We were in Santorini today for the last time. My ship is repositioning to the Caribbean next month and for some reason we aren’t doing the usual laps around the Mediterranean this month. Just as well, because it’s starting to get cold in Greece.
Seeing that it was my last time here, I was eager to do all the things I had been planning to do in Santorini but hadn’t gotten around to. Like ride an ATV around the island, as in Mykonos. Or eat a gyro, like I had done in Rhodes.
And ride a donkey because how often can you say you rode a donkey up a hill?
Our tender boat took us to the base of Fira, the main town which is situated on the top of the volcanic island. Now, there are only three ways to get to the top; walk up the 568 steps, take a cable car or ride a donkey. Seeing that I’ve tried walking and the cable car, it was donkey time. I’m not quite sure why I hadn’t considered the donkey option earlier – it’s not like I’m afraid of donkeys. Maybe it’s because I felt a little bad for them. It looks like a mind-numbing job and I’m not even sure if they get a decent cut of the 5 euros it costs.
Anyway, the three of us walked over to the donkey-rental man. He was an old man, who was either in character or really enjoyed dressing like a Greek farmer. We handed him the money and he shouted at a donkey to come over. A bit rude, if you asked me. I climbed on my donkey and off I went. I mean, it’s not rocket science – it’s just like riding a semi-retarded horse.
I decided that my donkey should be called Amy. Amy and I went up the hill, followed closely by my two friends on their individual donkeys. It was fun but slow. Really slow. Seriously, I watched a malnourished cat overtake us.
Suddenly, one of my friends’ donkey broke down. And by broke down, I mean it decided to defecate on the steps, then urinate, then stare blankly into space. I think it was embarrassed and thought that if it didn’t move, no one would notice. Oh, we noticed. By the way, donkey poops smells horrible. It consists mostly of straw – unfortunately it’s still straw that came out of a donkey’s ass.
My friend had to change donkeys and we continued on our merry way. One thing about donkeys is they seem to enjoy frequent stops to rest and day-dream. This probably explains why that young girl I saw last time was sobbing, while she rode her donkey up the hill. At the time, I thought that she was just being a princess. But perhaps she had spent hours on that donkey and had been suffering from hemorrhoids.
Anyway, we finally got to the top and I managed to park my donkey. It was quite an experience but perhaps not a mode of transport I would utilize if I were in a rush. In fact, we had spent so much time on the donkey ride that we no longer had time to rent ATVs.
So instead we got some gyros and coffee, which was delicious (and tastier than the Turkish equivalents).