to the story though, it was a great lunch and I ate most of the food, surprisingly.

Lunchtime

Our next stop was at a restaurant where we got to have lots of good snacks...and wine
Our next stop was at a restaurant where we got to have lots of good snacks...and wine31-Aug-2011 16:16, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.0, 4.3mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 100
While eating, a weird humidity-caused cloud rolled in.  I started thinking about The Mist
While eating, a weird humidity-caused cloud rolled in. I started thinking about The Mist31-Aug-2011 16:57, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
Larry, with Amy over on the right.  We bonded over lunch.
Larry, with Amy over on the right. We bonded over lunch.31-Aug-2011 16:57, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.0, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 320
 
More Greek volcanic vineyards
More Greek volcanic vineyards31-Aug-2011 17:00, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.2, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 400
 

It was then time to head to our last stop, the city of Fira.  This was the city you could see from the cruise ship and is basically the other city you’d think of when you think of the Greek Isles:  the one that has the ridiculously gorgeous view of the Mediterranean.  Le sigh.  It was mesmerizing to just stare out from any of the myriad walls, balconies, or alcoves and just gaze out.  By this time, the sun was down a bit and the afternoon was growing long, so it wasn’t as terribly hot.   Our tour was also over at this point and our guide gave us our “return tickets” which earned us passage on the Suspended Tramway back down to the docks.  Let me just say….I loved Santorini, but this last part nearly ruined the excursion.  Basically, that tramway is one of two ways you can actually get back down to the water where the skiffs await to return you to the ship.  We were told that you could also walk the stairs down the cliffs.  I won’t claim that I am super athletic or the opposite, but I envisioned either falling or suffering from muscle pain due to thousands of stairs down. Plus, we had been warned that the path reeks since donkeys are also going up and down those in case you want a ride.  So after grabbing an ice cream up top to cool off, we went for the Tram.  As did all the other thousands of people there.  Like I said way before, Santorini is a huge cruise ship destination and there are many more tour groups than just from your ship.  We ended up having to wait about an hour to finally get on the Tram, all while roasting in the sun since there wasn’t any cover.  Long afternoon.  Yet finally, we got on the tram, I momentarily freaked out as I HATE those kinds of trams especially when you’re that high up, and got back to the skiff and then the ship.

City of Fira

31-Aug-2011 17:05, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 200
Our last stop was getting dropped off at Fira
Our last stop was getting dropped off at Fira31-Aug-2011 17:17, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 200
It's the city jaw-droppingly on the coast
It's the city jaw-droppingly on the coast31-Aug-2011 17:19, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 4.0, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 160
 
Looks like something out of Lord of the Rings, to be honest
Looks like something out of Lord of the Rings, to be honest31-Aug-2011 17:19, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 125
Hard not to be happy when you're in paradise
Hard not to be happy when you're in paradise31-Aug-2011 17:19, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.5, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 200
31-Aug-2011 17:20, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 4.0, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 320
 
Santorini was once a single island, but it's volcanic, so there's now an archipelago
Santorini was once a single island, but it's volcanic, so there's now an archipelago31-Aug-2011 17:25, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.5, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 200
That island in the center is the former center of the island
That island in the center is the former center of the island31-Aug-2011 17:25, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 5.0, 7.152mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 200
Again...how awesome would it be to stay at that hotel???
Again...how awesome would it be to stay at that hotel???31-Aug-2011 17:26, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.5, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
 
Our ship's on the left
Our ship's on the left31-Aug-2011 17:26, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 5.0, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 160
Could easily come back here
Could easily come back here31-Aug-2011 17:27, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 4.5, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 200
Had some time to wander the streets for souvenirs and our first Greek gelato
Had some time to wander the streets for souvenirs and our first Greek gelato31-Aug-2011 17:34, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 200
 
Had to wait in an ungodly line for the cable car down
Had to wait in an ungodly line for the cable car down31-Aug-2011 17:52, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 3.2, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 250
There were burros too, if you wanted to ride them on the steps
There were burros too, if you wanted to ride them on the steps31-Aug-2011 18:10, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 5.0, 11.606mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100
31-Aug-2011 18:10, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 5.8, 18.8mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100
 

Once back on the ship, the captain mentioned that the Greek sunset at Santorini was not to be missed.  So after changing and showering, Larry & I rushed up to the deck, used our fantastic drink passes and welcomed the gorgeous Greek sunset with some fine cocktails.  It is nice to be on vacation!

A Greek Sunset

Back on the ship, you can see the walking path etched into the cliff
Back on the ship, you can see the walking path etched into the cliff31-Aug-2011 19:26, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 4.0, 8.48mm, 0.013 sec, ISO 100
31-Aug-2011 19:26, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 200
Our first Greek sunset approached, and as the Captain had told us, it was spectacular
Our first Greek sunset approached, and as the Captain had told us, it was spectacular31-Aug-2011 19:26, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
 
Our weather was freaking wonderful
Our weather was freaking wonderful31-Aug-2011 19:30, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100
31-Aug-2011 19:30, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.8, 4.3mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 160
Sunset
Sunset31-Aug-2011 19:31, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 5.6, 17.972mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 100
 
Perfect time for a drink
Perfect time for a drink31-Aug-2011 19:33, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.0, 4.3mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 160
Right, Larry?
Right, Larry?31-Aug-2011 19:47, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.0, 4.3mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 250
Cruise Ship central over here
Cruise Ship central over here31-Aug-2011 19:47, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.0, 4.3mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 125
 
Enjoying the pool instead of going onshore was definitely the choice made by many
Enjoying the pool instead of going onshore was definitely the choice made by many31-Aug-2011 19:47, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.0, 4.3mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 200
Larry was ready to call it a day
Larry was ready to call it a day31-Aug-2011 19:53, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.0, 4.3mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 800
I was ready to call it a margarita
I was ready to call it a margarita31-Aug-2011 19:53, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.0, 4.3mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 500
 
31-Aug-2011 20:04, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.0, 4.3mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 1600
31-Aug-2011 20:05, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.0, 4.3mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 800
31-Aug-2011 20:05, Canon Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS, 2.0, 4.3mm, 0.067 sec, ISO 800
 

2011 Mediterranean Trip Pics Index

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