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Day 14

I love it when we're cruising... including a mule, a crowded sugar-cube town & a pretty average sunset

sunny 25 °C

Starting at 10am on a bus, it was a massively long day. We drove to the opposite side of the island and down a steep, winding road to the port, to jump on board our masted vessel, the King Thiras. It was a pretty popular cruise with only a few empty seats.

SS King Thiras

Some stunning vistas from the caldera. This is the main town of Fira.

First stop was Nea Kameni (New Burnt Island), which first appears in the history books in 47AD and is one of the two smaller volcanic islands within the caldera of Santorini. Nea Kameni's last small eruption was in 1950, and there's a path to the top so people who think they will see boiling lava can schlep their way up in the midday sun, only to be disappointed with boring rocks. Most of the people on board went up, but having read the reviews, I knew better, bahaha! I decided to stay on board and enjoy the sea air. Besides, when you've been to the top of Mt Vesuvius, nothing is ever going to compare.

The sharp volcanic rock of Nea Kameni's shores

Rusty rocks on the shore of Nea Kameni

Another tourist sailing vessel at Nea Kameni

The next stop was a little further on and around the corner at the thermal springs. Those who wanted to, and were good swimmers, jumped in the water and swam through the warm, sulphurous, orange currents between the rocky shores.


We had been warned not to wear expensive or light coloured swimsuits if we wanted to take part, and looking at one girl's formerly white bikini top when she got back, I could see why - it was mottled orange! Again, I was happy to stay on the boat - not really a particularly strong swimmer, or fit, so it was the sensible thing to do. I must say, watching the heads bobbing towards the gap in the black and orange jagged rocks looked like they were floating towards Mt Doom or certainly their own doom in the mouth of some mythical volcanic beast! Strangely, the movie Logan's Run came to mind...

They did all make it back however

We then moved on to the biggest island in the caldera, Thirassia or Therassia. There's a town on the top of the cliffs, which people could climb the 150+ steps up to, or take a donkey. But the port has a few restaurants so as it was time for lunch, I went to the one that our tour guide recommended - unfortunately, she was wrong, and it was one of the worst meals I've had here. Calamari souvlaki - overcooked, dry, tasteless. Chips & tzatziki were OK though.

Thirassia port

We were there for nearly 3 hours, so I wandered along the rocky shore, watching the tiny fish in the clear water. Generally, it's a bit tatty, like a lot of ports, but it has some interesting buildings which make for interesting photos.

I suspect this windmill is actually in use, though what they would use it for is anyone's guess

This church looks like it was painted by the local fisherman, rather than a painter!

Unsure what this tiny shed is for - maybe shelter or maybe an outhouse?

I settled down by the church on a small concrete jetty with my feet dangling in the water. It was one of the few places out of the sun. Right next to me was the end of a fishing net tied to the reinforcing.


It looked quite cool, so I took a few arty shots - have to have at least one in each of my blogs!

As luck would have it, just along the shore, a young man got into a rowboat with a dog:

But it looked like his mother called him back & the dog got off:

Then his father got in & they rowed towards me. Turns out, it was their net & he was happy for me to take some photos as he pulled it in:

It didn't look like they will have had any exaggerating fishing tales to tell though.

The problem with a place like Santorini is that it's a stopping point for a lot of cruise ships. Although none stop at Thirassia, even when one swings past Fira across the caldera, the swells make their way over to the island. And as my luck usually goes, they made it to my little spot


It seemed OK to start with, but the waves got bigger & eventually washed over my sitting spot. Luckily, my camera was in my hand, but my bags got a bit wet. No damage though.

Back on the boat, our last stop was to be Oia, to watch the sunset.

Oia from below - picturesque, as always.

Now, there are some 240 steps from the port of Ammoudi up to the town. I figure I've walked enough steps on this trip (refer Athens & Meteora particularly), and there are donkeys (mules actually, but why be pedantic?). Truth be told, I felt bad for them - they don't have the greatest life, lugging fat tourists up & down the steps up to 9 times a day in the blazing sun. They do have to be registered now, so their welfare can be checked on. For the princely sum of 5 euros, you can save yourself about the first 200 of those steps. So I did, despite my empathy for the beasties. Turns out, it's been a lot of years, and a few kilos, since I last climbed into a saddle. I'm glad no one was taking a video! I did, however, make it up there, with a little help from a terse Greek donkey handler (up, lady! here lady! again lady!). There are no reins, but you hang on to the pommel of the saddle, which is essentially a handle you grip. Visualise: me on a brown mule who doesn't like other mules being in front of it, so zig-zagging up the steps, almost side-swiping the sharp volcanic rocks in the walls (bare legs!), breaking into a bit of a trot when the donkey behind overtakes, and me swaying above, praying the skin on my legs stays in one piece & my daft mount doesn't throw me off down the cliff!! Would never happen in NZ - health & safety nightmare, believe me...

You can see the mischievous gleam in his eye! Bloody ratbag. But another bucket list item ticked off, so there

After puffing my way up the last few dozen steps, glad to at least have avoided the bulk of them, I found first of all the town square where we were to meet the tour guide after the sunset. The bell tower with the 6 bells was the place:


One thing that the island has plenty of - cats and beautiful bougainvillea


It was at this point that my camera battery died (great timing, as always!), and the only camera shop I found didn't have my brand, naturally (and people wonder why I'm cynical). Thank goodness for cellphones with (reasonably) good cameras!

Oia is one of the most stunning man-made places in the world, in my humble opinion. Therefore, I will let it speak for itself while we wait for the sunset (wasn't too hopeful, by the way, with the cloud cover the way it was).






This, I think, is just someone's house entrance. So pretty!

Not the sunset yet, but certainly the start of it


There's something about windmills, they're just so darned photogenic!



I decided I wouldn't join the main sunset-watching crowd - and you can see why!

So I picked this spot

That was about as good as it got, I'm afraid. Just too many clouds, blocking the sun down low.

The end of the night was a bus trip back to Kamari. One thing this place has is lovely evenings, and at the moment the moon rise has been stunning for a few nights, with an orange moon. Unfortunately, my camera just doesn't capture the colour particularly well, but you get the idea:



On that note, I'll end the day here. Only one more full day - start heading back Tuesday afternoon.

Posted by judesbucketlist 13:17 Archived in Greece Tagged sunset greece sailing santorini europe oia cyclades thira caldera greek_islands thera thirassia nea_kameni day_cruise

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