The summer of 2007 my family and I traveled to the Mediterranean Sea. My mother, father, uncle, aunt, cousin and I were on a cruise that stopped along popular ports such as Barcelona, Dubrovnik, and Rome. However, the most memorable day of this European expedition was our day in Santorini, Greece.
We rode on a small boat from the cruise to the dock of the beautiful and famous Santorini. We never expected that in order to reach the town, which is where most of the sightseeing would be, we had to go up a monstrously big and very steep hill. We had two options: we could walk or we could ride a donkey.
I don’t believe I have ever laughed more in my life, than I did when I rode my donkey, named Anita. My cousin Christian and I decided that we were going to have a donkey race, up the hill. This resulted in a few minor disasters. Between blowing kisses to our donkeys to make them move a little bit faster, and leaning forward in hopes that maybe our body weight helped them move forward a little quicker I lost a flip flop, and my cousin dropped his camera. Although I never saw my flip flop after that day, my cousin got off of his donkey, retrieved his camera and then could not get his donkey to stop so that he could get back on him. Finally after our mini adventures riding to the top of the hill, we reached the top and said goodbye to our donkeys.
Four wheelers were our next source of transportation. This gave us complete liberty to travel the island as we pleased. It was beautiful to be able to see not only the touristic sites of Santorini, but also the normal day-to-day places. While we rode around the small island on our four wheelers we met a family who invited us to see their family chapel. According to them, each family in Santorini has their own chapel that they maintain and take care of. This particular chapel was dome shaped. It had an intricate mosaic tile design on the ceiling, and crÃ¨me colored clay walls. In place of glass windows, there were wooden shutters painted a turquoise blue which matched the shutters and doors of the rest of the island. This small chapel was one of the most peaceful and beautiful places I had ever been to.
Most places of business in Santorini were family owned, and were also small and humble. The restaurant we had lunch at was practically a hole in the wall, but they made the best gyros I have ever eaten in my life. The owner of the restaurant personally took our order and served us our lunch. He was a very sweet man that spoke broken English, but never the less he continued conversation with us. He explained to us that he lived on the second story of the restaurant with his wife, and had lived in Santorini his entire life.
This was the trip of a lifetime. I loved getting to know the people of Santorini on a personal level, and learning about their families. In addition to enjoying myself and spending time with my family, I was able to learn about the lifestyles of people that lived in a whole different world than my family and I.
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