On a return trip to Oia, we opted to book with an individual innkeeper instead of a hotel. A big mistake. Please protect your money and rent elsewhere. Go and enjoy this very beautiful place, but just be careful who you trust your money with.
In October, I booked a 4 night stay with this business, I communicated directly with the owner Mr Johan Lantz of Stockholm. We had a pleasant communication and agreed upon the terms with one exception, the cancellation policy. I asked Mr Lantz to provide me this information because of potential cancellation due to work obligations. My request was ignored, shame on me for not persisting, in good faith I provided a very expensive deposit $250 Eu $352. This was to be our 25th anniversary celebration. Due to unforeseen health issues, I had to cancel this complete Greece trip. The notice I provided to Mr. Lantz was 90 days from the reservation date and my cancellation was not due to business but to a health issue. When I requested the refund I was refused and Mr Lantz indicated that his policy was clearly stated on VRBO. I went to VRBO which I had not returned to since finding his apartment. It indicated that deposit refund was >6weeks a 30% penalty, 4-6 weeks, a 50% penalty and 4 weeks a 100% penalty. i challenged Mr. Lantz who then indicated that I actually owed him money as that penalty was for the FULL amount, not the deposit. The whole thing was ludicrous. I booked 8 months early and provided him 3 months’ notice on cancellation, plenty of time to rent the property and he refuses to refund any of the deposit. A very poor and questionable business practice.
A greek specialist on trip advisor indicated that perhaps Mr. Lantz had violated rules indicated by the Department of Tourism. Apparently anything over 4 weeks must be reimbursed in Full by law and no deposit over 25% can be required.
I have maintained all documentation relating to this incident.
We watched as the set set a rose and citrine color. It was nearing the time to say goodbye to Santorini. To get back to the ship you have to walk from Oia to the port of Ammoudi 300 steps down. There are three way to get down the stairs to the ship. You can take a cable car down, take a donkey ride down or walk down the donkey doo covered stairs. The cable car line was very long and filled with older people waiting to get down. Also, none of us wanted to walk down the donkey doo covered stairs. I, Costa and Tiffany opted to take the Donkey down. The donkey’s after all look pretty nice from the top of the stairs. I should have known when I first gave the ticket for the ride to the man taking tickets, what would unfold. When we gave in the tickets we were told to keep walking down. We were not told how far or what to do. On our way down we were asked for our tickets again. Not speaking a word of Greek I kept gesturing that I had given my ticket in. We were then told to keep going down. Finally some time later a guide decided to put us on his donkeys. Unfortunately, he chose to put me on the donkey first. I had one foot in the stirrup when the donkey started walking away on it’s own, while our guide was putting Tiffany and Costa on their own donkeys. On the ship our tour manager said the donkeys would be held by the guide and we would be lead down 5 at a time. Here, I am terrified that my donkey is taking off on it’s own, while Tiffany and Costa are sitting on their donkeys who are not taking off. The guide is still putting 2 more people on their donkey’s when my donkey turns a corner and I don’t see anyone anymore. I start calling for the guide who does not come. The donkey turns a tight corner and I see how many feet it is to the bottom and how steep the cliff really is. All that is running through my mind is what if this donkey decides to throw me off and I fall to bottom of the cliff and die.
I guess that would be a faster fourth way to get to the bottom. I suppose the headline would be” Dumb American tourist thrown by jackass off a cliff:. I wonder how that would look like in Greek letters? Anyway, many minutes later I finally see Tiffany and Costa behind me. The guide is holding their reins while my donkey is still walking ahead on it’s own. I am cursing under my breath, praying and having visions of Christopher Reed at the same time. I hear Tiffany scream too, her donkey apparently stumble precariously close to the edge of the cliff. Costa is carrying on saying to turn around while he takes a picture. Here, I am hanging on for dear life. I’m thinking when I get down if I live I’ll smack the upside of his head to knock some sense into him. The donkey continues to walk down, it stumbles. It dips down to eat some hay. I get a clear view of the jagged mountains and how far down it is. The donkey make some noise when he stumbles, is he going to throw me over now? The donkey proceeds to charge at people in front of me. I’m like I don’t know what to do to the people in front and scream at them to move to the side for their own good. If the runaway donkey kicks them down, I hope I am not responsible. Finally, we are almost to the bottom when our guide asks us for tips. He states it is more money if we want to continue the donkey ride down. I and Tiffany throw the tip at him as fast as we can so we can get off. Tiffany look visibly terrified when she gets off as I am sure I did. She screams at Costa that she needs time to get her bearings before she can take a picture. Costa is the only one carrying on staying on the crazy donkey wanting a picture. When headed down we still have to walk down the donkey doo covered stairs. The first thing I do after I go to the bathroom downstairs is to go to a bar and order a beer. Tiffany and Costa run back and tell me to hurry up because the last tender is about to leave. I chug the beer down as fast I can and head to the tender thankful to be alive!
This is a clifftop island, and therefore coming down you have 3 options: Walking, which will take about a half hour; Riding a cable car which takes about 2 minutes, or Riding a donkey. If you're afraid of heights, I suggest allowing yourself the time to walk. My friend is terrified of heights and cried all the way down the cable car ride. For that short of time scaring her, I don't suggest you take it if you, too, are afraid.
The road to Oia is very narrow and winding, and clings to steep cliffsides. Lots of buses whisk people around the road and they take up a lot of space. In addition, it can get quite windy sometimes. This all adds up to a potential recipe for disaster if you try getting to Oia on a scooter. We rented one on our first day and promptly returned it after realizing how dangerous it was. I'm very, very glad we just took taxis and buses to get to Oia. It looked like an extremely dangerous road for scooters.