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Two Santorini?

March 09, 1986

After reading "Footloose in Santorini" by Beverly Beyer and Ed Rabey (Feb. 9) we have come to the conclusion that there must be two Santorini. We were there 12 years ago and, of course, took the donkey ride from the harbor-side to the main village 900 feet up. They start out by saying " . . . foolhardy is the only word for one who would honor this hoary tradition twice." They go on to call it a "terrifying ordeal to unhinge the most valiant." Nobody in our mostly senior citizens group found it so. Not even the little old widow in her 80s.

They go on to say that the skinners drive the scruffy beasts ever upward with the harsh whack of a 2x4. We did not witness any such animal abuse. Our donkeys were urged on with flicks of a switch. They describe the few minutes it takes to reach the top as "knees scraping the rough walls" and "shrieks of fear and protest from both burro and burden." The steps were at least 20 feet wide; it would be difficult to scrape your knees, even on purpose. They also use the words "venturesome," "adversity" and "turbulent." Are they really travel writers or fiction writers?

ELMER and JUNE MATEAS

Fountain Valley

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