I had seen the lovely photos of the Greek island of Santorini in travel magazines, but nothing prepared me for how it felt the first time I stepped out on the edge of the caldera in Firostefani. My eyes actually filled with tears as I was struck with the vastness and beauty of the open space dropping out before me. The cliff is so steep, and the bowl of the caldera so immense. The inky blue Mediterranean was dotted with tiny white cruise ships and large seabirds lazily circled on the air currents way below us. The smooth walkways and cave dwellings, mostly all in white, were otherworldly.
We were there for a week to see two of our good friends get married, and we went in with two other couples to rent the Blue Angel cave house in Firostefani. Elaborate rounded rooms with over the top decor and a rooftop soaking tub with an amazing view greeted us as we rounded the corner to our temporary home. We had selected Firostefani to stay in because it is known to be one of the livelier towns in Santorini, with lots of restaurants and bars and things to do.
After a couple of days of settling in and relaxing, our friends organized a day-long sailboat charter in the vicinity of the island. We made several stops, including an island made of lava rock and a cove that was great for swimming. It was very neat to see the cliffs of Santorini from down below!
The next day, Jason and I were on our own, so we walked up the main road near our cave house, and stopped at the first vehicle rental place we found. Soon we were on a four-wheeler zipping down the road towards Oia for the day. Oia is on the other end of the island from Firostefani, and has a very different feel to it. It’s much quieter, and more polished and immaculate. When we first arrived, we encountered hoards of people filing down the streets and into shops and alleys. We soon learned that it was “cruise ship day” and all of these folks were taking advantage of the limited shore time they had before it was time for them to re-board their ships. After an hour or two, the crowds dissipated and we were able to enjoy exploring the peaceful city with it’s fascinating architecture, iconic white and blue churches, and fantastic restaurants hiding in rounded nooks.
Next came our friends’ wedding. I can’t imagine many settings more romantic than a balcony overlooking the sweeping views of Santorini just before sunset. It was wonderful and there were many tears:) I was photographing the wedding and crying behind my camera! Here are a few images…there are more on my photography blog.
After the wedding we had one more day and we weren’t ready to leave. Toasting the last sunset, we tried to soak it all in and promised each other we would be back one day.