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Fira: cable cars and mules
While walking along the cliffside streets in Santorini's capital, Fira, you may be overcome with the urge to get down to the port below you to view the town in all its splendour.
This is what I chose to do on my first morning in Fira. I decided to walk down the path (a tiring 20 minute walk, even though it's downhill all the way!) and, for reasons that I'll never be able to fathom, I also decided to walk back up (a 50 minute walk/crawl/energy-sapping struggle!).
In hindsight, the journey (at least the uphill return leg of it) would be better undertaken by one of the following methods:
1. Catch a cable car at the bottom of the cliff and, for just a few Euros, get yourself transported back to the top in a matter of minutes. The cable cars run continually throughout the day and there are no obstacles to block the spectacular view from them.
2. Catch a mule back up the cliff. I was surprised at just how fast the mules can move, especially given the steep incline and the fact that they're carrying heavy tourists on their backs. They certainly put me to shame - dozens of them overtook me during my own climb back up. To be honest, I'm not sure I'd have liked to catch a mule up the cliff - as stated above, they do move at a fair pace, the path is slippery (its made of shiny stones) and there are some precarious drops along the route. However, the mules prove very popular with tourists.
If you're arriving at (or leaving) Santorini by ferry, don't worry- you won't have to make this journey with your luggage. The ferry port is further along the coast and coaches make the journey up and down the equally steep cliff there.
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Fira and its neighbouring villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli are small enough to walk around and between, though the walk out to Imerovigli is a little bit uphill and those with mobility problems may prefer to get a bus or taxi. Not only are those places small and close enough to walk around, the whole island is not exactly huge and you can walk from almost anywhere to anywhere. The walk from Fira to Oia is particularly rewarding as it skirts the caldera rim and the views are spectacular along its whole route. At the end of it is the delights of Oia (or Fira if you do it in reverse) with their wonderful cafes and tavernas, all with great views.
The path to Oia is well defined, it's really hard to get lost. I'll post more details in a travelogue.
"What's the name of the game"?
Many of you, you have been asking yourselves, how many stairs you have to climb up till you finally reach the town of FIRA from the Old Port?
The answer is: 558!!!
So,not to be afraid: I have not counted them, somebody else, I suppose one of the locals, has counted them for us and have given an increasing number to every step.
So, take a big breath and start climbing and counting to...558!
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- Hiking and Walking
...Or you can just... walk!
Of course if you dont like to use animals or the cable railway to the way to the old port,you can use your legs! There are thousands of steps to get down and it looks easy, but to walk up....
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