Santorini has been on my travel bucket list for years. Just shortly after D and I got married, I remember confessing to him how much I wished we'd had the money to honeymoon there. Jamaica was a wonderful spot for a honeymoon (and we had such an amazing time!), but Santorini just conveys a sense of romantic wonder that I'd never experienced before. I knew I had to get there someday. Someday when we weren't still in college living paycheck to paycheck. Almost 6 years later and planning for our first cruise, Sanotrini was tippy top of our list of ports we HAD to sail to. Even though we only had 6 hours to explore all this stunning whitewashed Greek island had to offer, there was no denying...it was one of my favorite stops on our trip.
Santorini is essentially the most mythical spot of the Cycladic Islands. Believed to be the "real Atlantis" written about by Plato, the island itself was formed out of lava from a volcanic eruption in 17th century BC. The eruption left a large caldera (giant crater...partially submerged underwater) surrounded by volcanic ash hundreds of meters deep, thus forming the hills and valleys of Santorini island and numerous small surrounding islands. The landscape is nothing short of fascinating. All around the island you can see jagged cliffs with the layers of volcanic rock and bright red sand exposed as the caldera collapses off into the sea. Juxtaposed to these massive cliffs are the famous white and blue buildings, littered with colorful flower boxes, expansive patios with inviting lounge chairs, and stunning views of the imposing caldera below. This place is a true (aspiring) photographer's dream!
Oia (pronounced ee-ya) was our first stop exploring the island. Just a 20-minute city bus ride west from Fira (where our ship was docked), Oia boasts some of the most beautiful scenery and sunsets I've ever witnessed. Although it drizzled on and off while we were there, you hardly needed the sun to capture the etherealness of Oia. I was worried that all my photos would come out dull against the cloudy sky, but if the sun had been shining, I surely would have been blinded by the stark white architecture. Every inch of Oia was gorgeous. From one vantage point you could see blue roofed churches and house on top of house fading into the cliffside. From another view, you could see the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, & Aspronisi floating out in the caldera. Turn to the west and you'd see a proud windmill, standing tall and charming atop a hotel in the island's oldest settlement. Oia was absolutely a dream...and my most favorite town on the island of Santorini. I only wish we had more time to enjoy it! Stay turned for photos of our time exploring and dining in Fira, Santorini's alluring capital city.