Continuing my semi-regular series of posts about last summer's European vacation...
was never on my "Bucket List" the way the Acropolis in Athens or the Minoan Palace in Greece were, it was on the cruise itnerary and I'm glad I finally got to see it for myself.
Santorini is essentially part of the caldera of a a volcano whose eruption about 3,600 years ago
- scientists can't agree on an
exact date - was one of the biggest geological events in the past 5,000 years. Today, it is one of the most scenic spots in the Mediterranean, due to its cliffside villages featuring whitewashed buildings and blue-domed of Greek Orthodox Churches. Santorini is beautiful and, like many other places in
Mediterranean Europe, overrun by tourists.
Throngs of tourists explore the narrow streets of Oia
. Oia is located on the northern end of Santorini.
Another view of Oia. The whitewashed homes and hotels seem to tumble down the cliffs towards Santorini's caldera.
Exploring a side passageway in Oia. Santorini's natural beauty, picturesque villages and dry, sunny climate make it a major tourist destination.
Located to the south and east of Oia is Fira
, Santorini's main town and administrative center. Like Oia, its Cycladic architecture
consists of the iconic whitewashed buildings and dwellings that tumble down towards the caldera.
A close-up of the cliffside of Fira, with buildings connected by a maze of pathways and stairways. These buildings actually provide more space than what's visible here, thanks to rooms and other spaces that are dug into the cliffs behind them.
Mom, dad, Corinne and I enjoy a snack with a view in Fira. Our ship, Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas, is visible in the caldera behind us.
While we were in Santorini, we also got to try the wine that is native to the island. When our visit was complete, we rode a cable car down the island's steep, volcanic cliffs - a spectacular experience in itself - from Fira to the small harbor at the edge of the caldera and tendered back to our ship.
All in all, a pleasant visit to a truly beautiful and historic bit of Greece.