The cruise lifestyle and me hit a low point on Santorini. This is because this island is so beautiful, so magical, that a mere day on it just isn’t enough. I almost feel like I can say I saw it but have never actually been there because of the frantic pace we saw the thing at.
When your boat arrives at Santorini, it’s hard not to feel amazement at the gigantic cliffs on the harbor side, with houses precariously perched on top…
The view from the top is quite a sight too!
Ok, here you can see where the cliffs come from. Basically Santorini is what remains of a giant volcano that exploded a few thousand years ago, and the cliffs is where the island collapsed into the sea. The island in this middle is what new lava the volcano has pushed up since (no danger now we’re told, though smoke was last seen in the 1950s), and Santorini and two other smaller islands are what remain of the giant caldera’s outside. Very neat to see geology on a huge scale like this!
Very neat to see what people do when given an old volcanic cliff with a view too- it’s hard to believe one earthquake wouldn’t send some of the houses on the cliff tumbling into the sea. But let’s think about something else instead while standing here, shall we?
Like the possibility that Atlantis was on Santorini! As it turns out, Santorini was home to one of the most spectacular prehistoric civilizations on what is the outer (ie non-cliff) northern rim of the island, a place called Akrotiri. They had things like beautiful art and running water thousands of years before anyone else did, but this all ended around 1600 B.C. when the volcano erupted and destroyed the town a la Pompeii. They curiously never found bodies- the theory is the mountain gave enough advance warning so the people had enough time to get onto boats, but not enough time that the resulting tsunami didn’t destroy them all as they never show up later in the record. What a fascinating story.
They’re still excavating the site ~40 years after discovering it, so I suppose I’ll have to wait and see it for myself instead of just the museum pieces. Maybe then I’ll spend enough time to say I’ve seen Santorini?