Wednesday, September 5: Even though I’m at the southernmost end of Santorini, I decide I will start my exploration at the northwestern-most tip, with Oia (pronounced ee-ah), and then work my way down. I also decide I want to see the sun set at each point (north, center and south) in the three nights I am here. I’ll start with sunset in Oia tonight; Thursday, I’ll watch sunset in Fira, and Friday night I’ll see the view from Akrotírion. This is my plan, anyway.
So, I leave the hotel in my little car, and zip up the island. I come to the crowded town of Fira, where I have to make my way slowly through throngs of young sun-bronzed European couples, hand in hand. Numerous times on the road, I pass couples riding together on Quads/ATVs, motor scooters, mopeds, and motorbikes, their hair dancing in the wind. After I see people riding on these ATVs, I wish I had known about them. I would have rented one of these myself! Of course I would have had a hard time hauling my suitcase on one, but if I had made it to the hotel with my suitcase, an ATV would have been the perfect mode of transportation. If I ever go back to Santorini, I will rent one of these four-wheeled vehicles. I don’t care how old I am!
In Oia, I have no destination, but I will just wander through the town and see what there is to see. Hopefully, I can kill time until the 7:00 or 7:30 sunset, where I can eat at an outdoor cafe, wine in hand, and watch the sun fall into the water. Well, that’s not quite how it works, but I will talk about that later.
In the town, I stroll and admire the beautiful views, snapping photos along the way. The views that people see in most photographs from Santorini are taken in Oia; it’s the most picturesque of the whole island.
In 1956 a major earthquake near Amorgos island resulted in the demolishing of many buildings in the north of Santorini, leading people to desert its villages. Oia reflects the rebirth of Santorini following this earthquake. Between the restoration of the buildings and the focus on upscale tourism, Oia is now one of the most beautiful villages in the Cyclades.
The village is built on a steep slope of the caldera, and many dwellings sit in niches cut into the porous volcanic rock. The town is noted for its picturesque architecture: its medieval Venetian houses, a throwback to Venetian rule over the island, and small in-cave village homes. There is a large Catholic population here, as well as medieval fortifications to protect from pirates.
I stroll about in Oia until I decide I’m hungry and I stop to eat a very late lunch….