Fira, while more touristy and not quite as enchanting as Oia, surprised me with its winding cobblestone streets and charming Greek character. Truth is, it's hard to find the words to describe how each part of the island of Santorini made me feel; the memories it evokes every time I flip through the photos I took. Oia made me feel like I was submerged within a scene of Mamma Mia! or The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Colorful, rustic, dreamy...off the beaten path. I was on the verge of bursting out in an ABBA medley around every turn. Fira, on the other hand, conjured up feelings reminiscent of My Life in Ruins. Misfit tourists, souvenir t-shirts, crowded streets, and ouzo drinking. Funny how I've become able to compare my travels to blockbuster films. Hollywood isn't too far off from the real thing, folks. Granted, you should never replace traveling the world for movie watching. But it's a good place to start.
After exploring Oia, we hopped the city bus and made our way back to Fira with just 2.5 hours left to tour before our ship pulled up anchor and sailed away to Mykonos. We wandered around, shopped (I bought the most gorgeous pair of olive wood serving spoons!), and dined on authentic Greek fare while overlooking the sun-drenched caldera. The baked feta cheese, homemade moussaka, and local Santorini wine I consumed almost put me into a complete tourist coma. I can't tell you how delicious that meal was. Or how wonderful our dinner company was. Dining with new friends was the cherry on top of my already too-sweet-for-words day in Santorini. As we walked back down the zigzag donkey trail (the cable car seemed too rushed...we wanted to savor our last moments in Fira, even if they were littered with donkey poop), I couldn't help but stop every few seconds to snap a photo. The sun had finally made its appearance and was hovering coyly over the water, projecting amber streaks of light across the cliffs above. It was like some kind of dream I didn't want to wake up from...even the part where I slipped on a pile of "organic mud" and crashed down to my knees on the donkey trail. I know, ew. But, the bruise I subsequently got just reminded me of our fabulous 6 hours in Santorini. I definitely left a piece of my heart there.
Guess I'll just have to go back there someday and retrieve it.