Santorini is the flooded caldera of a collapsed volcanic crater, with thousand foot high cliffs above the sea. In the center of this island circle, a new mountain top is emerging in the form of a new island.
We decided to spend our day just in the town of Fira, at the top of the cliff, on our own. We had to wait for the excursion groups to leave before we got on to our tender to take us on shore, where we rode the cable car to the top to begin our tour.
I'm temped to just post one pretty picture after another at this point, because that's how this beautiful place presented itself - as Oh, so many pretty pictures.
We got off the beaten path right away and found the Catholic Cathedral.
I loved all of the Lantana I found growing all over the Mediterranean area. ↓
This was just the prettiest shop we found on the island.
We bought an ornament here.
We traversed our way across the cliff face, up and down steps, peeking into private terraces.
We checked out some of the many jewelry shops along one of the major arterials. I bought a Greek Key pendant here and we had a nice chat with the owner.
The Orthodox Cathedral was lovely but did not allow photos.
This was our view for our late morning coffee and baklava stop.
What an amazing maze.
We got a good view of the other way up the cliff side.
Having worked our way across the town what seemed like several times, we decided to go to the archaeological museum. Thera was a Minoan City, a sister city to Knossos, that is being excavated on another part of this island.
Pottery dating from 2300-2200 B.C.
Oven and grill with K-bob holders, 17th century B.C.
More spiral and bird designs.
And wall frescoes like those found in Knossos.
This one had blue monkeys, evidence of travel to more exotic places.
After lunch we explored some more.
We found the local brew pub.
We had pretty much covered the territory, including finding the beginning of the donkey trail. We checked at the cable car and found a long line, about an hour wait, as all the cruise passengers were heading back to the ships.
We decided this would be our way down, even though I knew going down those one thousand feet was going to be painful.
He's grinning. He doesn't have my knees.
Still a long way to go.
Make way for the donkeys and mules.
I was a little crippled for a few days but we made it, and were on deck for the sail away from this beautiful place.