There’s no doubt about it that Santorini is one of the most famous and gorgeous of the Greek Islands. It was high on my list to visit so when I had the opportunity to go, I grabbed it.
Yes, it is a busy place, with cruise ships pulling into the port near the main town of Fira (Thira). And yes, even Oia, at the far end of the island sees its fair share of “boat people” (my nickname for those folks on the cruise ships) during the day. But, in the evenings, things calm down. The towns become quieter with just those folks who have chosen to stay for a few nights (or 12 nights in my case!) We wander the winding, hilly lanes in Fira and head north to Firostefani and Imerovigli. In Oia, at the far north end or tip of the island, we gather near sunset point each night to watch the sun set over the Aegean Sea. Even though this event draw crowds, its fun and festive. We all wait for Mother Nature to put on her show of color. Will it be bold and vibrant tonight? Or perhaps she’ll use a softer palette with shades of pink and peach. Whatever she chooses, we know we won’t be disappointed.
Even the locals relish in this ritual of watching the sun sink into the sea. It’s a time for reflection, mediation. It’s a time to be thankful for a wonderful day and be hopeful for a beautiful tomorrow.
I’ve photographed a lot of sunrises and sunsets over the years. As a photographer, it’s just what you do. And as a traveler, and now a travel planner, it’s a great way to see a place in a peaceful time, often with locals, and see it as it literally glows. Santorini, Oia in particular, is simply spectacular and at its best at sunset. I witnessed 12 sunsets during my time here. Each one was different, but each one was beautiful in its own way. I also watched the people during this time and could see the same happy, hopeful and peaceful looks on their faces as I knew was on mine – and how I felt in my heart. But, by far, my fondest memory of this time is reflected in the image of the local man. I call him “Santorini Fisherman”. I asked if I could take his photograph. He gave me a simple nod of yes. He had his prayer beads in his strong hands, a thoughtful look on his face as he looked out to the sea toward the setting sun. I wondered what he was thinking…