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Cable car vs Donkeys on Santorini

Central Coast...
Level Contributor
71 posts
11 reviews
8 helpful votes
Cable car vs Donkeys on Santorini

I have posted my thoughts on not riding the donkeys elsewhere but while researching a cruise stop in Athens came across a great trip report by Hydrokitty

who reviews Santorini as follows:

Santorini: Ahhhhhh Santorini. What a beautiful place. Take the Thira (Fira) and Oia village tours. You'll drive the entire island, see spectacular views. spend an hour in Oia and the rest of the time (not enough) in Fira. Take the cable car down. Do not try to walk down. It's very winding, steep and is the same path the donkeys use so you have to watch your feet. Don't take the donkey because the donkey master will take you 1/2 to 3/4 down and then make you get off and walk the rest of the way because he'll have someone at the top waiting. If you refuse to get off or demand a refund he gets downright nasty and quite intimidating. Besides you get a magnificent view from the cable car.

Just thought I'd share it with you.

Camarillo...
Destination Expert
for Santorini
Level Contributor
25,157 posts
3 reviews
5 helpful votes
1. Re: Cable car vs Donkeys on Santorini

Please, PLEASE DO NOT RIDE THE DONKEYS! 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, forced to keep moving without rest or water even on the hottest days of summer. The donkey men use sticks with nails to prod them 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. There is an effort going on to protect them from mistreatment, but until something legal is done only the tourists can stop the abuse by not riding them. PLEASE DO NOT RIDE THE DONKEYS

Please read: http://www.express.co.uk/search/santorini/

Nova Scotia Canada
Level Contributor
686 posts
14 reviews
21 helpful votes
2. Re: Cable car vs Donkeys on Santorini

I totally agree with the comments about the donkeys-we walked down 2 weeks ago-fortunately it was shady in the morning because it is a long hard walk (whether one is going down or coming up) dealing with strings of donkeys both coming up and going down. Some of the people on the donkeys were very nervous to say the least and some of the donkeys were so worn out that they would stop and not move without prodding. Also for us walkers the donkeys often came too close to us-imagine people and donkeys walking up and down-4 rows of animals and humans competing for space. We often had to stop and lean against the wall and actually push the donkeys away from us.I was afraid for all at times.

We took the cable car back up.

Central Coast...
Level Contributor
71 posts
11 reviews
8 helpful votes
3. Re: Cable car vs Donkeys on Santorini

This is part of the post I sent on the Fira forum...

I understand that the use of mules/donkeys is a way of life in many parts of the world, including Santorini. However they should be treated well, cared for and respected. My thoughts are that they should only be used where it is necessary and not just for the amusement of the human race.

Many websites about Santorini use these animals as a marketing tool "they are so cute" etc. and highlight the novelty of such transport. Surely Santorini is beautiful enough in itself not to rely on such promotion.

For those interested in the plight of these animals check out this website

www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk

and search for Santorini.

If it is necessary for these animals to continue to work - bringing up supplies and building materials etc, fine but we need to make sure they have optimal care. (Although is it REALLY necessary!)

Why a tourist would want to do it when there is a perfectly good alternative -the cable car - is beyond me. Education is the key.

Central Coast...
Level Contributor
71 posts
11 reviews
8 helpful votes
4. Re: Cable car vs Donkeys on Santorini

Does anyone else have recent experience on the plight of the donkeys/mules??

Camarillo...
Destination Expert
for Santorini
Level Contributor
25,157 posts
3 reviews
5 helpful votes
5. Re: Cable car vs Donkeys on Santorini

The Greek billionaire who owns EasyJet and EasyCruise has pledged to build another cable car system for the cruise ship passengers which will to some degree lessen the demand for the donkeys from tourists. He's also given money to the woman on Santorini from the Greek Animal Welfare Fund who has taken on the plight of the donkeys, and with this money new breathable blankets and other new hardware have been issued which will reduce the chafing on the donkeys' hides. Donkeys are being registered so their well-being can be monitored. It's not much but it's a start.

You may have already read about this in the London Sunday Express but I thought I'd pass it on to those who haven't.

Fort Worth, Texas
Level Contributor
1 post
32 reviews
26 helpful votes
6. Re: Cable car vs Donkeys on Santorini

We were in Santorini in May this year. My sister-in-law and husband decided to walk down to the harbor. We took the cable car. Apparently that was a good decision. Nothing they read warned them about all the donkey doo and urine smell one gets to experience on the path. Not a great way to start a romantic evening. My sister-in-law even witnessed a man slip and fall becuase of and into the donkey doo! Yech! Trust me she was only to happy to ride the cable car up even though she is very afraid of them. Tip to cruise passengers... the line for the cable cars get quite long the closer it gets to departure time. I would imagine many a traveler has sweated getting back in time.

durham
Level Contributor
195 posts
93 reviews
123 helpful votes
7. Re: Cable car vs Donkeys on Santorini

I know it is good news that there are steps to improve the conditions of the poor donkeys in Santorini. I only wish that they would remove them altogether. I would love to have the money to give these lovely animals a happy retirement in an environment where no more cruel human beings burden them for the sake of novelty value.

Beds, UK
Level Contributor
68 posts
33 reviews
19 helpful votes
8. Re: Cable car vs Donkeys on Santorini

As rainmom88 notes, it's not just the donkeys who get abused. I met a girl who'd taken the donkey ride up. She was almost thrown when her donkey stumbled, got constantly brushed/squashed against the wall, and somehow got donkey poo on her trousers. She said it wasn't a great experience, and one she won't be recommending.

That's on top of the guilt trip I gave her when I pointed out how the donkeys are treated.

Central Coast...
Level Contributor
71 posts
11 reviews
8 helpful votes
9. Re: Cable car vs Donkeys on Santorini

Hmmm, the whole donkey trip does seem to be one to miss. Good news that those with the money can (and should!) do something about the situation. I've also heard that the donkey operators get a portion of the cable car fee, so they are not necessarily missing out.

Central Coast...
Level Contributor
71 posts
11 reviews
8 helpful votes
10. Re: Cable car vs Donkeys on Santorini

bump