We spent the past three days on Santorini, in the incredible town of Oia (pronounced ee-yah). Oia is a town that tumbles down the hillside toward the sea. Steps connect the
various villas and “cave dwellings,” creating a labyrinthine effect.The main areas of Oia are strictly pedestrian and, would you believe, the street is paved with marble. The houses are mainly whitewashed, with shutters in varying shades of blue. However Santorini is not as strict as some islands in Greece, it would seem. We also saw a few ochre homes, as well as some Venetian red. Even some tile roofs. Add ot this cascades of fuchsia bougainvillia and beautiful terracotta pots…magical!
We stayed in an absolutely glorious little six-room cave hotel called Kyma Villa (www.kimavilla.com) that was recommended by Sierra Dew, whose every recommendation has been spot on. It has an infinity pool that looks, and feels, as if it drops right off into the caldera, which is now the Aegean Sea. Our room was a little apartment about three steps from the pool. It was so perfectly picturesque that all we wanted to do was float in the pool, stare at the sailing ships and yachts on the sea and read our books by the pool, under an umbrella.
If you go to Santorini, be aware of a few things. First, we recommend avoiding Fira, the main hillside town, altogether. Sadly, tourism has really wrecked it. Oia can also get ridiculously overrun with tourists when the cruise ships come in. They literally arrive by the hundreds, pouring into the tiny street all at the same time, one shift in the morning and one in the afternoon. It’s really obnoxious. Since they only have about an hour to explore, they are rushing about aggressively.
So the secret is to get up at about 7 a.m. and walk out to the castle and to the points where everyone rushes to see the sunsets in the evening. Enjoy having it all to yourself in the quiet. Take lots of photos, of course, as Santorini has to be one of the most photogenic places on earth. Then go back to your cave hotel and relax all day until an evening stroll and dinner. Our favorite restaurant was Blue Sky, where we had the best tzatziki of the trip, as well as a yummy salad of greens, figs, pine nuts and pomegranate.
To get down to the water you have to walk 250 steep marble steps (each way), which we did not do. We did see some folks on donkeys going up and down, though.
Mostly what we did was rest, relax, float and paint. Jerry was totally inspired by the architecture, the caldera and its islands, the secret little steps and walkways leading to mysterious doorways. It is really difficult to describe – it’s simply beyond workds.
Suffice to say, Santorini was like a little vacation within a vacation, more than anyone deserves!
– Paula Rath