Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Santorini - 7 September

Santorini wiki

Santorini Source: Wiki Commons

Well today we decided not to get off the ship. I know I'll probably regret it but I just couldn't be bothered. Sacrilege!

We enjoyed having our breakfast here on the back of the ship and lingered for ages.

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It was too tempting to just sit on deck and come back here again for lunch. Well when you live in a climate like ours you don't get the chance to relax and eat outside very often.

Here's a photo taken as we approached Santorini.

Cruise fuji 008

Santorini was called Strogli in ancient times and is considered to be one of the most beautiful islands in the world. It's the most southern of the Cyclades Islands and and is the remnant of a volcanic crater that was enclosed by the sea. The giant central lagoon, more or less rectangular, measures about 12 km × 7 km (7.5 mi × 4.3 mi) and is surrounded by 300 m (980 ft) high steep cliffs on three sides. The island slopes downward from the cliffs to the surrounding Aegean Sea. The water in the centre of the lagoon is nearly 400 m (1,300 ft) deep and makes it a safe harbour for all kinds of shipping. The island's harbours all lie in the lagoon and there are no ports on the outer perimeter of the island; the capital, Fira, clings to the top of the cliff looking down on the lagoon. (Source Wiki)

The volcano is still active and the last eruption was in 1956.

The population of Santorini is about 14,000 (that's apart from the tourists). Fira (also known as Thira or Thera) is the island's capital and is perched 900 feet up on the cliffs overlooking the harbour. Could you fancy living at the top of that? I couldn't.

Santorini 009

I also didn't fancy riding a donkey to the top, poor little things. There was a funicular and there's also a road with steps you can see zig zagging to the top at the centre of the photo.

Santorini way up

You can climb it on foot too but there's over 550 steps. Can you imagine it?

Later that day I met someone at reception asking for an elastoplast. He had been climbing the steps and fell in the donkey poo! I'll say no more!

Here's a few photographs of places I missed, courtesy of Wiki Commons:

Blue-dome-Santorini wiki

Typical Blue Domed Roof

Santorini_windmills wiki

Santorini Windmills

Oia

The Town of Oia

Post 122

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Rhodes - Sunday 6 September

If it's Sunday, we're in Rhodes and today's the day! Our Ruby Wedding, we've been married for 40 years. Hard to believe some days, but we made it.

What a change to the day we got married. The weather was pretty similar, very clear and sunny, just not quite so hot that day. What we didn't have this time was all the hassle. It was such a lovely relaxing day, just the two of us.

It was a time to reflect too on how much has happened over those years. The sad things and the happy ones; the family members we've lost and our new family members.

In the morning we went up to church, the one we, well I, always go to when we're in Rhodes. I've been there a lot so it's feeling very familiar now. Here's a slightly better photo of the St Francis mural. Still not a really good photo.

Cruise 229

Then we did our usual wandering around the Old Town. People always wonder why we go back to the same place when there are so many different places in the world to to see. Well I used to think that too, however I have to say I always see something new when we go to Rhodes and I also get a feeling of coming to a very friendly place, one I love.

Here's the memorial to the Jewish martyrs of Rhodes and those murdered in the death camps by the Nazis. I've never seen this before and I know we've passed down this street almost every time we've been here at the same time on a Sunday morning. I think the reason why we saw it this time is that there were very few people about this time as we walked down the street. Normally it's packed. Sorry the picture's not too clear but you get the feeling of the place. In the middle of a hustling bustling town, here's a little oasis of peace and tranquility.

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Here's something else we saw for the first time, a lady making carpets in the front of a shop. A dying trade apparently if you pardon the pun.

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The street traders were out in force trying to persuade you to buy. Not harassing you, just telling you about the craft and the bargains.

I love taking pictures of works in progress!

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I've noticed that when I'm wandering about I love seeing pictures through doorways, archways and holes like this. Not sure why. Here's a view through a hole in the old city walls.

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Wonder if it was a place the Knights of St John kept watch from.

One of the good things about visiting Rhodes on a cruise we discovered is how close the ship docks to the town. It's just a few minutes walk to the Old and New Towns. Also it gives you a different perspective on the Town too.

Here are the walls of the Old Town from the sea, well some of them.

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This is a view of the New Town and harbour, the other side of the photograph I took in May.

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Here's the photo I took from the quayside in May.
Cruise 038

A view of the top of the harbour. I'm pretty sure that's Turkey you can see in the distance.

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While I remember, here's a photo of the ship we travelled on.

Cruise 234

It wasn't one of those mega ships, I would have hated that. Just a nice size only 580 passengers and it was full. It could get into the smaller docks that the big cruise ships can't.

They were always washing and painting it when the ship docked. I kept wondering if the Queen was due on board as you can always smell fresh paint when she's expected anywhere.

Santorini tomorrow!

Post 121

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Mykonos

After lunch the ship docked in Mykonos, just a few nautical miles from Delos.

I’d never been to Mykonos before, (we don’t get direct flights from our local airport) but I’ve seen all those lovely photos in the holiday brochures. It’s one of the smallest islands in the Cyclades, 16km (10 miles) by 11 km (7 miles) but one of the most popular holiday resorts in Greece.

We didn't venture any further than Mykonos Town where there was plenty to see. There are gleaming white washed houses and shops in a maze of narrow haphazard alleyways, well preserved windmills and lots of tiny churches. Designer shops and the usual tourist tat. It’s exactly like the postcards.

The bay is really a pretty sight with the Venetian style balconies overhanging the restaurants and cafes. In earlier days these were the distinguished houses of ship captains. I love this photo, the water was crystal clear.

Little Venice

The famous windmills of Mykonos are reminders of an earlier time when wind power was used to grind the island's grain. It's not easy to get a decent picture of them, they must specially organise the post card photo shoots. To the rear is a car park and I couldn't resist taking this photo of a car that's much dirtier than mine has ever been and it does get quite mucky. Shows how hot and dusty it is there.

Mucky car

Clean Me!

In front of the windmills was a huge skip. I managed to get a photo to the side of it and cropped most of it off and also someone's motor scooters.

Windmills


There are apparently 365 churches and chapels on Mykonos but I only took this one photo of a little chapel sandwiched between shops, houses and restaurants.

Little chapel

In the fifties, a group of migrating pelicans passed over Mykonos and apparently left behind a single exhausted bird, Petros. Vassilis the fisherman, nursed it back to health and locals say the pelican in the harbour is the original Petros. It's doubtful after all this time and there are several lurking around. This one seemed to be performing its ablutions in an appropriate place, the local loos!

Pelican

Petros?

There were numerous alleyways with tiny shops and houses. It was great to find some shade there. You couldn't really get lost though, it wasn't that big.

Alleyway

There were lots of lovely little shingley coves and sandy beaches where you could swim. Oh the heat! Wish I had taken my swimming costume.

Small cove

Just in case you're wondering, no that isn't our ship in the background. It was in Delos when we were there too.

Next stop Rhodes!

Post 120

What's a Gansey?

                                                Photograph courtesy of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums It's a seaman's kni...