Santorini - Sunrise on the Other Side

Ahhh! Santorini... it was meant to be the pinnacle of our Greek Island sailing adventure. But after the hospitality and grace we experienced on Leros and Amorgos, Jo’s fantasy of this island with its much photographed, unmatched natural beauty, faded quickly from her dreams.
The visual feast, of which there is plenty, was overruled by the tourism vulturism that now engulfs what should be a paradise. And I suppose as tourists we were a part of the problem. But rude waiters, over priced menus, cafe owners that lie and wall to wall retail outlets are not good memories to tag photos with.

On the day that we caught a hell-on-wheels car ride up the cliff face, three cruise ships and two ferries also delivered their two legged cargo to the shore below Fira. How you efficiently transfer 4-5,000 people up a cliff into a village on a chair lift that transports only thirty people at a time, fifty poor, skinny, old donkeys and a fleet of taxis with smart-mouthed drivers is beyond me. But that is Santorini three or four days each week and probably the reason for the jaded response from some of the service providers we encountered.

The village of Oia situated on the northern tip of the island, with its blue domed, white buildings and red roofed windmills, was a real treasure. Its paved walkways through the village where it sits on the edge of the volcanic rim, were spare of seasoned sightseers and more suited to random casual wanderers like us. The musicafe, ‘Terpsi in Oia’ gave us a most spectacular view of the caldera and the blue domes, and a magnifico home made apple pie and ice cream. Unfortunately I hadn’t charged my camera’s battery packs during the days at sea but the Terpsi experience is forever ingrained for Jo and I in our dreaming. Oia has the feel of an open air artist’s studio and was probably more the authentic Santorini deal for us.

Terpsi in Oia
I must add that the Santorini sunset was something that man and woman could only ever reflect. The red and gold lasted forever and no matter how manner photos I took I was disappointed with the result on the LCD. We  had the best seat in the house which was an old bench seat on Hypapantis Street in Fira that gave us uninterrupted views for free.

Sunrise on the ‘neighbourhood’ eastern side of Fira where our hotel was situated, was a completely different experience to the evening before. No Nick the Greedy Greeks to be seen wandering pathways of gold over here but probably a more realistic observation of the everyday islanders true economy.

The man who drove us to Santorini airport was from Krakow Poland. He was a quiet, thoughtful man who listened to Bruce Springsteen’s  ‘Radio Nowhere’ on his car stereo. He told us that on the days that the cruise ships anchored near Santorini he was so busy that he only managed to have two hours sleep. But thankfully they only came in to Santorini 3-4 days a week. He said that Roberto his boss was good to him. And 'Radio Nowhere' played on as we casually wound down the slope towards the airport by the sea


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