28 days on a cruise seemed so long – but with so many activities on the ship and walks from the ports the time soon flew by. A big bonus was being able to visit Odessa, which was previously cancelled, and well worth the visit. However, the real holiday highlight was Santorini!
Santorini is almost a circle, marking the remainder of a volcanic caldera, an explosion of which meant the end of the Minoan culture on Crete. The core comprised an island in the middle of the bay. Tenders carried us from the ship to the 2 landing places, one on the plain right round the back on the outside of the ring and the main one at the bottom of the cliff, with a cable car or 600 steps up to reach the principal town at the top.
From the upper town is a beautiful six mile walk to the end of the longest part of the circle. This is mainly along the ridge with parts through villages and with views of the central bay and our ship and to the other side and the residual arable plain. A stall selling freshly squeezed orange and delicious walnut cake was a welcome place to eat our picnic. The village at the end gave us a chance for a welcome iced coffee and a path down to the sea level on the outside of the ring to our bus back to the cable car.
Unfortunately we found that the cable car had broken down earlier with passengers from four ships needing to descend. By our arrival it was back in order but several of us decided to walk down anyway. We found the donkeys loose and running anywhere, and several elderly frail people sitting unable to descent further, having attempted the journey while the cable car was broken.
However, our ship’s crew really came up trumps and were all the way down helping people from any ship; my respect for them really rose, so out of their usual milieu as entertainers and hosts. Stretchers and wheelchairs were brought up and had to be carried down and all completed in time for our scheduled departure time.