And so, we reached the last port of call of this journey. From the ship we were tendered to the mammoth volcanic rock known as Santorini. Unfortunately, its harbor hosted four ships today, a total of 8,000 souls. There are three ways to get to the smattering of white houses on top of the rock: walk a steep walk under the blazing sun, ride on a donkey or on a mule, or take a cable car. We chose the civilized way and promptly got in line. After almost an hour waiting and a two-minute ride, we spilled out the cable car and into the first town of Fira. Our original plan was to take a local bus to the most picturesque of the Santorini villages, Oia, but the mob around us had the same idea, so we changed the plan and walked away from the human masses and headed the opposite way, to the village of Firastephani Santorini is one of my most favorite places on Earth. Its beauty never stops to astonish me. Although this was our third visit here, I felt like a Santorini-virgin all over again. Its understated beauty got under my skin just like the first time. The white-washed buildings are sculptural and frame bright blue doors, windows, roofs, and church cupolas. The whole town looks freshly painted. Littlecourtyards with Greek urns, bougainvillea hugging the walls, terraced houses hanging off the cliffs, and all of the above are sandwiched between the impossibly blue sea and the impossibly blue sky – not a cloud to be seen all the way to the horizon. Back to Fira, we decided to skip the line to the cable car and walk down. This turned out to be more than I bargained for. We had to navigate between the ascending and descending mules and donkeys, all the while trying to avoid what they left behind on the steps. The stench was unbearable. I practically ran down to the port.
So, to sum up the trip: I will end this the way I started: this is not . Neither is it France, nor even Argentina. These Black Sea ports are not a must see before you die. And yet, we were not disappointed in the ports of call having had no high expectations. They were pleasant overall, the ship was nice, and the cruise critic (internet) crew was friendly. We had a nice vacation and a good time (minus Constanta and Kenny’s back).
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are solely mine and do not represent opinions of the rest of passengers and, probably, nobody else’s, come to think of it.