Santorini is a place I have always wanted to go to.
Ever since I saw pictures of Santorini, this has been on my list of places to see. One of the reasons we took this cruise was because it heavily visited the Greek Islands. I wanted to see for myself if this place was as pretty as all the pictures showed. All I can say that you will not be disappointed. And now it is on my list of places to return and stay on the island instead of visiting by a cruise ship.
This was a tender port for Princess Cruise. Our plan was to make our way to Oia, after we picked up our ATV. That meant an early start to get tickets for the tender. We arrived in the dining room around 6:45 and were handed tickets for the first tender. YEAH! I have never been on the first tender. They called tender ticket 1 around 7:00 a.m. and we were on our way.
It was a quick ride over to port. As soon as we got off the tender we headed to the cable car to go up the mountain. Everyone rushes off the boat to purchase their tickets (4 Euros per person). We were lucky to get in one of the first cars to head up the mountain side. Before we knew it we were at the top.
When we got off the cable cars we were not really sure which way to go. We started asking how to get to Tony’s rental car, but most of the people we asked did not understand English or chose to ignore us, but we finally found the place. The car rental was not on the main street but rather on a side street. Upon arrival, we had to wait for Tony to show up which was annoying as it was 8:00 and we told them we would be there at 8. Time is not important to them, but it was to us since we were trying to beat the tours heading to Oia. Tony finally showed up, but would not rent us a scooter because we did not have a motorcycle license, so we settled for an ATV for 25 Euros.
After making sure J could drive the ATV, we headed to a gas station as there was very little gas in the tank.
We learned our lesson from Corfu and did not put as much gas in the tank and headed to Oia. The drive to Oia was very pretty. I was constantly snapping pictures while J drove. After arriving in Oia, we found a parking space and went to explore. There are plenty of churches, shops, houses, hotels, and restaurants to take pictures of. We went in several shops and purchased two paintings to take home with us. I decided not to buy the framed paintings and just purchased the canvas and roll it since it would be easier to transport on the plane. We continued to explore the different mazes of steps, as you never know where they will take you. Climbing up and down the steps, we walked by people sitting on their balcony, enjoying their breakfast and the views. They really had no privacy as you can see from the pictures below.
Churches were everywhere.
Reluctantly, we left Oia for Santos Winery. Where the views were just as stunning as in Oia.
When we arrived at the winery, I went to use their bathroom, and left my paintings on a chair in the restroom. I did not realize it until later, and when I returned they were gone. I checked with the front cashier to see if anyone had turned them in, but sadly no one had. This place gets very busy from all the bus tour, and someone must have decided to keep them. I hope they are enjoying my pictures. I did not let this put a damper on my trip and after tasting the different wines, we bought a bottle to take with us and we were on our way. We were headed to Perissa Beach when we saw a cute place for lunch called the Lazy Lizard.
This ended up being a great find, as we had gyros, milk shakes and a separate plate of french fries for only 12 Euros. They were the largest and best gyros we had during our trip for only 2 Euros. We would have never been able to eat for that price in Fira.
It was getting late and we needed to check out Fira and try to find another painting before we returned to the ship. We ended up leaving without checking out the beaches, just another reason to return to Santorini. We took the ATV back to allow us time to walk around Fira.
After exploring Fira, we felt the shopping was better in Oia. I was not able to find a painting similar to the ones I purchased in Oia. When I returned home, I tried to contact the shop, but they do not ship paintings. The only way I will be able to replace my paintings is to return someday. There were several cruise ships in port making Fira very crowded. I was glad we were able to see other parts of the island, because I did not care for Fira like Oia and maybe it was due to the crowds. This is a very tiny town that was run over with people. We decided to head back to the ship but found the line for the cable car was really long. We knew it would be an hour or more before we would get on the cable car. In this heat I did not want to stand in line. We chose to walk the 588 steps back to the ship. It was a pleasant walk back to the ship. We took our time looking at the shops, taking pictures and passing donkeys waiting to take people down the stairs and bringing people up the hill.
Santorini was an enjoyable port, one which I would like to return to one day and stay for several days.