Monday, October 5, 2015

Santorini, Donkeys and Katakolon in Greece

One of Michael Wilcox’s lectures while we enjoyed a day at sea was about what Greece has contributed to the world.  Even though present-day Greece is in financial ruin and was holding an election the day after we left, for the third time since January, to try to figure out who can get them out of their fiscal mess and how to keep the country afloat, ancient Greece contributed more to the world that we will ever appreciate enough! 

He reminded us that Grecians have taught us about the importance and beauty of the human body, how to compete and have fun with games, the pleasures of great theatre performances and the idea of the heroic through mythology as well as real heroes in Greek history. They believed that suffering brought wisdom and gave us some greatest thinkers and philosophers the world has ever known.They believed that leisure was for learning. They saw beauty in art and architecture and taught that the real you is the best you!

With that as a background, we enjoyed our days in Santorini, breathtaking Oia (pronounced EE-ah) and Katakolon, the birthplace of the Olympic Games.

From the ship we could see the whitewashed homes of Santorini. Above see the interesting white-washed homes that sometimes looked as though they had melted into the earth.


Before arriving at the spectacular blue domes of Oia (pronounced EE AH), we visited ancient ruins of a city destroyed by an enormous volcanic eruption in 1650 BC. Again archeologists were painstakingly uncovering ruins that are teaching them so much about that culture which was thriving and amazingly advanced.

While Ian and Charity took off for an adventure of their own which turned out to be even more eventful than planned (see Charity’s blog for details coming soon), here are a few of the things we saw in the huge tented area of the city being restored by geologists. I wouldn’t last a week on this project. Hoorah for those who have infinite patience with slow, painstaking work!



Here are pictures that our guide is showing us of some of the frescos that were found on the walls, which now reside in museums.


Oia was dazzling! There’s nothing quite like it in all the world. We’ve seen pictures on postcards but it was pretty amazing to see it in real life! Sadly my camera shifts to a different mode once in a while on it’s own (I’m sure it has nothing to do with me) so many of these pictures don’t do the colors justice! The dome on this church is really cobalt blue!  Maybe the colors change when it’s so hot (95) JK.


For some reason, hours later the color was much better. Ian will love this!










The  pictures just can’t do it justice!  Here’s a post card that captures it a little better:


The journey back down the cliff to the ship was a grand adventure. Our choices were to wait for at least an hour in a line for the little cable cars that take you down in a jiffy, walk down the almost 700 steps or take a donkey from about half way down. Of course we chose the donkeys but by the time we got down with leather straps pinching our legs and feeling sorry for the poor donkeys in that  horrendous heat, we were wishing we had walked. But it was an experience!




After lots of sweaty donkeys and people, some pretty wild poop on the stairs we have to admit that we were glad to be back on the nice cool ship after a spectacular day on Santorini!

The next day we were ON TO KATAKOLON, the birthplace of the Olympics!

Loved this beautiful museum at the site of the first Olympics! 



These statues rivaled the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum!  How could it be possible that someone could make the folds of a robe look as though they are flowing? Simply remarkable! 




Since this is the place where the first Olympics ions ago, were held we got to see the area where the footraces were run. Even though it was 95 degrees and 70 humidity, Ian and Charity, of course ran the course (a little father than a football field) and Ian was nice enough to let Charity win. I was busy videoing the race so didn’t get any still shots and I’ve still not learned how to post videos. Too bad! It was pretty fun to see!

Every night after our adventures on land we were happy to retreat to our assigned dinner table where we thoroughly enjoyed chatting with our cruise managers and Michael Wilcox who does so many cruises and speeches that he is away from home over 200 days a year. We were so lucky to have been able to enjoy his company every night!


Speaking of good times on the ship, we did have a competition with “the kids” which included a trilogy of events: Ping Pong, Shuffleboard and Miniature Golf. We have to admit that they won all three events. HOWEVER, I do want to add that it’s about the 3rd time I’ve ever played miniature golf in my life and I got A HOLE IN ONE!!! 

I do have to admit that I couldn’t even see the hole. Go figure! Smile 


On to the marvels of Venice!

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