Yesterday was a busy day in Santorini — nine ships visited at different times during the day. Two of those ships were Holland America Line ships. The Noordam has been following us for the last few days!
If you’ve ever seen a picture of Greece, you’ve seen Santorini. Santorini is “the Greek port.” Little white churches with their bell towers reaching up into the cobalt sky complement the houses and hotels jutting out of the cliff side to create an idyllic setting that one never forgets.
Today, since it was so busy with all the ships in port, we decided to rent a ATVs (a.k.a. quads) and ride over to the village of Oia on the far side of the island.
Oia was a 20-minute ride out of Thira, the village that is closest to the tender dock. It’s close, but it’s 580 steps up the mountain! There are two modes of transportation: cable car or donkey. Yes, donkey. We opted for a more modern and less odiferous mode of transport and zipped right up to Thira. We were accompanied by our intrepid Cruise Director Patti. As we had hoped, Oia was not as crowded as Thira. First order of business, as it should always be in Greece, was to find the nearest taverna and enjoy some good Greek food. Just as in Italy, you really cannot go wrong with any taverna or restaurant. The food is always good and always fresh.
The tzatziki comes first followed by saganaki. You might be wondering what could make Greek cheese better? Well, frying it of course. Saganaki is truly a treat and a great starter for our main course. During our meal we made some local friends. Six kittens camped out near our table looking for a handout, which they found.
The amazing thing about Santorini is that no matter how skilled or unskilled you are at photography you just can’t go wrong. As Patti said, “Every picture is a postcard!” After taking lots of photos and browsing the local stores we headed back to Thira. We browsed the shops there and picked up some baklava from a store I remembered from my last visit.
I’ve been to many places all over the world, but the most striking thing about Santorini is the natural beauty and wonder of the place. Rarely does one have the opportunity to come to a place of such effortless beauty and serenity. What a treat it was to spend the day in this Greek heaven.
See you out there!
Anthony Garofalo is Rotterdam’s crew purser.