The sky was glowing with colors of orange and red as the plane landed at the small airport at sunrise. Tears filled my eyes as I stepped out of the airport. I was really here. Santorini – the heavenly Greek Island that had long been on my dream bucket list.
The taxi dropped me off in the area of the caldera (the hillside) where my hotel was in the village of Firostefani which is basically an extension of the main town of Fira (Thira). Since it was so early, my room wasn’t ready, but, the folks at the Nomikos Villas served me breakfast on the terrace by the pool. I watched in awe as the fog burned off of the Aegean Sea, revealing black volcanic cliffs and sapphire blue waters. My imagination ran wild with tales of Greek gods and goddess, sea monsters and wind spirits, and heroes on odysseys.
I was going to be on this captivating island for 12 days! I wasn’t sure I would leave!!
While I loved Nomikos Villas and the Fira/Firostefani area, after 4 days, I was ready to head to Oia, the small village at the north end of Santorini known for its sunsets. Fira is busy, with loads of cruise ships docking nearby, so there are loads of people wandering about. It can be fun and festive. And, there are some fabulous restaurants, fun shops and gorgeous places to stay, so I was happy to have experienced it.
However, I was looking forward to my 8 days in the quieter village. I had booked an apartment that had a terrace overlooking the water. Walking down some steep stairs, I arrived at the apartment which was dug into the hillside. The view was spectacular! I knew I had made a wise choice. It really was as dreamy as I envisioned!!
I befriended a woman in one of the boutiques close to the apartment. She was Greek, but grew up in Canada so her English was excellent. I stopped in regularly to say hello and chat about the village, travels, and the island. She told me quite a bit about Oia and life on an island. While Oia was quieter, there were still times when the “boat people” would appear. These were the folks from the cruise ships who were visiting Oia on a tour from the ship. At these times, I would retreat to my terrace!
The big event each evening was sunset. From Sunset Point, a mere 3 minute walk from my apartment, there is an uninterrupted view of the sun going down over the Aegean Sea. People would gather in the hour or 2 before sundown to nab the best spots, cameras at the ready. Each night was festive. And each sunset was different.
As much as I loved the sunsets, mornings were my favorite time. I loved wandering the winding pedestrian ways, camera in hand, looking for interesting photos. The morning light was beautiful and the crowds had not yet arrived. On the mornings I ran, the street dogs joined me. These dogs lived on the streets of Oia, but had names, collars, and were cared for by the locals. They were all sweet animals. It was fun to have them running with me as I made my way around the village, often playing with each other as they ran along side of me.
My Santorini dream came true and it really was better than I imagined. I often think of returning – running with the Oia dogs, gazing at breathtaking sunsets and photographing the gorgeous light sparkling on the sapphire Aegean Sea…*sigh*…