On our one sunny day though we took the bus from Oia where we were staying to Fira where the cruise ships dock. We walked down the long trek to the port, ate lunch and then rode the donkeys back up. It was cheap entertainment and also fun!
The best part about Greece though, we decided, is the people. They are hands down the happiest and friendliest we've encountered. The whole country was actually striking while we were there, protesting the austerity measures being considered by their near bankrupt government. The strike created travel delays and large piles of trash everywhere, but it didn't seem to negatively impact anyone's mood. Wilder was particularly enamored with the airline stewardess that kept giving him chocolate. We were all a little amped up having already discovered our plane out to the island was a prop.
I know I've already given out the award for the world's nicest vacation home owner, but I'm going to have to recant as Matina in Santorini surely deserves the title. When she found out our plan was to take the bus from the airport she insisted on picking us up (she also drove us to the port when we departed.) Our delayed flight didn't arrive until almost 10pm, but upon arrival at the villa she pulled a homemade Pastichia (sort of like a greek lasagna) out of the oven and whipped us up a fresh greek salad to go with (we ate these pretty much daily while in Greece). She had also left enough food for several days. I am not exaggerating here - there was milk, wine, bread, ham, cheese, cake, yogurt, honey and the biggest fruit basket you've ever seen. She also offered us her personal car to drive around the island (we declined for fear of damaging it.) She even had a parting gift for us. Our gift to her was help setting up a blog for her beautiful Sunlight Villa. The last photo in this series is of the family giving me a standing ovation for securing this amazing accommodation. It's so nice to feel appreciated!
The villa also came complete with a begging cat that didn't care for milk, I discovered, but loved ham!
Here are more pics of beautiful Oia (pronounced ee-a), a nice shot of Peyton, and a rare one of all four of us together. I'm having a harder and harder time getting anyone to pose for a picture these days. Usually when I point the camera their way they cover their face or run away.
After four days we tore ourselves away from Santorini and took the ferry to Crete. There we had a restored villa in the Turkish section of the old port town of Chania. Our favorite part was the roof top patio where we would eat our meals and overlook the city and, in the distance, also the sea.
One of the most interesting things about Crete and even Chania in particular is that it has existed as a city for over 5000 years. That's a little hard to wrap your brain around. We saw lots and lots of ceramics etc. that date from 3000 BC.
On Saturday we went to the weekly market. It seemed like everyone in Crete was there. And once again they were so nice. Mark bought a jar of what we hoped was tomato sauce from one woman (it wasn't.) She was very happy and proud to tell him she made it. I bought green beans to go with our planned spaggetti dinner. We also ate what turned out to be pork chop on a stick from a street vendor. Not a bad breakfast for 1 euro. We also shopped in the central market and made lots of home cooked meals to try and save some money. Some were good - some not :(
One day when Mark and Peyton weren't feeling great Wilder and I took a glass bottom boat trip out of the harbor. Wilder snorkeled and the captain found an octopus and attached to his shoulder. I was kind of freaking out because Wilder kept swimming back and forth underneath the boat - luckily he didn't get stuck.
Next we fly to Athens where we will meet up with my parents (yay!) and board our Eastern Mediteranian cruise. We booked this cruise before we left home, primarily because it will give us a few days in Israel and Egypt. We will also have two Grecian ports and one in Turkey. At the end of 12 days we dock in Rome and spend the night before heading to London to catch our plane to East Africa. We have a small problem though that we will have to solve first. Somehow we've managed to misplace the ziplock baggy containing our antimalarial meds (also the antidiareahals but that isn't quite as important.) The current plan is to try to find a travel clinic in London that can replace them, as going without isn't really an option.
We are all looking forward to seeing my parents. I in particular am happy to be moving on to a portion of our trip where I can just follow the leader (the cruise and then our safari). Independent travel involves a lot of decision making and right now I'm tired of making them.