THURSDAY 16 MAY – SANTORINI, GREECE. It was in April 2007 that we were last in Santorini, all whites and blues and one of the lovelier of the beautiful and peaceful Greek islands.
On that occasion, Ingrid and I walked up the 680 steps from the boat harbour at the bottom of the volcanic caldera to the town of Fira [population about 2,000] on the ridge above.
The track is, in fact, a donkey trail. Which means where go donkeys, there trails donkey shit.
So it wasn’t one of the most scintillating walks I ever committed to. Though it was, you could say, scentillating.
Truth is I would have walked it again today except my left Achilles tendon, at last on the mend after nearly four months, did not deserve to be too much sorely tested now it’s coming good.
So we took the cable car instead, accompanied by two young Filipino crew members of Nautica who, having their first experience at the aerial route, were white-knuckling it big time.
Arriving at the cable car station at the top of the caldera, as in 2007 we walked up hill north from the town in the opposite direction to the bustling retail precinct towards the churches and the best views.
At my halting pace it was about 15 minutes along the caldera rim to the satellite village of Firostefani and a further 15 minutes to the church at Imerovigli, from where the prettiest views are available, causing cameras to be taken from holsters.
We looked down at Nautica – from this great height floating like a distant dream on the millpond below - and felt sublimely happy and at peace. I was especially pleased that the Achilles, while painful, had held good while I managed some serious uphill walking.
Ingrid and I reflected on the calm and tranquillity of this place in comparison with our brief experiences in Egypt and Israel, zones of disquiet which left us with a sense of unease and foreboding.
As I write this, I do so in the shadow of Papua New Guinea’s hauskrai, talk of sentences of death, anxiety about malpractice by Chinese storekeepers, Campbell ‘Can Do’ Newman’s antics, Julia ‘Can’t Do’ Gillard’s antics, life in pressure cooker cities like Moresby and Sydney and the other bothersome matters of daily existence that vex us too much.
What is it in the nature of humans that causes us to do such dreadful things to ourselves?
By the way, there’s a hauskrai to grieve for PNG women victims of violence in London, England, next Saturday (at St Philips Church, Earls Court Road at 5 pm) and a march to protest violence against PNG women in Brisbane on the same day. I have no further details, but I’m sure you can find them.