There is very little else to say about Santorini other than that it is completely and utterly stunning. That doesn't mean there aren't other equally as stunning islands, nor does it mean that the only thing to do there is stand and stare at the scenery. But it was honestly was of the few places that lived up to the aesthetic hype I had let invade my brain. Despite the fact that it was insanely hot the day we ported there and the fact that we hit a few minor snags amidst our travels, the view alone was certainly worth the effort.
Now first things first, the most important part of the day was clearly the fact that it was Dancer Friend's birthday! Which also happens to be my big brother's birthday, so it's pretty much impossible for me to forget the birth dates of two of the people I have known the absolute longest on earth. The second most important part, or rather, the most inconvenient part of the day, was that this was the only island that we had to use tenders to get to. And despite the rather cozy and gentle nature the word itself would infuse, tenders are actually rather trixy little vixens. You have to wait in a line to get a number for when your room is even allowed to board, and while they said you can only start lining up about an hour or so in advance, people were there at the, for lack of a better expression, ass crack of dawn. Well, good for them that they had the time and energy to waste several hours lingering below deck rather than enjoying the splendour of the sun. So be it. Once on the boat, however, we were tossed and turned about, absolutely believing we would be thrown from the boat if not for the windows keeping us in tow.
At long last, we made it to shore, where we had to either wait in line for the cable car up the massive hilltop, ride a donkey, or hoof it up the steep incline. Since the sun was already blazing, walking seemed a terrible plan and while animals of any sort sound like a fantastic idea in theory, in practice they are known to be rather testy and not nicely treated. The cable car wasn't necessarily a bright star in contrast, though, looking rather precariously held aloft by thin little wires that might snap apart at any moment. For whatever reason, this was much easier for me to stomach than an airplane ride, though not all of our party felt the same.
Our destination at the top of the hill was a town called Fira, beautiful to be sure, though I was admittedly very interested in seeing another one of the renowned cities, Oia. Dancer Friend had found a hiking route between the cities and it was our intention to take on the challenge. Unfortunately, the sun was so hot and fierce midday that we ultimately abandoned this ambition and found a small convenience store with very friendly owners who called us a taxi. At this point, we were still hoping there might be time to hit up a beach for an hour or so, but after a brief ride in the cab, realized that it was either beach or Oia. Since the next day would be spent snorkeling and such on Mykonos, we opted to make this excursion all about the architecture. Because this was the day of tumultuous transportation, though, the taxi driver we called could take us to the beach but not Oia, so he dropped us at a taxi stand and warned that we might not be able to get one. Great.
Happily, we didn't have to wait too long, and we made it to Oia in time for some shopping, plenty of white and blue architecture spotting, and a very lovely Greek dinner. Though we had abandoned the hike, we were all pretty knackered via walking and the sun, so a lovely birthday dinner for our friend was the true highlight of the day. Well, that and the incredible views we saw throughout, not least of which was the panorama presented by our seats at the restaurant. After filling our bellies with wine and lamb and fish and the like, we made our way back to yet another taxi stand where as fate would have it, the very same driver who brought us to Oia squired us back to Fira and another long line for the cable car. While going down was probably a slight bit more terrifying than going up, the tender back to the ship was much calmer and more serene, particularly with an amazing sunset glimmering from over the mountain peaks.