Keswick, Lake District, England – Day 2

The boat that took us around the lake.

After the long hike the previous day, we voted for a quieter activity, opting for the boat ride around Derwentwater, the lake nearest Keswick. Gray clouds filled the sky and even spilled an occasional misty drizzle, but the smooth sailing in the wooden boats offered one gorgeous view after another as we gently cruised the lake.

The boat is not just for touring, but is also a sort of water-based hop-on, hop-off bus with stops at the bases of numerous mountains. Hikers and climbers use it to get to the trails. There had been a lot of rain in the area in the weeks prior to our visit, and water in the lake was high. So high in fact that the boats didn’t go out at all the day before. On the day we went out, they couldn’t make all the normal stops since some of the jetties were still under water.

Lakeside Scenery

That didn’t affect us, however, since we were just enjoying the ride and gawking at the scenery. After a leisurely jaunt around the lake, we came back on land and bought a bit of duck food so the children could feed the flocks of ducks and geese that hung out in the area.

We then did some light shopping in Keswick and had a great lunch/dinner at The Dog and Gun, a fun pub with delicious food. Their Hungarian Ghoulash was very tasty. Afterward we kicked around Keswick a bit, watched climbers scaling an outdoor rock wall, poked into a couple of stores and stopped for an ice cream break.

The kids spent some time playing along the side of the river as we made our way back to the cottage for the evening.

 

Heading out from the dock in Keswick

Out on the lake

The mountain closest is CatBells. More on that tomorrow.

Steph with Freya and James

Ducks and Geese gather at the shore of the Derwentwater.

Freya and James feed the flocks

Petting the neon sheep in a shop called the Neon Sheep

The Dog and Gun Pub

Keswick

James getting armed to toss rocks in the river.

 

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The Lake District, Keswick – First Full Day

The weather for our first full day in Keswick was spectacular, sunny and clear, so we decided on what looked to be a fairly easy walk to the nearby Castlerigg Stone Circle.  Getting there via road was only a three-quarter mile hike, easily do-able for all of us. We didn’t count on the fact that it was uphill all the way and fairly steep in places. Plus the temperature climbed into the very warm range. We all made it, with a bit of grumbling from the children and a few rest stops along the way.

But the destination was most definitely worth the journey. Castlerigg Stone Circle is one of the oldest stone circles in Brittain, and possibly the oldest, dating to around 3000 BC. The stones aren’t overwhelmingly huge like the ones at Stonehenge, but unlike more famous sites, you can actually walk into and around the circle, touching and examining the large stones up close. Several groups of people were taking pictures of themselves on and around the stones.

Since the circle sits on top of a hill, it offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and lakes. It also offered several lovely mud puddles for James, 3, to stomp around in. Wisely his mother had him wear his Wellies for this trip.

We spent quite a while checking the circle and the views from various directions before we set out to return to Keswick via a longer cross-country footpath. We left via a unique stile comprised of a series of stone ledges canterlevered out from the stone wall at different levels to form a stone staircase to a gap in the wall and then down a series of rock steps on the other side. The route led gently downhill through sheep and horse pastures, across streams and eventually via a café where we stopped for lunch.

We got back to Keswick mid- to late-afternoon, did some grocery shopping and wound our way slowly back through town to the house to fix dinner. We passed some pleasant time on the veranda, looking out over the river and enjoying playing games with the children and enjoying the view into the evening.

We all took the bench’s advice, stopping for rest, drinks, and snacks.

The stone circle

Steph, Joe, and Jim

The return trip took us cross country and through fields where bored horses, sheep, and goats mostly ignored us.

The children invented a new sort of hatrack.

A sign post points the way

Stopping on a nice shady bridge

The return trip took us cross country and through fields where bored horses, sheep, and goats mostly ignored us.

Grandpa and Freya share a moment.

Coming back into Keswick, a charming town.

 

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From Glasgow to The Lake District, England

Glasgow Central Train Station

In this case getting there was half the fun.

After a leisurely breakfast, we packed up, checked out, and headed across the street from our hotel to the Glasgow Central Train Station. It’s a busy confusing, station, with trains coming and going constantly on 16 different tracks. After a bit of initial wait and confusion, we found the right platform and boarded the train for Penrith, the station nearest the northern part of the Lake District in England.
The journey was easy and pleasant, taking a bit over an hour and a half, rolling through some very scenic countryside. We got off the train at Penrith and from there took a bus to Keswick.

Castle ruins at Penrith

For an American, it was a delightful surprise to emerge from the train station at Penrith to the sight of a ruined castle right across the street. There’s not much left of it other than a few crumbling walls, but the grounds have been turned into a park. On that beautiful day, a number of children (plus a few adults) scrambled up and down one of the uneven walls.

The bus ride to Keswick was equally interesting. The bus was a large two-level monster and many of the roads in the area are little more than paved horse trails. Watching the bus maneuver through streets I didn’t think it could possibly fit was an experience in itself. As was riding on the top deck and having branches from the trees at the side of the road banging against the windows. Every time the bus had to make a turn I was sure this would be the time it wouldn’t manage to get around the corner. Because not only are the roads single-car narrow, most buildings are very close to the street.

View from the balcony.

But we got to Keswick (somehow!) and our son met us at the bus station (which is actually just a side road in front of Booths, the larger of two grocery stores in town). We walked the half mile or so to the vacation cottage and arrived to the enthusiastic greetings of our daughter-in-law and two grandchildren, Freya, who is five, and James, three. They had set out early that morning from their home in Hythe, Kent, and driven to Keswick, arriving there a couple of hours before we did.

Freya, 5, and James, 3.

Glasgow Central Rail Station – Looking toward the tracks.

Penrith Train Station

One side of the balcony looked out over the River Greta

The vacation cottage was lovely, including a wall of windows that looked out on one of the many mountains in the area and a veranda that overlooked (on one side) the river that runs through the town.

We had a great time that evening eating pizza and catching up with the family before retiring.

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Glasgow – Day 2

The Gate to the Botanic Gardens

We slept for almost ten hours and woke refreshed. After breakfast in the hotel, we set out. We took the subway to the Glasgow Botanic Gardens, which proved well worth the visit.

But first a word on the Glasgow subway – it’s wonderful! The simplest, easiest subway ever is a neat loop beneath the city. The only options are inner and outer. On the Inner loop the trains run in a counter clockwise direction while on the outer loop, the trains move clockwise. So even if you miss your stop either way, you’re not going to end up lost in some distant suburb. We each bought a ticket for unlimited use for the day, which cost 4.2 pounds per person.

Onto the gardens.  The Botanic Gardens are one of Glasgow’s proudest achievements, though the history is complex. But they’re spectacular. We didn’t walk all over the grounds because we had other things we wanted to do that day, but we did manage to go through both enormous glass houses and stop for coffee and a sweet at one of several tearooms on the grounds.

Entering the Kibble Palace

The Kibble Palace houses a large collection of plants from around the world, including many tropical varieties. Placards on some offer interesting information about some of the plants—odd growing patterns, places in local cultures, and uses of various parts.  The place also displays a number of sculptures from local artists as well as housing temporary exhibits and plant contests.

The second, enormous glasshouse, apparently referred to as the “MainRange Glasshouse” displays everything from cactus to ferns to a gorgeous array of flowers. I could have spent hours in there, just soaking in the amazing and amazingly beautiful variety of flora, but other things were calling.

Back to the subway for one stop to get to

Kelvingrove Museum

the Kelvingrove Art Museum. This beautiful (and enormous) museum has 22 galleries (far more than we could manage to do in one day) that range from showing various aspects of local Scottish arts to collections of French and Dutch paintings from the last few centuries. The paintings include art from Monet, Pisarro, Renoir, Seurat, Millet, Van Gogh, Cassatt, Picasso, Breugel, and Rembrandt (but mostly some of their lesser works). Without doubt, the star of the collection is the original painting of Christ of Saint John of the Cross, by Salvador Dali, which was purchased from the artist himself by a former curator.

Christ of St. John of the Cross, by Salvador Dali

After soaking in most of the paintings galleries, we managed to gape our way through several other exhibits, including one that featured the design works of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and a few of his peers and collaborators working in the Art Deco style of the period.

We broke for a quick lunch, eaten in the main hall of the museum, under the elaborate pipe organ. After a visit to the shops, we headed back to the hotel, stopping at an OxFam bookstore to pick up a few things.

Dinner in a local restaurant near our hotel was pleasant. I indulged in one of my favorite new cocktails, an Aperol Spritz, and then went whole hog on the indulgence with a desert called Lemon Meringue Pie in a Cup. Scrumptious. We stopped in a shop or two as we walked back to the hotel and finally called it a night.

Statuary and Plants in the Kibble Palace

Plants displayed in the Kibble Palace

Coffee and raspberry cheesecake in one of the Garden’s tea rooms.

The MainRange GlassHouse

One of the glorious floral displays in the MainRange Glasshouse

Another Floral Display

Interior Main Lobby with grand organ in the Kelvingrove Museum

Van Gogh

Part of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh display at Kelvingrove

The other side of the Kelvingrove Museum.

Lemon Meringue Pie in a Cup!

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A Trip to Glasgow – Getting There and Day 1

In August my husband and I ventured across the sea again. The ultimate goal was a week in the Lake District of England with our son and his family, but to get there we flew into Glasgow where we would get the train to Penrith and then to Keswick. But we’d never been in Glasgow, so we planned to spend a couple of days there before going on again.

Once again, though, getting there was not half the fun.

The first leg of our trip from Greensboro to Atlanta was routine. Yay! The next leg was definitely not. We took off twenty minutes late for New York’s JFK, which the pilot expected to make up in the air. And he did. What none of us counted on was that something had glitched at JFK and planes were lined up waiting for gates. We had to wait an hour an a half for a gate, sitting on the taxiway. We’d allowed plenty of time for our connection but a lot of people on the plane missed theirs.  I was starting to worry about making it when the connection time was down to an hour.

I needn’t have been concerned. As we were making our way from one terminal to another at JFK, the pilot of our flight was right behind us on an escalator, complaining to another pilot about the delay. He was especially perturbed because he was supposed to be flying to Glasgow in an hour.

But of course, it didn’t end there. Airport gridlock was still being untangled and we sat at the gate for 30 minutes waiting to push back and then spent the next hour and a half mostly sitting on the taxiway.  Because the flight attendants can’t serve meals until the flight is actually in the air, we didn’t eat dinner until something like one in the morning.

As usual I didn’t sleep on the plane and as usual it didn’t actually bother me very much.

We got into Glasgow around noon the next day, surprisingly just less than an hour late, breezed through passport control and got a taxi to the hotel, which is right in the heart of the tourist area of Glasgow. After having a quick rest and freshening up a bit, we set out to explore on foot.

The cab driver who took us from the airport to the hotel suggested a couple of places we should explore while we were there and we discovered a couple of them were only a short walk from our hotel.

Buchanan Street in Glasgow

Part of Buchanan Street has been turned into a pedestrian shopping mall with a variety of shops, mostly of the upscale variety but interspersed with other, smaller shops. We had fun poking into various places, got lunch from a sandwich shop on Buchanan St., eaten sitting on the side of a subway station, then headed for the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art. I love art, but my tastes tend more to the traditional, however we were so close and it was free, so we figured, “Why not?”

I can’t say I feel terribly enlightened by the displays, although I did find some quite interesting! An odd piece by Eduardo Paolozzi called “Hamlet in a Japanese Manner” was appealing but made no actual sense to me. The museum’s piece de resistance was one of Andy Warhol’s Soup Can paintings, which I find amusing and even admit to some understanding of how his approach carries artistic meaning.

We spent more time wandering around, just admiring the distinctive architecture, looking in at various places and doing some shopping.

One of the lovely features of the old part of Glasgow at least, is how much they’ve retained of the old architecture, even when a building’s interior has been completely redone and repurposed. A lot of it is Victorian and much of it reflects the influence of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

We stopped in at The Willow Tea Rooms for an early dinner since we planned on an early night after the short, mostly sleepless night before on the plane. The place features interior design and furniture created by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, most notably the very distinctive high-backed chairs. I ordered the traditional afternoon tea, and Jim had haddock patties with salad and a big cup of white mocha.  We were both well satisfied.

We headed back to the hotel in a drizzly rain.

 

The Museum of Modern Art in Glasgow

Dinner in the Willow Tea Room. Note the chair design!

 

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Goodbye to the Local Baseball Team For This Year

I’m a sports fan. That’s a statement of fact, not to be mistaken for a confession or an admission. It is what it is.

I’m particularly fond of baseball and especially our local minor league team, the Greensboro Grasshoppers, affectionately known as the Hoppers. Yes, it’s a ridiculous name, but the team is actually named for a small cannon used during the Revolutionary war, not necessarily the bug, even if the team mascot does happen to be a giant, stylized insect.

The Class A South Atlantic league wraps up its regular season at the end of August.  The Hoppers still have one more home stand before then, but we won’t be able to go to those, so we took in our last game the night before last.

It was a terrific time. The weather was perfect. After a fierce storm early in the day, the skies cleared again, but the temperature sank from 90 in the morning to 73 at game time. In addition to the show on the field, the skies presented a glorious display as the sun went down behind us.

And then there was the game itself, a perfect and perfectly odd jewel of a game. The Hoppers won 7 to nothing. Our pitchers combined for a shutout, including the starting pitcher who gave up only one hit through five innings. But the scoring… Three times in the game–three times!–the opposing pitchers walked a batter with the bases loaded. A fourth run was added when the pitcher hit a batter with the bases loaded.

But hey, a win is a win, and we’ll take it. Although our team is reasonably good, we’ve seen them win only once before this season. Every other game we’ve gone to (maybe 6 or 7) has been a loss. This was a good way to close out the season.

And there were fireworks after the game. They put on an amazing show.


 

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No Time for Surprises is now available in paperback!


The paperback cover for No Time for Surprises!  Get it for $9.99 at Amazon.

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Greece Day 8 – The Last Day

Our very last day on Santorini and in Greece. We’d planned to spend most of the day exploring the town of Oia. We had breakfast at a nice café with pastries, fresh squeezed orange juice, and coffee. The first hour or two of our time in the city was fun and pleasant. We stopped into a few shops, checked out the fabulous views and had the privilege of going into one of the amazing Greek Orthodox churches that was open to the public.

They didn’t allow photography inside the church, but it was spectacularly beautiful and wonderfully peaceful.

Unfortunately they didn’t allow photography inside the church, which is understandable but a pity. The church was gorgeous. Every surface was decorated with frescos, paintings, and icons. Gold and silver leaf were everywhere, making many of the surfaces glow. Candles, candle stands, censors, and small shrines filled the place, along with benches for worshippers.

It was an odd and exhilarating experience to step from the sunshine, heat, and crushing crowds of Oia into the church, where a respectful quiet reigned, even from the many tourists circulating through it. The peace of the interior, which focused attention on the spiritual realm, was almost tangible and truly refreshing.
Then it was back to exploring the town, but as the morning wore on, the narrow streets got more and more crowded. The heat was pretty stifling as well. When large tour groups from docked cruise ships began to create gridlock, we gave it up.

The black sand beach at Perissa

Instead we decided to head for Perissa and its black-sand beach. Good decision! The beach was lovely. The water was cold and clear. The black sand, ground from the volcanic rock of that area of the island had a very different feel from the white sand we’re used to on Atlantic beaches. It’s coarser and harder. The day was hot and the sand even hotter. It was literally so hot you had to wear shoes to cross it or burn the bottoms of your feet.

Lunch came from a restaurant/bar across a narrow street from the beach. Lamb pita sandwiches (with tzatziki, of course) hit the spot, accompanied by an Aperol spritz (more on those later).

For our final evening, we brought in food and had a picnic on the roof deck, watching our last Santorini sunset and reminiscing over what a great trip it had been.

We didn’t sleep much that night since we had to get up at 4 to get to the airport in time for our early flight from Santorini to Athens. From there we’d go from Athens to Philadelphia and get a connecting flight to Raleigh.

What a fabulous trip! I’ve already talked about seeing some of the great monuments and what that meant to me here: http://classicandcozybooks.blogspot.com/2019/07/the-literal-and-figurative-weight-of.html

Let’s talk sustenance

From the sublime to the more mundane, though, is something I’ve mentioned a few times: food and drink.

I’ve enjoyed Greek food here in the U.S. and was looking forward to trying it out in Greece. I’m please to report the food was every bit as good as hoped and even better. I only regret that I couldn’t eat more than I did, but the heat did affect my appetite somewhat. Still I sampled a lot of favorites, including Gyros, Souvlaki, Spanakopita, Dolmadakias (stuffed grape leaves), Falafel, and Moussaka, and only the Souvlaki wasn’t quite as good as I hoped. It seemed a bit dry to me. On the other hand, the Falafel was deliciously moist and flavorful. The lamb, sampled on several occasions, was always good.

Greek salad was delicious, although I’m still not a big fan of raw tomatoes. The feta was much, much better than any I’ve had in the U.S. and the salad usually came with either a huge slab of it or a generous sprinkling of cubes.

Gelato just is – there’s not much I can say beyond it’s just the best! Creamy, fruity, cold, refreshing, scrumptious! And then there were the pastries. They came in two varieties, sweet and savory. Both were good but the sweet ones were divine. Confession: I actually had a big slice of apple pie for breakfast one morning. Unfortunately I can’t eat Baklava (I’m allergic to tree nuts), which looked yummy, but milk and honey pies were my favorite.

Although I probably drank more water than anything else, several other drinks are worth talking about, starting with Greek coffee. Unlike cappuccino and most other ways of preparing it, Greek coffee is made by boiling the grounds in the water. It comes out thick and strong enough to make the spoon stand up. It’s not for everyone, but I love it, though I have to add a lot of sugar. Frappes are another popular coffee drink, involving less strong coffee with milk and sugar and served over ice.

One of the revelations of the trip was Lemon and Orange Fanta. It isn’t a soda I drink at home (I don’t drink any kind of soda much at all), but it’s everywhere there and understandably. Greek Fanta has a strong citrus flavor and isn’t as syrupy sweet as the stuff we get here. It’s surprisingly refreshing. Fresh squeezed orange juice is also a popular beverage, available pretty much everywhere. That’s not surprising since we saw quite a few orange trees loaded with fruit.

On the alcoholic beverage side my biggest discovery was the Aperol spritz. It’s alcohol content is low but the prosecco and soda water make it quite refreshing. Of course, there’s Ouzo, which is anything but light on the alcohol content. Its strong anice flavor isn’t for everyone. I like it, but I like licorice, too, and Ouzo is a lot like drinking your black licorice.

Food and drink tend to be among the highlights of most travel and in this case I can say they certainly were!

Another view of the beautiful blue water of the caldera.

Stopping in a café in Oia for refreshments. My frappe is in the foreground.

One of many feral cats who roam the area. This one was having a nap in the shade.

Another of the beautiful churches that give Oia much of its distinctive look.

Oia is beautiful but getting crowded.

Liz posing on a few rocks on the black beach.

Me posing on rocks on the black beach.

You can buy frozen cocktail popsicles at Perissa.

 

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Greece-Day 7-Santorini

 

Excavation at Akrotiri

I woke refreshed after a good night’s sleep and ready to take on the day. It began with the relatively long (about 25 minutes) drive from our place on the northern end of the island to the southern end where we paid a visit to the excavations of the ancient town of Akrotiri.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akrotiri_(Santorini)

Akrotiri was a Bronze-age Minoan settlement that was buried under tons of ash, dirt, and rock by the explosion of the volcano around 1600 B.C., which left a lot of it well-preserved. The good news for the inhabitants is that unlike Pompeii and Herculaneum, no human remains have been found, indicating there was enough time and warning for the residents to evacuate before disaster fell. However they left behind frescoes, mosaics, pottery and other works of art. Most of those are currently in other museums. We saw some of them in the National Archaeology museum in Athens.

The excavation covers the territory of a good-sized village. You come in at the top of the dig, which starts at the third story level of the buildings. A canopy has been built over the entire excavation to prevent damage from the elements. A walkway leads you around and then through the area excavated, going down to the next level for part of the journey. It takes some stretch of the imagination to visualize what the mostly bare stone walls and structures must have looked like, particularly when most of the artifacts and the few surviving frescoes have been removed to museums to ensure their preservation.

A few beautifully decorated pots were left on display.

However, you can clearly see some decorative stone lintels around doorways and windows; some gorgeously decorated amphorae have been left in place; and there are looped videos that show what some of the buildings would probably have looked like at the time of their use. These buildings were far from the crude stone huts one might think from the remains. Many of them were three stories tall. Interiors were built with wood paneling and decorated with extensively frescoed walls. Wood furniture was likely common, though it hasn’t survived the many years of being buried the way the stone has.

After Akrotiri, we headed to town of Imerovigli, the third town built on the cliff leading down into the caldera. It isn’t as big as Fira or Oia, but it’s just as charming. Refueled by a gelato break, we spent some time exploring the town on the cliff-top trail. From there we proceeded to Fira again,where we had a snack-type lunch break and got on with the serious business of souvenir and gift shopping.

The wines and snacks – all good!

Then it was on to the feature of the day, a wine tasting at the Santo Wines Vineyards (https://www.santowines.gr/en/). Santorini has a number of vineyards and wineries, with Santos being one of the bigger ones. It’s very much a tourist-focused place that is a popular venue for destination weddings.

We’d signed up for a tasting flight of five local Santorini crispy white wines along with snacks of small bread bites and mixed olives. I’ve always liked green olives, but I’ve never been a fan of the black ones. Still I ate quite a few there and enjoyed them. I’ll have to try some at home to decide whether my tastes have changed or the black olives were just better there. The wines were all delightful too, (including the one that was red rather than white, but still dry and crisp), but we pretty much agreed on our favorite, a light, refreshing white, the Athiri.

The gang at the wine tasting.

We were comfortably ensconced at a nice table on the rail overlooking the water. After spending a couple of hours over the wines and snacks, we decided to just stay put, order dinner, and enjoy the sunset from where we were. We lingered happily over shared trays of mixed salad, cheeses, and meats while watching yet another magnificent Santorini sunset.

As darkness fell and we shared a few deserts and the delicious Vinsanto dessert wine, we got a bonus. One of the weddings being held at the place put on a nice fireworks show for us. With the sun gone, the evening grew rapidly cooler. But the waiter brought us blankets to wrap up in so we could enjoy our dessert in comfort until we were ready to call it a day.

 

On the other side of the island

Watching the sea from the buggie

Excavation at Akrotiri

I’m particularly fascinated by the way complex houses emerge from the surrounding ash and dirt they were buried in.

This was probably some kind of workshop. Note the pots that are still partially buried toward the back.

 

Down a level inside the ruins.

Screen showing archaeologists’ and artists’ rendering of what the building behind might have looked like in its day.

Recreation of the interior of that same building, which was probably living quarters on the ground floor and some kind of workshop on the top.

Decorative slate floor is part of the original building.

Church in Imerovigli

Gelato at a Dessert Boutique that featured gorgeous sweet treats.

Stairs heading upward in Imerovigli.

Signpost on the cliff walk in Imerovigli. It says walking time to Fira (arrow pointing to the right) is 25 minutes. Time to Oia (the sign right below it) is 2 hours, 30 minutes.

The town of Imerovigli

Box lunch from a stand in Fira: Falafel, pita chips, olive paste, Greek salad. Note: Greek salads don’t include lettuce, rocket (arugula), spinach or anything else we’d consider salad greens. Best falafel I’ve ever tasted.

Entrance to Santo Wines

The wines and snacks

Finishing dinner as the sun descended

And yet another spectacular sunset.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Greece – Day 6 Santorini

Breakfast picnic on the rooftop

After a late night, we all slept late the next morning. Since we had no food in the AirBnB, a couple of people went out to a nearby bakery to bring back breakfast. They returned with a variety of pastries and drinks. We had a mid-morning picnic on the roof where we each sampled the various offerings. They were all good, but the winner by acclaim was a delicious milk and honey cake.

At one o’clock we were picked up by a van that would take us to the dock to catch the catamaran dinner cruise. Collecting the rest of the passengers took us all around the island. But we ended up at the dock, where we boarded the boat and set sail.

The day was very windy, which would come into play later in the trip, but the first couple of hours of the trip we stayed in sheltered waters. The views of the coast were extraordinary. Gigantic, awe-inspiring rock formations dipped down into the sea, with caves and niches in the rocks. We stopped just off-shore of the red-sand beach in a small cove. The sand was all formed from the erosion of a cliff full of iron-rich rock that loomed behind it.

Our captain guide told us the red beach was technically closed due to rock falls. One prominent large rock at the base had fall just a few days before and he pointed out a large crack running vertically down the cliff that would eventually split off. Nonetheless, a group of people were on the beach, which meant they had walked down a long, steep path to brave the possibility of avalanche. We were anchored well off the coast for a swim. (Confession: I didn’t swim. Just wasn’t up to it at that point.)

Liz and I on the boat

A second swimming area was off a white beach, where those who wanted to try snorkeling were given the option. Then they fed us a wonderful dinner, with grilled chicken or pork, salad, dolmades, pasta, and a great shrimp in tomato sauce.

A little while after that we were warned that we were leaving the sheltered waters and would hit rougher surf. And it did get rough with roller coaster type ups and downs. I got queasy. The crew gave me something medicinal in the form of a chewing gum. It did help settle my stomach but it also made me very sleepy and I ended up napping through the next hour so I missed the hot springs.

(The surf was so bad that the next day the boats weren’t allowed to go out at all.)

I woke in time to watch another fabulous Santorini sunset from the boat, positioned beautifully to frame the setting sun between a couple of rocky islands. We docked shortly after that and the van took us back to the AirBnB. The others went to dinner but I was too exhausted to be interest in eating, so I went to bed.

Random Observations:
– I think I need to swear off cruises that involve any ocean sailing. I seem to attract bad weather. I don’t have a lot of trouble with motion sickness in general, but rough waves do make me seasick.
– The crew of this Sunset-Oia boat was amazingly patient, kind, helpful, and informative. It was a fantastic way to see the island, along with great food, swimming, and snorkeling. Even with the queasiness, I’d do it again, but I’d hope for better weather.

The whole group on the boat

The red beach; you can see a rock fall on the right.

Extraordinary rock formations

 

 

The lighthouse at Akrotiri

More extraordinary rock formations

Oia from off shore. The place we had dinner the night before is on the right-hand side of the shore. You can see part of the stairs we came down zig-zagging down the cliff.

Another fabulous sunset from the boat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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