I consider myself a pretty spontaneous individual so when a chance to visit Greece, France and Italy in the space of a week landing in my inbox, I found it difficult to resist. I always considered cruises to be for the older generation and in some ways I was right. You’re confined to a boat with limited entertainment and extortionate prices but every two days or so you get to explore a new city and all the troubles are forgotten. First stop on our itinerary was Greece, the home of language, mathematics, law and philosophy. A lot has changed since the ancient times but the ethos of that culture remains to this day. Come explore the volcanic island of Santorini with me or use the links below to jump directly to the other cities:
Santorini is located between the islands of Ios and Anafi and is actually equidistant between Greece and Turkey which makes for some scorching temperatures throughout the year. Tourists come here for the dramatic views, stunning sunsets and pure black, white and red beaches. The town of Thira is also just a few miles away and has an active volcano if you wanna add a bit of excitement to your hikes. Because of time constraints we only got the chance to explore the main cliff-perched town of Fira and yet managed to stuff our faces with gyros wraps and take some stunning drone pictures of the surrounding area.
As a lover of architecture it was fun to walk the white cobblestone streets while being surrounded by Venetian and Cycladic architecture dating back to the 14th century. Through the Middle Ages and up to the 18th century safety was a key concern on the islands so to protect themselves from pirates the architecture of that time is largely of a defensive nature. Over the centuries that threat has disappeared and the towns of Ola, Pygos and Fira have grown considerably due to the ever increasing number of tourists that come to visit. The hustle and bustle of shops, restaurants, hotels and cafes that line the streets was somewhat intoxicating.
If you’re arriving by sea then getting into Fira itself can be tricky if you don’t use the cable car. You can hire a donkey to complete the journey but as an animal lover I would not recommend that after seeing the treatment these donkeys get from their owners. The only alternate route is walking the 588 zigzagging steps up the cliff side which is also not advisable due to the scorching temperatures. On the island itself it’s very easy to hire a scooter, quad bike or car for the day for reasonable prices and explore the island at your leisure. At cable car drop off you can also find guides who will take you on tours around the island on a bus or a boat.
A word of warning if you’re here on a cruise. The shops will try to sell you wine to take back to the cruise ship but most companies do not allow outside alcohol to be brought on board. You can always just down as much as you can before heading back but there is a big chance you will miss the ferry back and the cruise will leave without you. A horrible situation to be in. Luckily I was joined by my friends Jim and Annabel who made the entire trip heaps of fun and gave me the opportunity to photograph something other than buildings. Make sure to keep an eye out for another one of my New Faces posts for the full set of pics.
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