The cruise brochure shows white-washed buildings of Santorini, capped in bright blue and overlooking the sapphire sea below.

The cruise brochure does not show the donkeys.

After spending our first full day on the cruise at sea, Joey and I were anxious to explore our first stop: Santorini.  But when we hopped off the ferry from the ship to the shore, over 600 donkey shit-covered steps stood between us and the picturesque town atop the hill.

There exists a cable car along the steep volcanic rock, but the line of would-be passengers wound around the port and under the powerful July sun.  We only had a few hours in port, so we opted to avoid the waiting and baking and brave the hike.  What we didn’t realize was that several hundred smelly-ass donkeys would be making the climb with us.

Each of the 600 steps involved avoiding the donkey shit, avoiding the donkeys producing said shit, and avoiding arriving at the top smelling like shit.  Massive.  Fail.

Herds of 10-20 donkeys ran in every direction up and down the steps, carrying powerless, flailing tourists or old Greek men with little whips.  While we sweated up the hill, the asses and the shit coming out of their asses monopolized the stairs and relegated us to hugging the wall in order to avoid being trampled.

By the time we arrived at the top, the bottom of my poor new sandals were caked in shit and hay.  Joey had sweat through his shirt and shorts and gone was my cute little side braid and attempt at make-up.  The amount of sweat streaming down my back, from under my boobs and in between my thighs was enough to cause some seriously uncomfortable chaffing.  

Hot.  Mess,

But we found the first bar, drank a cool, refreshing cocktail and made the most of our day.  We gorged on tasty gyros, shopped for cheesy curios and soaked in the incredible view.  We searched for the angle from which we could take the ubiquitous snapshot of Santorini’s blue domes, and Joey even scaled some of those white-washed walls with my camera to find the perfect shot (which then involved hiding from a Greek Orthodox priest and his congregation as they processed past my husband standing on some roof…).

The sun set on Santorini and it was time to catch our ride.  We went back down the way we came up, my anxiety of dodging donkeys and shit augmented by my lack of coordination and fear of tumbling down the hill.  At least the only hot part on the way down was the shower I savored as soon as we reached the boat.

Here's the link to the rest of my pictures from Santorini:  https://picasaweb.google.com/100586084762366858227/Santorini?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCIejjbeqiMrbPA&feat=directlink