17 June 2019

Danger

The capital of Santorini is the little town of Thira. It sits perched on the edge of what was once a massive volcanic crater. In past times, ships that arrived at the island anchored within the crater below the precipitous cliffs. Many arriving travellers made their way up to the town along a winding track - often on the backs of donkeys and mules.
Today, Shirley and I descended the zigzag track on foot, not realising the potential for danger that lay just ahead. There must have been a hundred donkeys and mules working that path. Sometimes they galloped down in teams of six or eight. At other times they trudged up carrying tourists. It was all harum scarum and in the cobbles of the narrow track much malodorous donkey crap had accumulated,
Amongst the teams were muleteers with sticks to whip the flanks of the unfortunate creatures. It all seemed so cruel and unnecessary to us but as we were walking down to the old port we were mostly thinking about survival - pressing ourselves against walls and hoping that the beasts of burden wouldn't career into us or stand on our feet or kick us. 
We were very glad to get to the bottom unscathed and to return to the crater's rim we opted for the cable car instead. That did not exist when I last visited the island and there were certainly not so many animals working the pathway back in 1980. I am sorry that my photos do not convey a true sense of the danger we encountered.

24 comments:

  1. Those poor animals.

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  2. Thank goodness you and Shirley made it safely. That does indeed sound frightening! I feel so sorry for the poor donkeys. It seems like they could come up with a better way to get people up and down the road.

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    1. They could use their own legs as we did Bonnie!

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  3. It's a hard life for a mule!

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    1. Is that an oblique reference to librarianship?

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  4. Okay, I'm beginning to wonder if you're just testing my comment of a few days ago when I said I'd be happy to read anything your wrote about your trip! Gah!

    It's good that you and Shirley didn't get trampled. It would be an inglorious end to be flattened into the "malodorous donkey crap". Seriously, I'm glad you two didn't get hurt.

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    1. I knew that the presence of donkeys would appeal to you Jenny-O but these donkeys were definitely not procrastinating. If they even thought about procrastinating their asses would be whipped.

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    2. You have missed my point, perhaps on purpose - I'm having a very hard time reading about donkeys being abused!

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  5. Sounds like a bit of a nightmare! I'm glad you two made it safely there and back.
    Poor donkeys.

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    1. We were very watchful but I tell you Mama Moon, we were mightily relieved to get to the bottom unscathed.

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  6. Some of these are mules and quite a large animal.

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  7. Your photos are just stunning.
    How did the knee hold out on such a long downhill walk?

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    1. Thanks for remembering Kylie. I took careful steps and my knee was fine. Half way down it is not worth turning back anyway.

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  8. I wouldn't like to be caught in all that harum scarum, either!
    Poor animals. One would think their owners treat them better - after all, it is they who allow them to make a little money.

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    1. Those four legged creatures had such sad expressions on their faces.

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  9. It's so sad for the poor animals.
    Cruise ships have now found all the previously unspoiled places in the world, and sell local "traditions" to their passengers. A donkey ride on Santorini must be amongst the "must do's" on any ships' Greek Islands itinerary. Imagine the poor beasts of burden having to carry 20 stone holidaymakers up such a steep incline !

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    1. And another thing CG, none of those passengers were wearing helmets. Perhaps they don't realise how dangerous that ride up the path can be.

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  10. As I said on one of your previous Santorini posts, I find it hard to reconcile the fact that Greeks are so lovely, hospitable and kind to humans, yet treat their animals with such disdain. I have seen horses tethered in open fields in the searing heat of the day, goats hobbling around with front and back legs tied together, endless stray cats and dogs and donkeys lugging 20-stone tourists uphill. It makes me sad.

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    1. I agree almost wholeheartedly with what you are saying ADDY but some Greeks treat their animals with much kindness and respect.

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  11. شركة تنظيف منازل بالخبر

    شركة تنظيف منازل بالخبر شركة المثالية هي افضل شركة تنظيف بالخبر يمكنكم التواصل معها للحصول علي افضل خدمات تنظيف المنازل والشقق والفلل والبيوت والمجالس والكنب والسجاد والموكيت والمفروشات بجودة عالية ومواصفات قياسية حيث تعد شركة تنظيف منازل بالخبر اولي الشركات التي التي تخصصت في مجالل التنظيف بالخبر ولديها خبرة كبيرة وعمالة ماهرة وادوات تنظيف حديثة وطاقم عمالة مدرب علي اعلي مستوى فلا تترددوا في الاتصال بشركة المثالية للتنظيف بالخبر وسوف تحصلون علي افضل الخدمات المنزلية من نظافة ومكافحة حشرات بارخص الاسعار

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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