You know the “glamour photos” you see of tourist destinations, and then the real thing never quite measures up? Well, that’s not true about Santorini. It is as beautiful as every poster I’ve ever seen in a Greek restaurant or travel agency window. No matter where you look, there is gorgeous scenery. I don’t think I could ever tire of the whitewashed architecture, blue domes and the multicolored sea. The light here is pretty amazing, too. Can you tell I’m smitten?
Walker told you a bit about the place where we’re staying and that we had a bit of trouble finding it. We were supposed to be met at the port by a shuttle driver, but because we changed from the regular ferry to the fast one, our arrival time changed and word didn’t get to the driver. When we didn’t see a sign with our names, we talked to another driver who gave us a ride here. He dropped us at the square (which is as far as vehicles can go) and said go there, right, left, down and it’s on the left. Or right. I can’t remember. I had the name and phone number of the place, but not an address. The reason for that is that there are no street names or numbers. After walking back and forth on the main pedestrian alley, we finally stopped in a gift shop and asked for directions. The nice shop girl didn’t know where the Old Oia Houses were, but she looked at the photo on the website and pointed us in the direction she thought was right – but wasn’t. It’s hard to describe the walkways, stairs and buildings here, but they are in layers carved into the side of the cliff, winding, and practically one on top of another. We went back to the shop and the girl called the number, got directions, and walked us down the street and told us to wait. A few minutes later Gill (aka Jill, Lyndsay’s British friend) appeared with keys in hand. Unfortunately, she did not have the key to the main door, but no problem, she climbed on the roof of the adjoining property and a second later opened the door from the inside.
Immediately inside the door was a short flight of narrow, deep stairs leading to our cave. Whitewashed, with a citron door and shutters, an aqua umbrella and dark pink bougainvillea, I was instantly charmed. It’s a sweet little cave with bleached wooden floors, a tiny kitchen and a bathroom Fred Flintstone would envy. It may have been
built dug for Fred, in fact, as Walker has to duck to go through any of the doorways. Nevertheless, it’s Home Sweet Home for our time here. The kitchen is stocked with coffee, tea, butter, jam and cream and every morning a loaf of fresh bread in a linen drawstring bag is hung on our door.
When we can tear ourselves away from our terrace overlooking the water, we’ve been walking and taking in the sights. This morning we took the local bus to Fira, another town on the island, and walked back to Oia. We took our time savoring the views and chatting with people along the way, and it took about three hours. In the evenings, we stroll to the point to watch the sunset. Not ready to break our newfound habit, we’re still taking an afternoon siesta’ and enjoying dinner no earlier than eight.
As you can imagine, there are lots of tourists here. We’ve met and talked to a couple from Vancouver who are here with their adult daughter and their son. Walking today, we offered to take a couple’s photo; they, too, are from Vancouver. They are on the last few days of a three-week honeymoon in Greece. Last night at dinner, we met a couple our age from Ohio, but they live and work in Switzerland. Their adult daughter from Colorado was with them here for vacation. We’ve also ‘detected’ lots of Bulgarians by listening to them speak, but we haven’t interrupted them. They seem to be traveling two families together. May 1-6 were holidays in Bulgaria, and it’s nice to see they are taking advantage of being able to travel to Greece visa-free. (It wasn’t like that when we lived there.) There are lots of Americans, too, but the biggest surprise is how many Asians are here. Everywhere we turn, there are young women wearing wedding gowns with men in suits or linen attire posing for photographs with professional photographers. We’re wondering how/when this tradition started.
We leave in the morning. At dinner tonight, we discussed if we would come back here to visit again. Part of me says yes, but another part thinks that this visit has been so perfect, it’s best to leave it as a memory.