Hangzhou Global Tour: Day 15
I found the Greek Island of Santorini to be so inviting and quite different from Mykonos. Santorini is more laid back, even rural, while Mykonos is more about the party scene while basking on its sun-drenched beaches.
When we first arrived on Santorini via our cruise ship tender, I was pretty underwhelmed. The landscape was arid and the port lay at the base of a rocky cliff face that sored more than 550 meters. The street was lined with some cheesy looking shops and cafes. As we boarded our tour bus and ascended up a narrow and treacherous road toward the top of the island, my impressions began to change. For starters, the views were stunning, and I’ve never seen ocean water so blue and crystal clear in all my travels. As I looked out to the other side of the island, I saw a gradual decent of the landscape as it met the waters on the other side. I saw homes, buildings and vineyards as far as the eye could see, but it wasn’t congested by any means, but rather spread out.
We made our way to one of the two populated villages on the island where we strolled the streets, which were pedestrian-only alleys weaving throughout. It was so different from any destination I’ve visited. Santorini was like being transported back in time before communities required larger streets to accommodate cars. Villagers and visitors alike meander through the narrow alleyways flanked by residential courtyard entrances. Eventually, I found my way to what was obviously a main thoroughfare…a corridor of shops and restaurants, many of which were perched in a direction to display the stunning views of the turquoise waters below.
We gathered once again and boarded our bus, which took us to one of the wineries on this island, this one could accommodate the hordes of vino enthusiast. The terraced layout of the winery and its sensational views could have kept our attention for hours, but time was not on our side—our next stop was at a local Greek tavern where we had lunch. While the vantage point was different, we still were entertained by sensational views. During lunch we heard some plates crashing to the floor and some of us knew exactly what it meant, there was some Greek celebrations going on. We peaked into a private dining area to see the festivities first hand. There was music playing, traditional Greek dancing and thousands of shards of ceramic on the floor. This was our first authentic Greek meal while in Greece and it was sensational.
It was a wonderful day in Santorni, but it had tom come to an end as it was time to board our Costa cruise ship for a fine-dining experience we’d not soon forget.
From the opulent atmosphere, stunning views as the sunset over the Adriatic Sea ocean, to the service and food, the gastronomic experience at Cuchina Tradizionale was a perfect ending to a wonderful day in Greece.
Our tour guide provided us with some fascinating facts about Santorini:
- Santorini has two active volcanoes on the island.
- There is an abundance of pumas stone on the island, which is both exported, as well as used as a building material.
- Only 15,000 people live on the island, however over 1.5 million visit each year.
- The Tourist season is 8.5 months long, with a short break in the winter.
- The Venetians build over 500 castles on the island in order to protect it from pirates.
- Because it’s so windy on Santorini, the farmers and vineyards grow crops in a unique way…for example the grape for wine are grown on the ground in bunches rather than on vines.
- Apparently there is so little rain on the island that wine in more plentiful than water.
- There are over 1000 Chinese weddings each year on Santorni…it’s a popular place. As a matter of fact, the Capaldi family ran into a couple from Hangzhou who were getting married.
- There are more churches than houses in Santorni, however most are small and private.
- Because the island was inhabited by the Venetians, many of the churches are not Greek Orthodox, but rather Catholic.
- There are more donkey’s than men.
- The reason there are so many white homes/buildings with blue roofs is the significance of the colors. Blue and White represent the colors of the Greek flag. White represents purity, and blue to symbolize the sky and the sea.
- Here is one that really through me for a loop…the wine grapes are grow with no irrigation! The vines get all their necessary fluid from the moisture within the humid air.
- Until 1960, there was no electricity, only donkeys and fisherman.
- There are over 100 variety of grapes in Santorini.
- Santorini is so nice, even Angelina and Brad Pitt call the island home…at least part time.
Tomorrow we will spend the entire day at sea en route to Croatia. I hope will stay tuned for my update as I share with you my first experience on a cruise ship on the Costa Deliziosa. Click here to read my update yesterday, click here to read tomorrows.