Sunday, December 9, 2012

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece
July 2012
Entering the caldera (collapsed part of a volcano) of the island of Santorini, one sees the seemingly snow capped mountains. The city is probably Imerovioli, just north of the Fira port. It is the first glimpse of the predominent theme of brightly painted structures all in white.

Santorini is essentially what remains of a volcanic explosion some 3,600 years ago. Simply, a volcano can erupt, and then collapse creating what is called a geological caldera. The "hole" in the center is the result of the collapse. Marked in yellow is the port of Fira where we anchored. 

Mediterranean blue.
The Mediterranean connects with the Atlantic Ocean which is mostly green in color. The green is caused by decaying plants on the ocean bed which produces a green effect. When the plants decay, yellow pigments are released which get dissolved in the water. This does not occur in the Mediterranean Sea. There is little phosphate in the water to support plankton. The nearly land locked waters are heated by the sun causing evaporation; the water grows more saline and denser until it sinks. Now the color of seas depends on the amount of sunlight scattered from the surface. The color of the scattered light depends upon the substances dissolved in seawater and as mentioned, there are few substances in the Mediterranean. Of the seven colors of sunlight, blue is scattered most--and that is why the Mediterranean is so blue. (Don't ask again). 

Prior to our beginning the cruise, Christine and I decided that we didn't need to go on a tour or even go ashore at every port. We had already stayed on board at Corfu. We were going to stay on board at Santorini also. However, on reading the hype of Santorini, I suggested to Christine that we just go ashore, ride the donkeys up to the city, and then come back down on the cable car. That sounded fun so we hopped on a tender (one of the rescue boats that doubles as a water taxi when a ship can not dock at a pier).
Right before arriving at the pier, one is impressed by the use of the cliff space. Some of the structures were built into the cliff.
Our donkey choices.
One can walk up to the city but the "struggle" of the donkeys was enough to convince us that we made a good choice. 
Great view from the donkey stairs. Our ship is the far dark boat.
 End of the ride. Christine is still well rested. 
Which was a good deal. Just as soon as we looked around at the top of the donkey ride, the view was so inticing, we just had to visit the city.
Fira and the views were just outstanding.
Two happy tourists.
The views just kept appearing.
If one studies the commerical images of Fira, this shot will be seen. And we couldn't resist either.
Every thing was so neat and clean. Yet, we had a hard time finding a waste disposal to throw away our trash.
Blue domed churches were breath-taking.
Want another spectacular sight? Turn the corner.
Part of the village center. The Atlantis hotel on the right gets great reviews.
I can read Christine's thoughts, "Ah, Santorini!!"
Mural above the door of a museum in the square.
Whereas we were just going ashore to ride the donkeys and come down on the cable car--three hours later we boarded the cable car. 
Tenders in the harbor are still carrying people to the pier.
Apparently, many choose to ride up the cable cars rather than the donkeys.
Close to the end of the cable car ride. On the far left are more donkeys going up.
We may have just spent hours visiting the city on top, Christine still has energy to shop at the pier level. Hard to keep up with her when she is on a quest.
View from our return tender of the various layers of volcanic eruptions. 

 End of our adventure that started out as a planned relaxed day on board just lounging around the pool and napping in lounge chairs on the deck. 

1 comment: