is the most built-up Greek island. Every year it attracts millions of tourists with the heavenly blue roofs of its churches. During my last trip here, I was caught by the rain, but this time my photos were spoiled by the harsh midday sun . . . Santorini doesn't have berths capable of holding big ocean liners, so small boats were sent to pick us up:
The ships were docked on the site of the underwater crater, surrounded by a 984 foot (300-meter) vertical wall. You can reach its top either by a high-speed cable car that came with a very long line of tourists, overcome 588 broad steps by foot, or ride a donkey:
I'm afraid of horses. When I was a child, I was in the stables and the Akhal-Teke breed of stallion nearly killed a man just before me. It got on its hind legs and hit the man in chest with its front hooves. This trauma from my childhood has kept me from riding horses ever since.
This time I had no choice - my eldest son really wanted to go up on the donkey, so I decided to overcome my fear . . .
I hardly overcame my fear. At first I was just scared, then I became more frightened. Just when I seemed to get used to it, I got scared again.
It was especially scary rounding every turn of the winding road, even as the donkey tried to pass the widest part of the road I thought I would tumble over the railing, down into the abyss.
I'm afraid of heights smaller than horses, so I felt very uncomfortable. The higher we climbed, the less I feared the horses, and my fear of heights increased. So I was scared throughout the twenty minute trip.
I understand that many of my readers would love the ride and do not share my fears, however, for me this ascent became a small feat:
And it was also very scary when a herd of donkeys appeared around the next turn. They were walking back without passengers. It seemed we weren't able to cross the narrow path at the same time:
This is how the donkey trail looked from above:
Somewhere in the middle of the road, some photographer took pictures of us, and when we reached the top they were waiting for us there. The ride on the donkey cost 5 Euros and one picture cost 10 Euros:
After the donkey ride, I had another 20 minutes to come back to life in a small cafe, enjoying the panoramic views and watching the donkeys marching up the stairs:
In total, 588 steps lead to the top. We overcame them on donkeys, and for those frightened by animals and by the line for the cable car, they went on foot:
. Fira is bigger and donkey trails along with cable cars take tourists up and down the cliff. But it is less beautiful and interesting from an architectural point of view:
Although there were also a couple of churches with blue roofs:
Moreover, the main postcard view, generally illustrating Santorini, is also located in Fira. However, it should be shot at sunset, not under the harsh midday sun. At sunset, the sky turns crimson and the shadows grow longer:
Oia attracts people worldwide with its windmills and dollhouses:
If desired, it also can be reached by donkey, but Oia Bay mostly suits the needs of the local fishermen:
The streets here were as narrow as the internal passages on our cruise ship:
The main Church was probably the biggest building in Oia:
Blue skies above Santorini exactly matched the hue of the blue doors and windows:
Here are the blue roofs of churches in Oia:
Here is a swimming pool at a hotel - when it is hot, you can swim in the artificial grotto. By the way, does anyone know the name of this hotel?
On the outskirts of Oia, we found a courtyard with a well. I wondered whether it also had a depth of 984 feet (300 meters), as the well on the steep did, or did this rock have a water source? And where did the locals of Santorini get their water?
As in Mykonos, the local windmills did not work, but still attracted tourists:
If you are going to Oia, then at its very far end there is a gorgeous, always empty restaurant, where you can spend a couple of hours with pleasure. There was no food on their menu, but friendly waiters gladly treat us to homemade sandwiches with their grandmother's aubergine and tomato jam. It was incredibly delicious:
The wind here was so strong that it dried my wet T-shirt in 10 minutes.
In general, I like Santorini a lot more this time around. And there were still a few days left on the cruise.