I had always wanted to see Greece since it was one of the few places in the Mediterranean I had never visited.
However, after visiting Athens and the surrounding area for a few days, we ventured on a weeks cruise that was one of the most beautiful we have ever taken. We had been sailing the Aegean Sea for a few days and had ported in a number of the islands that had left us spellbound to their beauty. But after an all night sailing, we had been told that this day would be the highlight of the trip as we visit Santorini. Well, from the sea you won't confuse Santorini with any of the other islands of the Cyclades.
As we came within view of the island we saw the most a spectacular harbor that's part of the enormous crater formed when a volcano blew out the island's center around 1450 B.C. In short, this is physically one of the most spectacular islands in the world. Santorini's cliff-faced crescent isle graces tourist brochures and posters in Greek restaurants the world over. The real wonder is that Santorini itself meets and exceeds all glossy picture-postcard expectations. Like an enormous mandible, Santorini encloses the pure blue waters of its crater. Even their whitewashed houses from a distance resembles a dusting of new snow on the mountaintop.
To this day, some scholars speculate that the destruction gave birth to the myth of the lost continent of Atlantis.
As we approached the island by tenders little of the city actually shows above the cliff tops but a string of white villages looking like teeth on the vast lower jaw of some monster. Still, the island was called Kállisti, "Loveliest," when it was first settled, and today hordes of visitors find its mix of vaulted cliff-side architecture, European elegance, and stunning sunsets irresistible.
Since the houses and shops are all on the top at more than 400 feet we had three options to get to the top after landing in the port; walking over 400 steps up a winding way, ride donkeys up the same way, or to take a cable car up. After some cool discussions with our wives, my friend Richard and I had been vetoed out by our wives, so we took the cable car from the port to the top of mountain. Even above the screams we had a beautiful ride.
After a long day on this fabulous island, the gals sorted their buys, discussed where they had shopped, and feared the ride back down. I can still remember the way they held their breath all the way down with an occasional “O-o-o!”
The boats back to the ship were waiting and after a long tiring day we gladly boarded after buying our tourist hats that said, “Santorini.” I am still trying to pronounce it correctly.
Back aboard the ship we rushed to the main deck, found chairs, and watched the western sun on the houses atop the island. My how they glistened as the sun began to set. As the darkness began to cover the area we looked west to see the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen. I have always wanted to impact and leave such a ray of light to some sojourner.
Was it the lost city of Atlantis? I doubt it.
But there is a city yet to come whose builder and maker is God that has a beauty that will far surpass what I remember of this marvelous island.
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.”