Santorini, Greece: A Braying Paradise

Due to the shallowness around the island of Santorini, we tendered to shore via a small boat from our cruise ship. We later learned that a series of red buoys further down the coast marked the wreck of a cruise ship that sunk years ago.

Circular brown and green piles of donkey refuse brought color to the grey bricks of the 587 steps leading up to the clifftop city of. Fecal stench inhibited deep breaths. The gradual incline faded behind us after 20 minutes of trudging. Canvasses of white extended to the left and right as painted hotels and shops invited tourists for the perfect picture. Gusting winds and dark blue clouds made for a cold day as we navigated the cobbled streets.

As it was off season, many shops were closed and hotel pools stood empty and drained. Tourists were adorned in jackets to protect from the biting winds. Further along the coast, the small village of Oia  remained the typical destination for the postcard views of Santorini. Hannah and I elected to remain near the cruise port in Fira. A short stroll along the cliffs brought amazing views. Local children played soccer on a nearby blacktop with the green hills and coastal sands in the backdrop. Santorini is truly a beauty, and I could only imagine that summer brought out its very best qualities.

On the walk back down to the harbor, miserable looking donkeys carried a tourist or two while a modern cable car carried the most visitors. Some of the tourists were quite large and the donkeys’ legs strained under the pressure and decline of the slope. It was hard not to feel sorry for them. We later learned that many cruise passengers elected to walk down the 587 steps to the port but had a rougher experience than us. A rain shower turned the long winding stairway into a sluice of mule and donkey feces. Cruise passengers in sandals and sun dresses apparently tripped and slipped down the path, and some reported the necessity to wash their shoes later in the cabin. Thankfully, we beat the rain by about 20 minutes and were spared the mess.


One thought on “Santorini, Greece: A Braying Paradise

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