DSC05630We left the port and zig-zagged our way up (and I do mean UP) to our hotel in Fira. Fira (Fee-air-uh) is the largest city on Santorini. Both Fira and Ia (or Oia, both spellings pronounced Eye-uh) are literally perched on the top, and clinging to the edge, of the massive cliff. DSC05627

It gave me the willies to look down as our bus wound its way up the side of the cliff, and I wasn’t feeling all that more secure standing in the one of the picturesque restaurants for dinner that night, either! But take a closer look at that photo on the right. Click on it to see the true depth of this caldera!

DSC05586Naturally, since the city was built on the brink of the drink, so to speak, there were steps and stairs everywhere! Slippery shale-like stones, irregularly spaced, threatened to trip me up at every turn. Thankfully, I never did take a tumble (knock wood!) but there were some close calls!

The walkway along the uppermost shopping area is fairly flat, and there you’ll find the entrance to one of the largest Greek Orthodox Churches on the island. A gentleman sat on the low retaining wall and continuously played the mandolin while tourists tossed coins onto the small blanket spread in front of him. DSC05576

I sat next to him, and as he played, I quietly asked, “Is ‘Zorba the Greek’ the only song you know?” In perfect, unaccented English, he replied, “It’s what the tourists want to hear.” I laughed, and dropped some money onto his blanket. At the end of the song, he winked at me and started playing ‘Mama Mia.’ I laughed again, and gave him a few more coins.

DSC05593Our “farewell dinner” was pushed up a couple days, to accommodate the weather for our delayed Sunset Dinner Cruise, and we climbed out and down into one of a dozen small restaurants with an amazing view crowded along the walkway.DSC05613

We enjoyed a Greek salad, naturally, and what they told us was fried Greek sardines. The main course was fish—as in a whole fish—and crisp-cooked vegetables and rice. Dessert was a small scoop of gelato.

DSC05611We finished eating as the sun descended on other islands in this group, the Cyclades, and climbed back up and over the rim by moon and streetlight. A beautiful ending to a very long day. But on vacation, aren’t they all?!DSC05618