Santorini & Rhodes


(Continued from Cruise from Athens to Istanbul)

   Today we awoke as we were cruising into beautiful Santorini harbor – a spectacular island that now consists of only the edges of the circle and the remains of the volcano in the center.  Most of the whitewashed buildings are perched along high cliffs – breathtaking!  We took the tender to shore and rode donkeys up the steep zig-zagged path to the top – fun, but a little scary!

            After wandering through the town (filled with tourist souvenir shops and countless beautiful jewelry stores) and a failed attempt at using the phone card, we were finally able to contact Ilias’ friend Christos, who owns a restaurant in Oia – a beautiful town on the tip of the island.  After cappuccino with a view, we hired a taxi and headed to Oia – a lovely small town with fewer tourists and equally spectacular views.  We finally found “Skala” – a lovely restaurant on the side of the cliff.  Christos greeted us warmly and treated us to a wonderful lunch of local favorites, including a crostini-like dish made with hard dark bread, a zucchini & onion loaf served with thick, sweet yogurt, sautéed mushrooms with herbs, eggplant slices with tomato sauce, onion pie in phyllo, and a tender, moist walnut cake with chocolate icing – decadent!  We drank the local wine and had Mezza – a not-too-sweet dessert wine – then were driven by Christos and Martina (Irish-born employee – a real delight!) to the nearby winery he co-owns for a tour and wine-tasting – such fun!  (And it was Christos’ 45th birthday!  He told us that it is tradition to treat your friends on your birthday in Greece – certainly not the American approach, but quite charming.)

            We returned to Fira along the coast behind the main town – beautiful!  Met Tom and Kathy in town, shared our adventures over beer with a view, then headed down via cable car to the tender and a much-needed nap!

 Awoke just in time to dress for dinner at Jarle Jensen’s table (Staff Captain) in the company of Bob and Alice from Chicago, and Jochen and Brigitte from Germany.  Another wonderful meal:  raw tuna & caviar, French onion soup and lamb with veggies.  Then to the show, where Terry Kushner – and excellent singer – put on an entertaining show to a very appreciative crowd.  We then retired to the pool deck with the Monaco gang and Tom and Kathy (celebrating their 25th anniversary) for outstanding 1968 Larrissingle Tres Viele Armagnac and cigars – later joined by Ole Petter Asp, the rather inebriated Chief Engineer.  The crew’s sadness is becoming more obvious…..

            (10-17) Can’t believe that it’s Wednesday already!  We’ve docked at the island of Rhodes and had an interesting day touring the old town – an old medieval city with a fascinating history – narrow, winding streets with thick stone walls, open plazas, an excellent archeology museum in the old vast Knights of St John Hospital, and many, many shops and restaurants.  We met Kathy and Tom in town, had a quick lunch of “authentic” gyros made from slices of pork roasted on a spit (not the cones of pressed minced meat that we have at home!) – delicious!  We then did some souvenir shopping before returning to the ship and a relaxing afternoon poolside visiting with new friends.  Tonight we’ll dine at “Angelos” – the Italian restaurant on ship – then the “Liar’s Club”…..