We met up with the 3 bridesmaids on the one day for a boat trip, it departed from the old port in Fira, so we met up in Fira and took the many steps down to the port. It was an experience. Not one I would like to repeat ever… but an experience none the less. The steps were cobbled which made for a very uneven, downhill walking experience, which is always fun when you are trying to dodge donkey poop. But worst of all were the donkeys. No shade. No water. No respite. No space. And despite all standing there looking dehydrated and exhausted, people were actually riding them back up! I was horrified.
Needless to say, we took the cable car back up the cliff on the way back up, as someone who’s exceedlingly fearful of these things, I can honetsly say, it wasn’t that bad. It was over very quickly, and it wasn’t too unpleasant. Well not until Bruce stood up to take a photo and I completely flipped out. heheh
Anyhow, we got down to the port, the boat turned up, we got on and sat inside… some relief from the sunshine. We got taken straight to Palea Kameni so we could use the hot springs. I didn’t go in, I had done my research – you aren’t there for long, the water is about 28 degrees Celsius, which is cooler than the ideal temperature for a baby’s bath, it smells of sulphur and it stains. Bruce, however, went in and enjoyed himself. But it really was a short trip.
Then we sailed to Nea Kameni, which is the active volcano, visible from the caldera side of the island. We went up, there is a fee of 2 euros per person to go up the volcano. You must take water with you, it gets very hot as it’s an active volcano, plus there’s no shade and you are walking on black volcanic stone and sand.
We didn’t make it all the way to the top, but we’d gone far enough that we could see the kids were struggling (but even they wanted to continue up). We headed down and stopped under a cabana almost at the bottom to rehydrate, re-motivate ourselves and take 5. Here we saw a few lizards and got some tranquillity.
Once back on the boat, we had decided it was a given that we weren’t walking back up the steps, and we sure as hell weren’t paying to ride a dying, dehydrated donkey. So it was settled. I had to face a fear and ride in a cable car. And I have to admit, fear aside. It was a reasonably priced, fast and suitable alternative to getting back to the top (the only other option really was to charter a boat to take us to a more accessible are of the island away from Fira – but that felt a little extreme).
Though we enjoyed getting to see the sights and say we walked up a volcano, I am not sure we’d pay to do that excursion again, when we could do a sunset cruise or a day long cruise with snorkelling and swimming. But it was definitely one of those things you have to say you did, at least once.