After leaving the beautiful Dalmatian coast, we experienced our first bout of rough seas aboard a cruise ship. The ship was rocking Sunday night and I’m not referring to the music! We had 40 knot winds and 12-foot swells through most of the night; I feel sorry for anyone who suffers from motion sickness!
We pulled into Santorini, Greece mid-morning Monday and were met with the classic white buildings jutting out atop the cliffs high above the sea. It truly takes your breath away – it’s so pretty.
After making our way via tender to the shore, we then got a taste of the tourist side of Santorini while waiting nearly an hour to take the cable car to the top of the town. Once on top, we navigated our way around donkeys and tourists to meet our driver. After another 20 minutes, we were finally at a local marina and boarded our gorgeous catamaran for our afternoon sail around the island.
Nothing makes me feel more at home than when I’m on a boat. Throw in the views of this gorgeous country of islands and it just doesn’t get much better. Great friends, good music, beautiful weather, and a lovely Greek lunch prepared by our crew made for a fantastic way to spend our time in Santorini!
Ok, a little about Santorini. This picturesque cliffside island was once a large and prosperous civilization during the Minoan and Phoenician ages, until a large volcanic eruption in 1600 BC destroyed a large portion of the island and likely caused the demise of the Minoan civilization. Some believe that Santorini (known as Ancient Thera at the time) was none other than the lost city of Atlantis (but there is little evidence to support this theory). The islands have continued to be occupied over the centuries and, in the late 1900s, gained major popularity as a tourist destination.
(By the way, that's not our ship, but I couldn't pass up posting this incredible sunset shot!)
A less choppy night at sea brought us to Athens, Greece this morning. We had an early departure for our tour of the ancient citadel, the Acropolis. While all Greek cities had an acropolis (meaning high point in the city) only one is this historic with such well-preserved ruins. Built in the 5th century BC, the Athena Acropolis contains many preserved structures. Walking up the hill, you first see the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, a music hall built by the Romans in 161 AD. This impressive amphitheater is still used for concerts today.
We were then welcomed by the Propylaea (meaning “gateway to the top”), which served as the natural entrance to the Acropolis.
After walking through this impressive structure, the massive Parthenon temple stood before us. Sadly, both crowds and scaffolding prevented me from getting “the pic” I wanted, but they didn’t detract from us appreciating this ancient structure!
Another well preserved temple, the elegant Erechtheion, sits on the north side of the Acropolis, was erected in early 400 BC.
After making our way around all of these structures, we proceeded back down the hill on the south side to view the ancient hospital and the Theatre of Dionysus, with less than half of its original seating uncovered.
We wrapped up our afternoon with lunch near the neighborhood of Plaka and its charming, narrow cobblestone streets.
Tomorrow, we are back in Turkey with our first stop in Ephesus!