Santorini – The Greek Fantasy! (Day One)

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Hello, Bonjour, Namaste people,

Hmm….Heaven wasn’t that far after all.

And I came, I saw and I was conquered. I’m talking about Santorini here. To be more specific, the most beautiful village in Santorini – Oia.  I had been lusting over Santorini since I saw the pictures on a few travel blogs that I’m following and they were all picture perfect to the T. I shared those pictures with my husband. As wanderlust is a highly infectious disease, infliction was natural on him. And soon, it was just a matter of finding the most suitable flights.

The amount of accessible information that one can get today leaves hardly anything to your imagination. Also being too informed especially visually, I believe, steals a good part of charm and excitement away from you. But Santorini being Santorini, none of the graphics equalled its real charm.  I can’t thank my stars enough for the clear skies throughout our stay and being able to find good restaurants. Because I believe the aforementioned factors have a lion’s share in the success of a trip. Also I’m so glad we nailed this destination soon enough to revisit it sometime in future.

I know I’ve been missing long enough for you to think that I’ve abandoned my ship. Nothing could be further from the truth. The captain is very much on and is not just back but back with a bundle of beautiful times spent by the Aegean sea. The past month flew by while I was enjoying a cocktail of family, travel and celebrations and it took me a while to put together my fractious thoughts in a sensible sequence.

So on a fine sunday morning we landed on the volcanic remains of Fira, the capital of Thira. I’m not sure if the dynamics of flying over the waters dictates that but the plane sure does land a bit differently than what I presume normal. And once you land, the ‘whiteness’ and ‘blueness’ of the place hits you without warning. As we waited for our luggage to arrive I took a look around the airport and it spoke of the greek economic woes. But that was least of our worries and I just couldn’t wait to reach Oia. The taxi system is pretty interesting there. The taxi is shared by a group of people going to same destination. We shared a cab with another couple who were headed to the same village as us. The little conversation over the 30 minute drive unfolded that they had stayed at the same hotel as we had booked, on their last trip. But knowing that they were going to some other place this time cultivated obvious doubts that we exchanged wordlessly.

Anyways, there we were at the doorstep of Canaves Oia, which was like everything else in Santorini – immaculate white. Incase you are wondering the places are not just white on outside they are white inside too. So the sunglasses take priority over anything else here. For good measures (and to throw in some style of course) take two of them.

 

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That is the smile that the place (Canaves) puts on you, but isn’t too successful in keeping it there!

 

Having said that let me tell you about our place of stay first. We booked a suite at Canaves Oia which comprised of a large enough and cozy living room, a cool bedroom and a veranda with a lovely view of Caldera, the beautiful Aegean, neighbouring Imerovigli village and a part of our own Oia.

 

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Immaculate living room

 

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The window opens to a part of the ‘cave’ and the prettiest blue of the sea.

 

 

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Oia sits huddled behind me…

 

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Complimentary Greek wine on arrival waits us…

 

 

 

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…and this is where it will be had  🙂

 

 

All seems well until now and more or less it was. But the problem was a less than average breakfast and I just can’t push through the day without a good breakfast. Same holds good with my hubz. That was one major letdown. Also the bathroom could be a little bit better. We put our money on Canaves Oia because it was a part of ‘small luxury hotels of the world’  (with which we had a wonderful experience in the past, you can read about it here) also it had many accolades to its credit and good rating overall. Remember, when you see the golden insignia of ‘SLH’ you are not looking at a budget hotel. So the amount of money paid did not exactly equal the experience of our stay there. It was later during our stay we discovered other lovelier alternatives.

 

 

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The beauty of the place sure does keep the smile in place

 

 

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Everything is blue and best of blue except you ’cause you’re pink with happiness

 

Having scorched out a bit, we settled in the comfort and coolness of our ‘cave’. I’m saying cave because  a) the ancient housing of this island comprised of cave which protected against gusty winds and scorching sun  and b)  I cannot pronounce its Greek name – Yposkafo. The modern greek architecture has adapted the ancient cave style houses for travellers around the world into a mix of modern comfort and traditional experience. It could feel a bit claustrophobic inside though.

We took a nap after lunch and were ready and recharged to explore the village and find a spot for watching the sunset.

 

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That’s Canaves Oia and the road to Oia. The traffic is allowed only till only a little  further.

 

 

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And that’s the way to magnificent sunsets

 

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It was just half a day in Santorini and sun has already baked us red-brown

 

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The sun sure had descended down but it still was fiery enough

 

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A bridal photoshoot in progress.

 

Santorini is not just a popular hideout for honeymooners but also a dream wedding destination. I realized India was no oblivious to its popularity, all due credit to bollywood, as a big fat Indian wedding was taking place there challenging face down, an equally big and fat Greek one!

 

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A beautiful church in Oia glowing in a mellowed sun

 

We walked on a marbled road cutting through Oia, with people going harefooted in same direction as us. For the fear of missing the sunset?? I was wondering, why it was only  six or sevenish and the sunset was at eight thirty. We walked at our own pace, pausing to take a picture or look at the menus of restaurants we were passing by. But that was the first and the last day that we took this too easy. Well, see for yourself.

 

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This was the state of affairs at a sunset viewing point. This is only a part of crowd that was gathered there!!

 

This picture was taken around an hour before the sun will rest. And people just kept on adding to this. I have no idea how long they’d been waiting/standing here. People gather here not only from Oia but also neighbouring Imerovigli and from as far as Fira. But it was incredible. Incredibly overwhelming and it just sky rocketed our excitement. Luckily we did find a spot good enough for our leisurely pace. Why it is a big deal to reach there well in advance is because although you may find a place to watch sunset but it takes some extra effort and time to ‘capture’ it and yourself with it.

 

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The sun is still quite high

 

The hype about ‘Santorini sunsets’ (especially in Oia) was all too familiar to me owing to all the reading I had been doing about it and all the pictures that I saw. Now that I’ve seen it not once not twice but four times, from four different vantage points, I firmly back all the fuzz about it. Because it deserves being fuzzed over and bragged about – the sunsets are nothing short of phenomenal.

 

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Cruising towards sunset on one of these beautiful boats is one way to do it!

 

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People perched on the ruins of a castle in Oia, this is, needless to say, most popular spot to view and capture sunsets. And this is not the complete picture of the castle.

 

A conglomerate of people occupy every inch of  land on the castle, streets, restaurants facing south and west of the village at least a couple of hours before the sun goes down. This might look claustrophobically crowded especially when you have been waiting on your feet for an hour, sweat trickling down and last thing you want is a sticky nudge from a gritty elbow. But soon, in a matter of minutes, the blazing orange turns a choleric yellow which in turn becomes a blushing pink and then a violaceous hue washes over the whitness of the pretty houses in Oia.

As all this begins to happen there is silence and focus, and excitement gushing through everyone standing there, watching it.

 

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The blazing orange of the sun and I so love this colour. And the windmill that forms the prototypical picture of Santorini.

 

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And as the sun is about to take a dip it leaves a pinkish glow

 

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And there it goes hiding behind the volcanic remains

 

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And just like that it disappears!

 

And there is a unified sense of gratification among the people gathered there and to my amazement it came out as applause! Yes, it was the first time that I saw a natural phenomenon being cheered upon and lauded. Because it was just too beautiful and I still remember the whole experience pretty well. It was just lovely.

 

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Not that the night was any less.

 

Oia just never loses even an iota of its charm at any hour of the day or night. It glowed white and yellow with sky and the sea in such a mysterious blue shade with the silhouette of the caldera breaking  the continuity between the sea and the sky.

 

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I loved being in Oia – every moment of it!

 

We walked back the same path that we came by and grabbed some ‘Greek’ dinner on the way. There are plenty of restaurants and are open till late at night which was a refreshing change from the very time bound Swiss land.

 

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The beans and the portions both were larger than expected. It tasted good though. But I’m not too excited by parsley on my plate.

 

It was lovely to be out and about at night. Late night shopping was thoroughly enjoyed and taken advantage of. There are some really lovely jewellery stores in Santorini and greek sandals, of course. So, did I shop on day one? Hell, yeah! 😉

 

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Night time shopping!

 

 

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Glowing Oia, the blue reflections from pools of hotels.

 

Night time is a wonderful time to take pictures in Santorini so we were trying to get us both in a picture without troubling anyone as it was pretty late into the night. So a woman walks upto us and not only offers to take our picture but also making us pose as we were being ‘very conservative’!! As she was clicking away, she kept on talking to us and it turned out that she was a professional photographer. We had a great time with the generous lady but our pictures were all blurred to our dismay. Thanks to a mode that was on that time which works only with a tripod. Nevertheless, I’m sharing those pictures for the memories they bring. However blurred the lines may be they do not fail in showing the happiness.

 

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Images may be blurred but the memory is still sharp.

 

Santorini is a quixotic little island. It has everything and everything lives in harmony with each other. There were so many cuddly cats and dogs around, enough to make a dedicated post about them. But I’m thinking otherwise and will bring them in several posts.

 

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That’s a fluffy one there!

 

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A watchful nursing mother.

 

That was our first of four days in the fantasy village of a fantasy island….

 

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Time to pour some Greek wine and have it under the stars

 

….it went down just perfectly!

 

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Cheers to the Oia! And our time there.

 

Hope you enjoyed the preview that we had seen on day one, be back to see more from this trip 🙂

 

Comments

  1. Love the last two pictures!!! 🙂

  2. Great Pics Nikita :). Santorini is higher up in our list now.The last pic is such a sweet one 🙂

  3. Thats where you ve been!!:)Amazing pics niki!! Waiting for more….!!