This was our second visit to Santorini. When we first were here in March, 1992 it was a quieter place. We had arrived about 5am on the ferry from Piraeus, were dog-tired and took a shuttle bus from the dock up to the main town of Fira. This time we arrived on a luxury cruise ship, anticipating recalling happy memories of the place. Of course, much has changed in 21 years. Santorini is on the “must stop” list on cruise ship itineraries, a cable-car now whisks travelers up and down the hillside to town and the primary streets of Fira are packed with people ogling the T-shirts, jewelry and other required items for the tourists to show the folks back home.
But, the island still has charm and I’m sure, from a material standpoint, life is much better for the 11,000 or so people who live here. Prosperity has enabled Santorini to improve the facilities at its primary archaeological site, Akrotiri. Money, generated by tourism, has enabled the islanders to improve education, with over 90% qualifying to enter university. Apparently, local agriculture is even making a comeback as it attracts tourists to sample local produce. So, while Santorini was, of course, not the same place we visited in 1992, it was still beautiful and, yes, romantic.
|Ruins of Ancient Akrotiri|