Thursday, November 18, 2010

Santorini, Greece II -- A Walk to Oia

One day we decided to take a walk from Fira, where we stayed, to the next big city over, Oia. The town is situated on the cliffs of the northernmost tip of the island and is the center of tourism in Santorini. Both cities are set on the coast, and a street along the scenic coastline connects the two cities. Yuriy and I set out so we could walk during sunset time since the street offers such magical views over the water. We were told that the walk will take 3 hours, but since we think we’re so fit and tough, we knew we could beat that time. We walked among many charming homes, restaurants, and posh hotels with pools overlooking the sea (many of which were closed for the season). Then we walked through desert landscape with enormous cacti, red dirt, and pretty succulents. Nearly the entire time, we could see the sea and nearby islands against the setting sun. Along the way, we were distracted with a cool hike up a peak that juts out into the water. This totally messed up our time. Our walk turned out to be 4 hours long and we reached Oia after the sun had already set, with just enough light in the sky to light our way.

At dusk, the city reminded me of a spa… the streets appear tiled with the light reflecting off them, and the lit white buildings with rounded corners look calming. The cool and neutral colors make the town appear clean and soothing. Oia was more upscale than Fira, the town we stayed in (and consequently was more expensive). We noticed fancy shops and cleaner, neater sidewalks. We really enjoyed staying in Fira though, because it was more of a local town (being the capital of the island) rather than just a tourist town.

We rewarded ourselves for the long walk with a nice [pricey] dinner and a bottle of wine to soothe our aching legs, then caught a taxi back home. After so many European pastry shops and bakeries, the exercise was probably long overdue for us. No doubt, this was one of the most beautiful [and longest] sunsets we’ve ever experienced.