Day 304, to Santorini

Wednesday, 10/2/2019

My minimal supper was quite satisfactory, thank you. When I checked at 7:30 I found that Anastasia had left a note at the desk, bags out at 9:30, depart at 11. With that resolved I felt free to retire and did. I woke several times in the next ten hours to cough or blow my nose. At some points I felt feverish and had a sore throat, so was not anticipating a good morning. Some time around 2am I managed to push the phone off the night table. It hit the marble floor and put a spiderweb crack in the corner of the screen.

Come the morning, the phone was working and so, amazingly, was I. The sore throat was gone, my nose was running much slower, and I felt nearly normal.

I had to kill time until 11, and didn’t go for anything ambitious, just hung out in the lobby. At 11, we got our final schedule. Lunch here on Paros, then a 2:30 ferry to Santorini, arriving about 5. The general strike has cost us half a day on Santorini but no real inconvenience.

We had some free time in town before lunch. Some went to the local archaeological museum, which would have been a laudable choice, but the previous day I had noted a hat store outside the old church. I found my way back to it and was able to get a nicely shaped white straw hat for 12 euros.

After a leisurely lunch we walked the short way to the ferry dock to await the Sea Jet. The Sea Jet line specializes in high speed connections and part of that is the quickest possible turnaround. I commented on the rapid mob exit onto Paros, but this boat is much larger. Where the prior one had let everyone off its one car ramp before others could board, this one had two ramps. One huge horde poured out on the right while our horde poured in on the left.

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we are going in on the left while Paros-bound folks pour out on the right.

You don’t show your ticket yet. They just get the mob inside the cavernous car deck, raise the ramps, and away. People find places for their bags and finally queue to have their tickets torn and then can go upstairs and find a seat.

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The whole process, boarding and later debarking, is a huge hustle, with crew members standing around gesturing and shouting, in Greek and English, “Hurry up!” and “The boat leaves immediately!” If I had been traveling alone it would be quite intimidating, but just following Anastasia, it was actually quite fun, like performance art or something.

An odd moment occurred during the 2-1/2 hour ride. There were TV sets all over, tuned to the Greek equivalent of ESPN, and I happened to be watching the screen at a moment when they ran a two-minute promo for professional women’s basketball, and there was Kristin Newlin, Stanford 2004-2008, driving and dishing a layup. She’s been with a Turkish team for several years now, and here she was, featured in a promo for EuroBasket, the female league.

So we arrive in Santorini. The scrum, at least 300 people, exit into the narrow dock of the new port and disperse toward the many waiting tour coaches and vans. And you look up:

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Santorini is the remnant of a volcano that blew itself up 3 millennia ago (see Wikipedia link above) and in fact the west side of the island is shaped a lot like the east half of Crater Lake. If you imagine Crater Lake, lopped in half, and the missing half replaced with the Agean sea, and a bunch of whitewashed hotels set on the upper rim, there you are. The New port is scrunched on a narrow ledge at the bottom. The old port isn’t being used, but people who visited a decade ago might remember going up from the old port in some kind of cable car. Now it’s coaches climbing the switchbacks.

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The view gets better as you go up.

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Bus window pics are never good, but at least I will straighten this one later.

We checked in to our hotel and almost immediately headed out for the evening’s activity, which was to watch the sunset from Ia, a town on a headland away over above the group of three cruise ships in the above pic. Apparently this is a thing, sunset from Ia, because a few thousand other people were already there in the town’s little streets.

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Moon over hotels where a room costs 1000 euros a day, and up.

We had dinner in a restaurant, then bused back to our hotel. I did some laundry, wrote this up, and so to bed.

2 thoughts on “Day 304, to Santorini

  1. HI. Certainly sounds like eating is a key component of the trip. Also sounds like most meals have been good. How is your group doing with all the walking? Sounds like one should do some training before heading out on this trip. Enjoy- Dennis

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    1. Looking at my iPhone Health app, for the days of the trip so far it shows 9 thousand, 12, 10, 11, 10, 6, and 9, adding up to something over 35 miles in 6 days. Road Scholar does rate their trips and tells you how many miles to expect to walk. I don’t recall what this one was, but I don’t think it was 5+ miles per day. Everybody is handling it fine, and several are older than me.

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