» » A Charles and Mieko Simon Web Site « «
The question is — “Did the catastropic volcanic eruption that ravaged Santorini circa 1600 B.C. destroy Crete's ancient Minoan civilization — and give birth to the myth of Atlantis?”
In 1967, archaeologists on Santorini unearthed the remains of a Bronze Age city that may have been home to as many as 30,000 people. Whether the Lost Continent of Atlantis is rooted in myth or reality, an undisputed fact remains. The eruption created a caldera — and one of the most dramatic land- and seascapes in the entire Mediterranean. On Santorini, whitewashed buildings cling dizzyingly to cliffs that plunge to the turquoise sea. These cliffs rise to over 400 feet and fall beneath the water's surface another 300 feet! It is not difficult to see that this is the caldera.
But we were not here to answer these probing questions. Our goal was only to sightsee and find out what Santorini had to offer. Having had a full day and two nights at sea, we were ready to put our feet on dry soil. And so it was that there were others here for the same reason. There were several very nice yachts at anchor and our tender was busy taking people ashore.
In the second and third photographs look sharply for the zigzag path on the side of the cliff. The brave tourists could rent a donkey and walk or ride this path to the top. Or also look just to the left of this path for the tram or cable car to the top. Later we will see what is at the top. For us it was a boat ride to a landing to board a bus for our tour. Immediately we started up a winding road to the top of the island.
Our first stop was very much at the top of the island. Our driver turned the bus around in a small space that was surrounded by a sharp drop several hundred feet downward. I had just soon not been in the bus but he made.
The bright green in the fifth photo below are grape plants. Unlike most places, these are small plants that are very close to the ground — the ground looking very much like rocks. We were told that Santorini gets little to no rain so it is very difficult to grow anything. We were also told that wine was cheaper than water. What water the island has is carefully gathered from the times it does rain and kept in cisterns.
Note the little car. This is the Smartcar and beginning to be seen in the United States.
This was the second place we had been where there were nude beaches. The guide wanted to show us the black beaches but compared to the black beaches of the Big Island of Hawaii, this was not impressive. Oh, neither were the nudes.
This church, so much like the houses, painted white with blue trim. The first church, the Aghios Nektarios, nicely designed with the lattice work and octagonal cupola.
This next series of photos is of a church in Fira, Santorini's largest town and clinging to the cliffs at the top of the zigzag path mentioned earlier. We left our bus and guide at this church and made our way to the shopping area of Fira. Fira is only accessible by foot and the church was as close as one could get without walking. Well, there is the cable lift and that was our goal for the ride down the hill to our waiting tender.
An interesting walk with some striking views of the island as we made our way to the lift. Most amazing was seeing the houses crowded onto the cliffs. Truly a nice photographic opportunity.
We are now in line to board the cable car. The cat doesn't seem to mind all the people, perhaps more like enjoyed watching everyone.
The remaining photos were taken on the way down and after we arrived at the dock. In the third photo, Mieko is walking ahead to get in line for the tender.
Back in our stateroom and with the ship underway, we got a good look at the cliffs. With the sun's position and shadows, it was easier to see the interesting erosion carved by the winds into the cliffs.