Day 8 – Sunday, September 17: Heraklion, Crete / Santorini
Today was another perfectly sunny day, with temps once again around 75. The Greek islands are known for its blue skies and beautiful islands. This would include a visit to both Crete and at the end of the day to Greece’s most famous island at the end of the day, Santorini.
Following breakfast, we disembarked the ship at around 7:30 for the first excursion of the day on the island of Crete. We read from Titus 3 as we boarded our bus. After a short ride through the town of Heraklion, we arrived at the Knossos excavations. Here we saw the archaeological discoveries of the Minoan civilization. They were probably one of the forerunners of the Philistines. Some suggest Caphtor (in Jeremiah 47:4, Amos 9:7) is the ancient island of Crete, while they were called the Sea Peoples by the Egyptian Pharoah, Ramses III in the late 13th-12th century BC.
As for the Minoans, this people group dates back to about 2,000 BC (about the time of Abraham). Here we saw the restored palace area, with many frescoes and other ruins. Biblically in the New Testament, it was Paul who left Titus here on this island, giving instructions on appointing church leaders in the towns (Titus 1:5ff). Also, Paul himself would have sailed around the lee of Crete (Acts 27:7) on his way to Rome.
Before leaving the island we enjoyed some free time walking around the shops and stores near the modern port. Many bought olive oil (since Crete is well known for having the best!). Many also enjoyed the beautiful blue waters down at the port area.
“God’s creation is sure awesome! The island of Santorini was a highlight. The sunset was spectacular from the top. While our cruise ends tomorrow morning, it’s been a great three days sailing in this beautiful area!”
After re-boarding the ship, we enjoyed lunch and some free time before gathering once again on the top deck. The approach into the port of Santorini was incredible. Most of the city is perched high on the edge of this ancient volcano. It most likely erupted around 1550 BC (some suggest 1453 BC) and brought an end to the Minoans living here. After taking our turn taking the tender boats once again in order to get to the port, some took the cable car to the top while others walked up the steep donkey path. It is about a 1,000 foot climb.
The view from the top was breathtaking! No words can adequately describe it! Santorini is the most picturesque islands! From the top, most in the group explored on their own. Some enjoyed dinner on top, with spectacular views of the sunset and the “bowl” of the volcano below (now all water).
We returned back to our tender boats on our own by 9 p.m. Once back on board the ship, during the night we set sail back to the Laurion Port of Athens. We anticipate docking tomorrow morning by the time we wake up.