Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Santorini, Greece – Day 6

Spectacular Santorini -- scene of one of the world's most violent volcanic eruptions around 1450 B.C. -- is arguably the most scenically dramatic of all the Greek Islands. Best views are from the cliffs bordering the caldera, which was formed when the centre of the island basically collapsed in onto itself. It's worth remembering that the bay surrounding Santorini is actually the world's largest volcanic crater, created 3,500 years ago by a massive eruption of the Thera volcano (which is still active!). I was amazed to see how much this area has changed just in the very recent history.

We did a ship excursion where we were picked up from the ship and taken by boat to Erina Cove. From there we hiked up the path of volcanic sand and lava fragments to the summit of the crater. Along the way we saw steam and sulfur coming from the side of a crater and lots of black rock from the last eruption.

After hiking down we boarded the boat again and set sail for the thermal springs of Palea Kameni. We anchored and were allowed to swim about 50 meters to the thermal springs. The water was only around 70 degrees when we jumped in but it felt great after the hot hike!

We did a little souvenir shopping on the pier before taking the tender (small boat) back to our cruise ship. After lunch, and a short nap for the adults, we started getting dressed for the final formal night on board.