Heraklion, Crete & Santorini

20.4.17

We set alarms today for 7am and were so tempted to roll over and go back to sleep.

We had breakfast, sausage, bacon, egg and mushrooms. This Atkins diet is so easy although I’m not sure last nights syrup sponge, Kahlua and strawberry daquiris are allowed.

Set off from the port around 8.30am.

Heraklion is the first port to have free maps and John was chuffed to have one and even managed not to get us lost. It’s also the first port to have extensive xray security and a few street dogs. Its a strange city, a mix of large brand names, Zara Home, Pull & Bear, Starbucks etc and derelict grotty backstreets.

Lots of graffiti and pleas to open borders and stop fascism. We walked within the city walls and saw some relics and churches along the way, my favourite was St Mina set in a square with the smaller St Catherine next to it.

The place is a shoppers paradise, beautiful boutiques and household items, but so expensive compared to Turkey. 

The market street reminded us of some of the back roads in Istanbul but on a much much smaller scale. If you’re not a shopper 3 hours is more than enough in Heraklion, although we didnt venture as far as the Palace which was in a different direction.

We strolled back to the port where they had free wifi and I hoped to upload yesterdays blog post but it was almost as slow as Turkish internet and when 2 tour groups appeared it was time to join the security queue to avoid being left behind.

We left at 11.30am to sail towards Santorini. I think this is the part I’m most excited about as every photo I’ve seen is just stunning.

We had a drink and enjoyed some sunshine before a delicious lunch. Back into the sunshine but then it clouded over and got really cold. We went back to the cabin and set the alarm for 4pm ready to disembark at 4.30pm.

Bing bong. 6 different languages later we had arrived in Santorini an hour early. They suggested everyone go on deck to see the first glimpse. In my head it was the blue domed roofs like all the photos that we were going to see. Instead it was way in the distance and really cloudy.

Disembarking went on forever. There were a lot of excursions booked as well as other groups such as the EF language school. We were ticket 4 which was the last to board the tender boat to shore at 4.30pm which was our original arrival time so was still pretty good.

The boat across took just a few minutes. There are 3 options to get up to the top. Donkey. Cable car. Walk.

We took sadistic option number 3.

It was a mere 588 long steps to reach the top. It was really hot now and really steep. Additionally the donkeys have no awareness of personal space or direction and were 3 or 4 abreast. The ones coming down were even worse.. Out of control and unable to brake.

Somehow we made it to the top narrowly avoidng being trampled to death. The views and atmosphere were gorgeous. Cute little streets of shops, bars, tavernas and churches.

We asked which direction the blue roofs are and were pointed in the right direction. North. We later learned they’re on the north side of the island. Another trip maybe? We found a coastal path which had amazing views over to the really unusual rock formations.
And some blue roofs.

The island is a real mix of orthadox, and tradition, peppered with Chinese restaurants, fish & chip shops and even a Mc Donalds.

We decided to walk back down again, so much easier than going up. Unfortunately some of the donkeys were having a late night and we met a few on the way down but nothing as scary as before.

We waited a few minutes before the tender boat took us back to the Olympia.

We decided to go to the A la carte for a change. It was superb.

Went to the bar afterwards and the waitress thought I was asking for iced chocolate Bailey’s. It had to be tried and was delicious. So many drinks. So little time !
The time is going way too fast, just one more full day before we go back to reality.

Tonights show was Greek Gods & Goddesses and once again superb dancing, acrobatic skills and intense strength.

Excellent.

Very early start tomorrow, we arrive at Piraeus port at 6.30am to explore Athens.
Guten nacht, buenos nochas, iyi geceler, bonne nuit and loads of others I can’t remember.


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