Donkeys in Santorini

Feb 6th, 2006, 12:34 PM
  #1  
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Donkeys in Santorini

Are the donkeys in Santorini used as transporation to your hotel or are they just an attraction? Are they in Fira?
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Feb 6th, 2006, 12:36 PM
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P_M
 
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The donkeys are for tourists. They do have cars in Santorini to take you to your hotel.
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Feb 6th, 2006, 12:45 PM
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The donkeys take tourists on rides from the bottom of the Caldera to the top or vice versa. They are a lot of fun even though they are a bit smelly. They used to be the only form of transport to the hotels from the old port,but now they are primarily a tourist attraction. There is a fennicular that does the same job, but it's nowhere near as appealing as the donkeys.
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Feb 6th, 2006, 12:47 PM
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There is a small harbour at the bottom of the cliffs below Fira. Cruise ships often disembark passengers there by tender. This harbour is linked to Fira by steps and by a cable car. The donkeys carry tourists up these steps. Ferries use another port which is reached by a zig-zag road.
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Feb 6th, 2006, 01:03 PM
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I think the animals currently in use are actually mules and be glad they aren't the only way up to the top, especially when more than one cruise ship pulls into port which overwhelms both the animals and the teleferic.

The mules are fun and certainly have a mind of their own which means don't get in their way!!! Imagine riding one and grasping a "carry-on"...a true Fodorite moment.
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Feb 6th, 2006, 01:28 PM
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Some donkeys are used to transport tourists and their luggage. Others are used by locals for transportation and especially to help with the grape harvest. If you drive around the less-touristed parts of the island, you will see that they are definitely not just for tourists.
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Feb 6th, 2006, 02:06 PM
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If you are compassionate about animals, you won't like the donkey ride up the cliffs. That was the single worst experience I've ever had while traveling. No one escorts you up - they put you on a donkey, slap it's butt and off you go. They put two small children, my neices, on a donkey alone and they disappeared up the mountain. We didn't see them for 20 minutes! They do not allow the donkeys to get a drink of water until they go back down the hill, so they are ever trying to take you back down, at a break-neck speed. Mine got halfway back down and was given quite a whipping for it. I was horrified, but too scared to get off. Also, what they fail to tell you, is that about every 5 minutes, there is a huge group of donkeys rushing back down the hill to get a drink - and they come right through your group, smashing into your legs and moving you dangerously close to the side.

Please don't ride the donkeys and instead, opt for the tram ride - it takes about 2 minutes and it's much more pleasant and humane.
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Feb 6th, 2006, 02:07 PM
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PLEASE DO NOT use the donkeys for transportation. I know they're cute and some people want to take photos riding them and experience the ride up or down the steps in Fira and Oia, but believe me, these poor animals are abused on a regular basis. The donkey men use sticks with nails to prod or whip them into moving along their way. I've seen this myself countless times. It's no wonder they try to wipe their passengers off their backs by rubbing up against the sides of the steps. I've also seen some pretty badly scraped legs from people who weren't able to avoid that circumstance.
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Feb 6th, 2006, 02:14 PM
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Thank you brotherleelove, I completely agree! I'm shaking just thinking about how bad that experience was for me. I got to the top and cried for about 15 minutes out of sheer disgust, frustration and fear. I was joined by several, equally as horrified, tourists.

It was a horrible way to start off an experience on the most beautiful place in the world.
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Feb 7th, 2006, 08:53 AM
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WOW, I am so glad I asked about this!
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Feb 8th, 2006, 04:24 PM
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I now feel extremely guilty for using them

Next summer I'm either doing it by foot alone or using the cable car.
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