I will preface by saying I’ve never been suckered into touristy activities that involved animals. No trekking through Sri Lanka on Elephants, no visiting so-called tiger sanctuaries in Thailand to pet potentially drugged felines. So the fact that I rode on a donkey on the Santorini Cliffs is a shocking surprise to me.
So why did I say yes, okay let’s do this? Possibly because I had nearly finished a large stein of Mythos beer when Violet sweetly pleaded for this rare opportunity. Or perhaps because the donkeys’ owner struck a very budget friendly deal with me. Regardless I said yes and soon enough we were are all straddling donkeys, gripping tightly to the saddles, heading down a very steep cliff. It was terrifying and ever so amusing! My mama rode ahead of me wobbling side to side. Violet on the donkey with me, had a plastered grin, a mix of fear and joy, while Leo on his own donkey rode as if he was riding a Budweiser Clydesale. Let this be the only time I use animals for our entertainment and amusement.
We stayed about a 15-minute walk from the center of Fira. It was very crowded and overly commercialized for my taste. While the views were stunning and the sunsets not to shabby either, having come from the intimate and whimsical island of Naxos, Santorini, just did not have my heart.
On the plus side, the island has a very efficient public transportation; the local bus system was a game changer for us. We were not confided to our cave home in Fira, we had the freedom to explore the island.
We chose to visit different beaches, specifically Kamari, Perivolos and Perissa, and were delighted to find that each beach was lined with sun chairs and umbrellas. Neither my mother nor I are big swimmers or sunbathers so it was nice to sit back in the shaded chairs with a cold one, watching Violet and Leo play in the black volcanic sand.
On our last day we visited Oui, in retrospect this is where we should have stayed. More of my style, cleaner and classier. No hen parties, or pulsating night clubs. However it is at the very north end of the island. Getting there requires a steep and winding bus ride, not pleasant. Not sure how keen I would have been to venture to other parts of the island knowing this curvy and narrow ride awaited us.