I was mistaken in my last post. Turkey was not the next stop. Instead, I will recap Santorini, Greece.
Santorini, or Thira, was formed through volcanic activity. In the 17th century BCE, a major eruption literally blew the island apart, sending debris into the stratosphere. It sent a tsunami that devastated the Minoan civilization on Crete. Some believe it was an inspiration for Plato’s story of Atlantis (though it has nothing to do with the prophecies of Ezekial, who lived over a thousand years later… that would make them histories, not prophecies).
Whatever the case, the shape of the islands can be seen in this Google Earth image:
The volcano blew its top, which displaced so much material that the caldera was below sea-level, and water came rushing in. A new volcano began forming in the middle over time. We hiked to the summit of this still active volcano…
*Cue ominous music*
And to think, I almost forgot to post a recap of this.
First of all, we boarded a pirate-style galleon:
Then we began the uphill walk through the breezy, Tatooine-esque landscape (Star Wars, for those who had social lives in high school).
Here’s some pictures I took from a rock marked as the highest point:
This is a picture of the sulfur build-up near one of the vents:
We got back on the boat and were taken to a little cove where there were natural hot springs. I expected it to smell, but it was gross in a different way. The ground felt hairy and alive. I had that scummy moss feel on my feet, and the water got as shallow as a couple feet, so it got hard to avoid. It wasn’t as hot as I would have expected, and it was gross watching people smear themselves from face to finger tip in the mud I was desperately avoiding.
It also seems to have permanently stained my swimsuit’s white sections with varying shades of yellow and brown (my favorite discolorations around the lower-body region). To be fair, we were warned.
Our little excursion ended, and we boarded the cruise ship again, but our day in Santorini was far from over. We took a cable ride up to the town (we could have ridden a donkey, but they were the exact same price and the donkey took like 20 minutes longer). We walked through the town a bit and my wife saw a little figurine turtle tiled in a rainbow of colors.
We just missed the bus to the black sand beach we wanted to go to, so we waited fifteen minutes in the hot sun for the next one. When it picked us up, we saw quite an interesting place on the way to the shore:
When we arrived, we tread through the sharpest, rockiest excuse for sand I ever felt. I had sandals on, but it was impossible to keep from sinking into this gravel-mixed-with-volcanic-glass. We got a seat under an umbrella, and I sat and read while my wife tested the waters.
After we had our fill, we cautiously made our way back to the bus station, where I saw an unusual sign:
My wife ended up buying the little turtle. On the cable car ride down, someone in another compartment had a medical problem and was bleeding. We passed by and I wanted to see what happened, but my wife dragged my curious, nosey ass back to the tender so we could board the ship.
From our cabin balcony, I took these pictures as we left (notice in the second the zig-zag path up from the dock):
For my next trip recap, Turkey (for realz).