Thursday, September 6:  Today I head to the stunning village of Fira, the capital of the island of Santorini, as well as its most central and important village.  It is also the most crowded village on the island, brimming with tourists of every nationality.

the view down toward the old port (& the cruise ships) from Fira

Fira “tumbles into the sea”

colorful flowers appear to be in holiday mood in this romantic village

On my way to Fira, I stop at a travel agent I pass along the way, where I book a tour for tomorrow morning to see the volcano.  I also book the speed ferry (5 hours) going back to Athens for the early evening of Saturday, September 8.  The travel agent tries to convince me to take the slow ferry, warning:  “It’s not good to take the fast boat because of the weather.”  I look around and see nothing but sunshine, warmth and blue skies; I can’t imagine what might be the problem.  I stick with my fast ferry decision.

green umbrellas and the Mediterranean Sea 🙂 What could be happier?

blue doors into private passageways

Fira is perched on the edge of an impressive multicolored cliff and offers a great panorama over the submerged volcano. Multitudes of white-painted houses sit on stepped streets beside blue-domed churches and sun-bathed verandas.  Plateia Theotokopoulou (Theotokopoulou Square) is the main square of Fira and is where all the locals meet. The narrow winding streets are filled with all kinds of cafes, restaurants, bars, night clubs, art galleries and shops selling gold jewelry, scarves, shoes, clothing, paintings, pottery and every other kind of imaginable souvenir.

pink flowers add an exclamation point to the blue & white architecture (!!)

I want to float in this sea!

pretty bannister 🙂

Early in the 19th century the capital of the island was moved from Pyrgos to Fira. After the earthquake of 1956 a part of the town was destroyed (only a small part of the 18th century buildings were saved).

motorbikes and wrought-iron gates

another church in Fira

white & blue with wrought-iron fence

I wander through the streets, stopping at the Catholic Cathedral, the Orthodox Cathedral, and numerous cute shops.  I locate the cable car, which I will need to take tomorrow morning to get to the old port for my volcano tour.

village of white

one of many domes in Fira

I’m awestruck by the spectacular scenery, the pristine lanes and dwellings, the royal blue domes mirroring the impossibly blue Mediterranean Sea. I’m drawn into shops full of colorful goods and want to buy them all. I don’t know why, but I always have the urge to “own” beauty, but of course, it is an impossible and bottomless desire to fulfill.  I buy some scarves and a colorful embroidered bag that the shopkeeper tells me is made in Thailand.  Everywhere I go, I encounter the global nature of the marketplace.

another idyllic setting

I wonder if people who live here become immune to the beauty of this place, like many of us do when we live in a place, day in and day out.  I’m only here for 4 days, so I can’t imagine growing bored with it.   My overall feeling is awe.  I am awestruck.  I’m also at peace, loving the lifestyle, the easy-going pace.  I think I could stay here for a good long time.

another church dome… 🙂

grape arbor at the opening to a restaurant

The only drawback is the crowds of tourists.  I’m sure August is worse than September, but the crowds still linger this month.  Mostly there are couples in this romantic place.  Middle aged couples close to me in age.  Or young exuberant and beautiful couples, holding hands, infatuated with one another and with this romantic place.  I feel like I’m in a romance, but not with a person.  With the mood, the atmosphere, the scenery, the lifestyle. With Greece.

reminds me of Italy with its peeling paint…

niches and pottery

donkey and cart

me with the local artwork!

However, I find myself yearning for more. This is one time that I wish I was here with the love of my life.

further along the village path

enigma cafe

local artwork

pretty umbrellas

About nomad, interrupted

As of August 10, 2017, I'm now taking a break from living abroad. I'm living in Oakton, Virginia and looking for my next opportunity. Last year, I lived in China and taught English at Sino-Canadian International College. I also taught at a university in Nizwa, Oman for two years, and in Korea's public schools for one year. I love to travel and have been to 30 countries.

32 responses »

  1. Reblogged this on a nomad in the land of nizwa and commented:

    A day in Fira {Santorini}

  2. Colline says:

    I would be awestruck too! It is so beautiful.

  3. Gorgeous place. Don’t know how you eliminated the tourists in your photos.

  4. autumninbruges says:

    Love the umbrellas! It looks exactly like in the movies! Wonderful pics

    • Thank you autumninbruges! It looks the same as in every photo I’ve ever seen too. It definitely doesn’t disappoint… except maybe the touristy nature of it. Possibly that’s why I felt more at home in Crete… 🙂

  5. We’ve walked the same beautiful streets, thanks for the memories! 🙂

    • Don’t you love it, Jennifer, when you come across another blogger writing about the same place where you’ve visited? I feel that so many times: “Oh! I’ve been there! Yes, I remember that!” It’s so much fun to see it through someone else’s eyes. 🙂

  6. adinparadise says:

    Fabulous photos again, Cathy. I think I need to go back to Santorini and do all the things you did. The cruise ship only gave us a few hours. Definitely not long enough.

    • I’m not sure there is really that much to “do” there anyway, Sylvia. At least you saw it, and I think that might have been enough. I would like to visit some of the less-touristy islands next time; and because of it’s down-to-earth flavor, Crete was actually my favorite!

      • I’ve only been to Crete in Greece. I chose it because I thought it would be less touristy, so I am glad to see that it was your favorite.

      • You picked the best of what I saw, anyway! Santorini is truly beautiful, but it is touristy and there is no way around it. But Crete, it’s just plain beautiful!

  7. ferragudofan says:

    what beautiful pictures – set off by such an amazing blue sky! thank you for sharing these with us – think I am going to add this to my wish list of places to visit now!

  8. How stunning is that!! And you look gorgeous!! ps how on earth did you end up in Nizwa? Intrigued.

    • Thank you so much, shallcomparethee! You are sweet! I taught ESL in Korea for one year, and after having spent some time in Egypt, I wanted to teach in the Middle East. Sadly, Oman is nothing like Egypt, but it is interesting nonetheless!

  9. Lucid Gypsy says:

    I love the domes, the restaurant, the sea! I also get frustrated with the ‘global’ shopping, i just want to buy something local.

  10. Carol says:

    It is just breathtaking! And your love of Greece makes me wonder if you’ll be looking for a teaching position there soon.

    • catbirdinoman says:

      Oh, Carol! How I wish I could find a job in Greece. But as an American, I’ve heard it’s next to impossible to get a job in the EU. Not to mention the financial crisis in Greece right now. I’m sure there would be no jobs for me, and even if I found one, I would expect very low pay. But we can always dream, right?

  11. I’ve always wanted to go and more than ever now

  12. What is to not love about this place…those views and colors that pop out against the whitewashed buildings. Beautiful umbrellas.

    • catbirdinoman says:

      Thank you Lynne! Yes, you’re right. Anyone would have a hard time finding fault with the views in Santorini!

  13. […] teaching English in Oman and she bides her time between Virginia and Greece. Her photos of stunning Fira, Santorini brought back many warm, wonderful memories for me. I hold Santorini close to my heart and it […]

  14. Marco says:

    Your pictures are perfect, a poster moment every one of them! Those cruise ships look so small down there in the bay! The donkey statue is cool and the house in need of paint is so picturesque! I’m going to have to convince my other half that it’s time for a holiday and neither Germany or Namibia this time!

    • Thank you so much, Marco! I love how the white cruise ships look on the blue water! I love houses with peeling paint, I don’t know why! And I love that little donkey statue. You should definitely convince your other half to go to Greece. It’s really quite romantic!

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