Monday 5 Nov, 2012

Greek Islands – Nibbling Fish, Donkeys and the Traveling Pants

After visiting Mykonos, Turkey and Patmos on my Greek cruise this past summer, the next port of call was the Island of Rhodes. Here, I took a bus tour to the town of Lindos. Lindos dates back to the 4th century BC. The town itself is built around an acropolis, upon which stand the ruins of temples and looks over the crystal clear turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea. Lindos is also famous for St. Paul’s bay. Here the apostle was shipwrecked and continued to spread Christianity. After touring the acropolis, I enjoyed a relaxing stroll through the narrow, steep, tourist lined streets. Here, I was greeted with the smells of fresh crepes, coffee and other culinary goodies. I bought a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice made with locally grown oranges. After returning to the port, everyone enjoyed a leisure afternoon of shopping and relaxing at the various cafés and coffee shops of Rhodes.

Laurie Frey Dr Fish

“Doctor Fish” on the Isle of Crete. I had to stop laughing long enough for the picture to be snapped!

The next day we docked briefly on the Isle of Crete. Here, I did not sign up for any tours, instead I just took a walk to the market area. Here, I saw a sign for “Doctor Fish” and decided to give it a try. For approximately $15 I was treated to one of the most bizarre and silly things I think I have ever put my feet through. I sat with my feet in a tank of tiny fish and let them nibble away. The little fish are supposed to nibble the dead skin off your feet and make you feel rejuvenated, but instead, just caused me to laugh and giggle hysterically. I handed my camera to the girl working there and had to take a few deep breaths to compose myself before she snapped the picture. If I did not look down, it just felt like little bubbles in the water, but if I looked down and saw the fish actually eating at my feet, it was a little weird. The entire treatment only last about 15 minutes, which was plenty. Wandering on through the market I saw tropical fruits for sale, along with more colorful scarves, dresses and purses and even ducked in an old Greek Orthodox Church to cool off.

Back on the Louis Olympia Cruise Ship, I was getting more excited because I knew our last port of call was going to be the best. Santorini is where the movie “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” was filmed. I had only seen on TV the amazing scenery that I would get to witness in just a few hours. As we were approaching Santorini, the cruise director told us to go up on the deck and watch for the scenery to unfold. Santorini is surrounded by a caldera, which means that thousands of years ago a volcano erupted and caused part of the island to collapse into the sea. There is no dock for the ships, so they must drop anchor way out in the caldera and passengers must be tendered in. As we got closer to the island, the water got deeper and bluer. Tiny white houses way on top of the cliffs soon became visible. Besides “Sisterhood…,” I was also reminded of the movie “Mama Mia.”

Oia, Santorini

The beautiful Village of Oia, Santorini

After a short tender ride, I was on my way to the village of Oia. The winding, curving ride up the side of the island normally would have made me sick, but I just sat back and took in the scenery of the most spectacular bus ride of my life. After about 45 minutes of going through several small towns with flower lined streets and white houses with purple, pink or blue shutters, we finally arrived in Oia. Here, white washed houses and blue roofs and blue domed churches appear to be built right into the cliffs that lead to the indigo water below. Artists line the street selling paintings and photos of this romantic village. In the approximately 90 minutes we had there I walked from one end of the village to the other trying to take it all in. Just when I thought I had witnessed the most captivating scene; I would round a corner and see an even more stunning photo opportunity. Below, I watched some tourists riding donkeys up a steep, narrow, winding path. I was happy to watch from above, as the tourists appeared to be hanging on for dear life to their new hoofed friends. Santorini was the best and prettiest of the Greek islands, but unfortunately we had the least time there. It was still worth it. That evening, back on the ship, I breathed in the salty sea air and witnessed a florescent pink and orange sunset. Tomorrow we would be returning to the dry, hot mainland and the islands would only be a memory.

(Editor’s note: Laurie Frey has been on 6 EF Tours and enjoys how EF has plenty of structured activities and tours, but yet allows adequate freetime to explore the tourist spots.  She work as a school social worker in Illinois and first got involved with EF Tours by tagging along with the Spanish teachers and students from her school district.  She believes that each trip is an eye opening experience in which one can grow and learn something about the world. She always keeps a journal when she travels, mostly so she can remember the details about the places she has been. )