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SANTORINI YOU IN SANTORINI Santorini - Part 2

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Santorini - Part 2

Written by: Dominick A. Miserandino
Photography by: Margherita Miserandino

A beautiful island, on the rim of a now-dormant volcano. Also the home to fabulous ruins.

This was the Hellenic Discovery Cruise, which hits all of the ports that have something to do with Greece. Fortunately, itís a very intensive journey with a stop at port everyday except for one.

Today was the island of Santorini.

We ate breakfast right on the balcony of our room. That was nice. What a simple description, but it really is accurate. I mean, you leave the card on your door for the room service. The next morning, you wake up, change and breakfast is right there waiting for you. Then you sit on your balcony looking out at the magnificent atoll of Santorini, eating a rather good eggs benedict. Well, I had the eggs benedict and Margherita followed, ďThe Zone,Ē but thatís not the point. The point was breakfast and the view.

Santorini is a large semi-circular island, which was basically the rim of a, now somewhat, extinct volcano. Some people feel that this is the location of the mythological Atlantis, but the only people on the island who seem to believe in that are the locals who thrive on tourism and love such myths.

We took the shipís tender to shore and the tour bus there took us to Akrotiri. Akrotiri is one of the ďmust seesĒ on the island. Itís a preserved ruins of the city from 2,000 years ago. The entire excavation site is covered neatly by a roofing system, which makes it something that you can comfortably visit no matter what time of year. I say that only having the memories of visiting Pompeii with Margherita a few years ago in 100-plus-degree weather.

The ruins, however, are unique in that they are extremely well preserved. You can see streets laid out, buildings, stairs and even second floors of buildings. Second floors arenít as common in most ruins, but here there are a few instances.

From the ruins we were back on the bus to the main town on Santorini called Thera. Thera has the Archeological Museum that contains some of the artifacts, which were found in the ruins of Akrotiri. So first you can see where the items came from and now what the items are. The museum has more pots, pottery and other household items than you can shake an antique stick at, but the highlight is the frescoes of the blue monkeys. Blue Monkeys you ask? Why are they blue?

Thatís what makes them amazing. The frescoes are very well done and in that fact alone, remarkable, but what makes them interesting is that you wonder about the monkeys. There were no monkeys native to the island so they could have been painted based on the island's inhabitantís travels to Africa. Or did they meet the monkeys when a traveler brought them over. Also, why were they blue? Did the artist just happen to like blue ink or were the monkeys a breed that is long gone.

You get the idea.

The tour ended and it was time to explore Thera. There is a beautiful city atop the ridge of the extinct volcano. You can look out in any direction and see the beautiful view of the crater, which is called the caldera, meaning boiling hot cauldron. The shops are a bit on the pricey side, but you can always jump into some of the city's best attractions, which are the side streets and the churches.

They have these tiny little side streets, which are extremely picturesque and it feels as if they each have an ocean view in the background. The churches have a Greek Orthodox theme with beautiful icons and mosaics everywhere you turn.

Oddly enough, our favorite experience in Thera was the gyros. Yes, the same gyros you find here in America, but there they were 10 times better and half the price. For the two of us, it was no more than seven dollars and did I mention how good they were?

We rode the cable car down the cliff, took the tender over to the ship and slept until dinner.

Thera on Santorini

When we got back to the ship, we changed to take the standard picture with the Captain. In this case, the backdrop to the picture was the stairway scene from the movie, Titanic. Personally, I found this to be a bit morbid, but the other passengers didnít have such a pessimistic outlook on the matter. I was happy that the Mediterranean had no icebergs.

Later that night, Margherita decided that sheíd love to sign up for the Kusadasi tour in Turkey. Even though it was 10:30 at night the tour director still accommodated us and didnít even give us a grumpy look. Even after I asked her three times if I was bothering her, she still didnít act bothered.



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