Today Josh and I were in Santorini. We signed up for one of the cruise excursions: a trip to a live volcano. So, early in the morning, Josh and I met with the other people in our group and got on a smaller boat to go over to the volcanic island.

When we got there it was very interesting looking. The whole island was created out of dried lava, but not in big slabs, it was in small pebbles and dust. We hiked up to the top of the island, maybe 2 miles, and the tour guide showed us some places where the steam was billowing out of the ground from the volcano. They are always monitoring it, to make sure it’s not about to erupt, but it was still interesting to think about it suddenly exploding. I was disappointed that it wasn’t like in the movies, where you can look down and see the lava bubbling. Instead, it looked like a desert, with only minor traces to indicate that there really was an active volcano underneath.

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The volcanic island

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Steam issuing from a hole in the ground

Santorini

Santorini

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Look! An alligator! This is actually the edge of the island of Santorini, and it’s amazing likeness to an alligator.
Santorini
I love the boats. These ones were beautiful.

After out volcano tour, we headed over to Santorini. This island is very interesting, in that half of the island is lined with cliffs of black rock from the volcanoes, and the other half dips into the ocean with beaches. Our original plan had been to travel to the other side of the island and hit the beach, since it was a hot day. We were docked on the cliff side, and in order to get onto the island, there were only two choices. You could hike up a winding road that zig-zags to the top (or buy a ride up this road on the back of a donkey), or you could pay to ride the lift. We opted for the lift, and rode in the little 4 person car up to the top.

Almost all the buildings in Santorini are painted white. I don’t know if that is to keep them cooler, or just to look nice for the tourists coming in on boats. The white houses on the black cliffs are beautiful.

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The island of Santorini

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An amazing sail-boat. It was gorgeous and huge.

We walked through the streets, and it was a maze. We got some lunch, which was not nearly as good as the other places we’d eaten, and more expensive. Then we attempted to get to the beach. We couldn’t even find a road that had cars on it for a long time, at the coast, all the traffic is pedestrian, so there are only pedestrian roads. When we finally found the real city behind all the coastal shops, we weren’t able to find a rental car, or a bus stop, or anything. We tried to walk there for a little while, but we were both hot and tired and getting grumpier by the minute.

We headed back to the shops and toward the ship, and finally made it to the cliff. The line to go down on the tram was winding itself through the streets, seemingly endless. Josh and I figured that walking down the cliff would be a lot easier than walking up it, so we decided to attempt it.

The road down was awful. I highly recommend the tram to all. The reason the walkway is so bad is because of the hundreds of donkeys that walk up and down it every day. It’s covered in manure, and stinks to high heavens. The manure is also hard to walk on, not because you’re trying to avoid it, but also because it can be slippery, and the hill is very steep. We didn’t fall, but it was tricky.

There were some tourists who rode the donkeys down. They were screaming and yelling like they were about to die, since the donkeys RAN down the steep hill. It was very funny.

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The donkeys to carry you up and down the cliffs

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The trail to the bottom

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Taking a break from dodging asses, about halfway down.

It was a long day, and we were so glad to get back to our lovely ship and rest.

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