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We awake and Reflection is already anchored in the Caldera at Santorini. We have been here many times before but the sight of the high sided cliffs with the white buildings of Fira and Oia in the distance still look spectacular. The brand new Majestic Princess is moored alongside us as well as Costa Classica who we last saw in Mykonos a few days ago.
We decide to breakfast in the main dining room. One of the few grumbles I have about this ship is that the tables for two are so close together as to be almost touching. Fine if the couple on either side are friendly but even then I am not at my best first thing in the morning. It takes a few coffees to turn me from Hyde to Jekyll. We both order Eggs Benedict which take a while to come but is worth the wait in my opinion.
Our plan today is to go ashore late morning to avoid the early morning rush and come back fairly early to avoid the same. Peter has hired one of the Lawn Clubs Alcoves for the day and so we head up to the top deck to relax for the rest of the morning. The Alcoves are private little cabanas with two lounge chairs, a chaise lounge and table. There is a retractable canopy that staff will open if shade is needed. We spend the morning reading in the alcove and at around 11.30am we head ashore.
There is a tender boat waiting when we go down to deck 2 and we are soon heading toward the old port at the base of the cliffs below Fira. Our theory about avoiding the crowds is dashed as there is a 20 min wait for the cable car. The other option is to take a mule up or walk. We wait for the cable car. Soon we are ascending rapidly towards Fira where we alight into a sea of tourists. We head down some small narrow streets to find a bar that overlooks the Caldera. We look at the menu and are astonished at the prices. €10 for a small beer. We order anyway and are even more shocked when we are charged €28 for two. We voice our disapproval but the young lad that serves us tell us not to get annoyed with him as he is just serving. We leave in a huff.
We decide to lunch up here and before leaving the UK I had researched a few tavernas and one called Theoni’s was well recommended on TripAdvisor. It was a little off the beaten track but it turned out to be well deserving of its reputation. Good service, good food and very reasonably priced. We enjoyed one of the best Greek Salads of the trip. We even enjoyed a nice local wine.
We then decided to head back to the cable car to head back down. Before we had got anywhere near the entrance to the cable cars we saw a long line of people snaking down the narrow streets that we judged would take 90mins to reach the entrance where you board. We did have plenty of time but we just didn’t want to wait in line for that long. So we decided to walk down. That was an adventure. A broad stepped pathway winds down the cliff face in a series of steep sharp switchbacks. I am sure mountain goats would find the terrain arduous and I was doing it in flip-flops. We were met on the way by numerous teams of mules carrying tourists up. The mules didn’t really seem to notice or care for us and so we had to dive out of their way on many occasion all the while avoiding their natural deposits that added not only another treacherous obstacle but also a pungent odour. Am happy to say we made it down in about 20mins without any missteps. Jelly legs at the end though.
Once back onboard we showered and headed back to our Alcove where we spend the rest of the afternoon. We ordered a fruit plate and some chicken skewers using our own personal phone in the cabana. Soft drinks and beers were also delivered with a smile. Reflection raised anchor just after 6pm and we made a slow exit out of the Caldera and sailed westward before turning northwesterly towards Athens.
We were back in the main dining room at Opus again tonight. The table next to us was occupied by a friendly couple from New Jersey and we swapped tales of our day in a Santorini. Our menu choices tonight were not the best. The Mesclun Greens we both ordered was a bit meh. My Beef Bourguignon was really tasty though. Desserts were ok. We managed a couple of drinks afterwards but both wanted an early night and so we retired to the cabin.