Jun 2:  Iraklion to Santorini

We had a 9:45am ferry to Santorini.  I'd intended to skip breakfast to get some sleep (5 hr), but Gabriel called my room and said this was the best breakfast ever.

Evidently they were out of Hamburg-style sandwiches, and the schnitzeled meat in the manner of Wien that I had for lunch yesterday.

I felt OK today despite the growing toll of lack of sleep.  I realized that I was out of it (timing was off...not just comedically but in general communication) for a day and a half, but I got back on track with the raki yesterday afternoon.  And a Coke I had before that.  After all these years of travelling (well, 7 years) I keep underestimating my caffeine requirement.

The ferry to Santorini was a bit over 2 hours.  We're staying in Perissa on the southeast shore.  When I checked into my room I saw a lizard on my balcony.

I checked the Internet very briefly at the hotel.  The Untouchables got Jay Bruce for $41.  That might relegate me to no higher than 3rd place now.

Most of us took a public bus to Fira, the main town on the island, and the one known for its whitewashed houses.

Classic Santorini pic.


We looked for a place for lunch.  Everything in Fira is ridiculously expensive, but we settled on this place.

I believe this was the first instance in which someone got up to take a group photo and at least one other person, oblivious, got up and wandered off.

For lunch I had a very difficult tuna sandwich.  It was tasty (though the lack of mayonnaise was a surprise), but was on a long hard piece of bread gushing with tuna and olive oil so I couldn't pick it up, and there was too much stuff in it so I couldn't slice it, plus if I tried to slice it I'd cut the napkin that should not have been laid (lay? lain?) under the sandwich, because all chopped up and soaked with oil it was indistinguishable from the other sandwich components.  Not fun.  Worst experience with a meal since Curly and the soup.

I had nothing at all planned for Fira other than walking around and looking at things, so I made this my day for resting my brain and watching girls shop, which happens on every tour.  I'm used to it.  I tagged along with Gloria and Rosalie for a while, taking pics along the way.

Artsy-fartsy.  Uh huhuh..."art".

Labyrinthine street.  I didn't take enough of these shots.

More art/fart.  Right at this spot I got a low-battery warning.  So I put in my Energizer batteries, but they gave a "change batteries" error.  Not even the low-battery icon.  I think that happens when the voltage gets too low after several recharges.  I thought Energizer was the longest-lasting battery you can buy?

Most of the group reassembled for the 5:15pm bus back to Perissa.  I concluded that Fira is the only place I've ever been where the crowdedness and expensiveness annoyed even me.  As a noted scientist, it'd be a bit surprising if a town blinded ME with crowdedness and expensiveness.  And science.  OK, I guess I don't see how this would be surprising.

Don't know why I wrote this in the journal here, but there are so many injured animals in Greece.  The cat with the broken front paw in Loutro, and the dog with the bad paw when we were waiting for the bus to Fira, for example.  They don't worry about injuries the way humans do, though.  They adapt and move on.  It's part of life.  They don't get all uneasy about it like we do.

On the way from the bus stop to the hotel I bought a bottle of retsina, which is a wine made from fermented pine resin.  Pine's good.  I was led to think it would have a distinctive taste like pinecones, but it tasted like regular drab white wine.  I sat out by the pool at the hotel with half the group and drank some of it, and wrote this journal entry.

The shower in the hotel alternates between very hot and cold.  You have to hold the shower head away from you and direct it on yourself only during the comfortable part of the ~20-second cycle.

At 7:30pm we took the minibus to Santo Wines for wine-tasting.  My favorite was a raisin wine, which is technically a white wine because it's made from white grapes even though it's darker in color.  Many in the group didn't like it, but I've always been a fan of wines like Beaujolais, which is richer and fruitier.  The goal was to watch the sunset here, but it was a bit hazy and this is the best pic I got:

I haven't alluded to the geography of Santorini yet, so I should.  In 1625 BC a volcanic eruption blew away most of the island (and created a tidal wave that destroyed Knossos).  Most of the water you see here was once land.  Most of what remains is a crescent-shaped island (on which Perissa, Fira, Oia and almost everything else of note is located), plus the far island you see here which was once the western edge, plus the middle island which contains the still-active volcanic crater.

After wine-tasting the girls were complaining that no romance had developed on this tour.  Uh!  I made a mental gesture of self-presentation.  Past the halfway point you need to start lowering your standards to include comedians.  Speaking of, the acoustics at this place and the arrangement of tables and chairs were very familiar...I felt like I should have had a microphone in my hand.  People have been asking me to perform material, but I keep explaining that a 4-5 minute set requires 1-2 hours of "rehearsing", which I'm not going to have time for on this tour.

I passed by Dawn's table and she mentioned "Luckenbach, Texas".  Whoa.  That was on the 1981 album Urban Chipmunk.  I say whoa because last night someone in the Group of Six cited "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys", which was also covered on Urban Chipmunk.  Joey Lawrence whoa.

After this we went to dinner at Seņor Zorba, a short walk away.  A Mexican restaurant in case we're getting tired of Greek food and giant salads.  Just like on the web site, "Guantanamera" was playing in the restaurant.  I remember the parody song "One Ton Tomato" and still don't know if it was something WIP came up with or if it was more widespread.  It's at the bottom of my list of things to look up.  I had a chicken chimi of course (regular refried beans, no blueberries) and two margaritas.  Very, very good.

Dinner took us to 10:30pm, at which point the minibus took us back to Perissa.  This would be an off night from partying, which I could really use.  Dinner was not rowdy at all.  I think we were all tired and needed to recharge.  Bed 12am.