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zebec Sep 21st, 2021 04:20 PM

Santorini TR photo essay: Metaxi mas part two
"We felt as though Ulysses must have, gazing astern while some island of happy sojourn dropped below the horizon."
(P.L. Fermor)

Kalisis mera! Welcome to the second part of our 2014 Greek Trip report. Here we change the channel to the isle that Triton gave to the Argonauts, and which was named by the Venetians (Santa Irina): our modern Santorini. Our similar sections for Folegandros, Patmos and Samos will follow further down the road.
Before I might forget, a salute to our several Fodors Greek destination experts without whom--you know who you are. And also, let's not overlook the recent horrors suffered by Greece, as it battles fires plus ongoing economic chaos (a Greek word, no?). A Greek cultural icon also just passed: the multi-talented Theodorakis. We'll include one of his songs as part of the ongoing musical interludes that break up the photo collection. The imagery will be mostly taken from Oia, Imerovigli, Perissa, Exo Gonia and Fira.

I began researching Santorini back in the early '80s, with the red Baedekers guidebook as my bible. Ever since then, the unique island has held an especially powerful lure. On this, our most recent visit, we sandwiched a return to Folegandros between two Santorini stays. First, we rested by the black sands of Perissa Beach, staying at wonderful Zorsi's Hotel. The second stay was based in Imerovigli at Folio Blanca's 'Adam & Eve' yposkafa, or cave home. Santorini certainly has its share of commercial tourism, but its natural beauty still makes it a must-see, one of travel's Great Moments.
As always, we'll begin with an overview. Enjoy.
*click on images for possibly better view
We got lucky. Our flight from Athens to Santorini was overbooked and volunteers were requested to change their itneraries. Before the Aegean Air rep had finished her sentence over the departure gate PA, I had sprinted to her desk. For our flexibility, we were given 500 Euros cash, meal certificates, plus future free flights. Our re-booking was less than 3 hours later.
On that eventual flight to the isle, we chatted with a Seattle nurse. She'd once worked with Rick Steves' ex-wife, also a nurse, in Sweden.
Santorini has a winemaking history. Maybe seek out Sigalas or Argyroa 'Mavrotragano' red? Dionysus would approve. So would Bacchus. And Liber too.
Fellow Fodorite 'CafeGoddess'--do you recognize this shot?
A professional recording studio called 'Black Rock' exists on Santorini, down by the ancient Akrotiri ruins. Bjork and Joe Bonamassa are just two of the many artists who've made albums there.
The main town of Fira remains the epicenter. It is always busy. We sought out the classic 'Nikolas' taverna there, in order to gift waitstaff something special. That was the enlarged photo portrait that I'd once taken of the owner back in '92. That owner was off on errands. With perfect dramatic timing, he arrived back at the taverna just we were leaving. Other diners gave a round of applause for the now-old man. Best. Damned. Olives!!!
In 630 BC, locals left the isle to colonize Cyrene in Africa. But archaeologists still do not agree on whatever happened to those folks who fled the original BIG BANG volcanic eruption that created the caldera which we see today.
Cycladic islanders do not always have nice things to say about their fellow Greeks who live on other isles. Apparently, residents of other isle refer to Santorinians as 'the sleepy dust eyes people' i.e. not very sharp. This gent lived in the Lotza district between Oia and Finikia.
Whereas other isles are known for their cats, It seems that Santorini is known among animal lovers as 'the dog island'. This canine ran out of gas on Candouni road.
Sailors love Santorini, as do divers. The latter come for the sea cave near Athinios bay.
A number of attractive beaches serve visitors. Some have actual attached villages. Let's visit one now: Perissa.

zebec Sep 21st, 2021 04:46 PM
Perissa is a great place. By design, we stayed there to shake off jetlag. Good vibes throughout. Very good restaurant row. Stargazing.
Simple pleasures await visitors, away from the noise and crowds of Fira.
Holy Cross church belltower.
Those who get up for a sunrise stroll will not regret it here. We were also told that during the fall, full moons here are pretty awesome. We just missed one by just a few days.
Timios Stavros church.
as above
This feral feline was heavily pregnant.
Perissa blends into its neighbouring beach village Perivolos. They join the other beach village opposite (Kamini) as safe places for family holidays.
Grape vines make for decor all over the isle.
Detail from lovely vase.
Pomegranates were the symbol of The Queen of the Gods 'Hera'.
Mount Mesa Vouno is the northern end of Perissa. The mount actually has a small chapel half way up, built into a crevice!
Customized church window glass.
A volcanic history will always result in colorful rocks. *Time for Exo Gonia village now.

zebec Sep 21st, 2021 05:20 PM
We met Snoop Dog, in whose eyes the sleepy village of Exo Gonia was reflected. Endahksi!
Exo Gonia has a well-known taverna.
It is high up and thus has some very good views.
Farmers on the isle told us about that terrible year 1956, when a swollen river caused destruction even before that horrific earthquake.
We went to the Exo Gonia public library, but it turned out that they'd already loaned their book out.
This trio of ladies were actually in Pyrgos,a nearby town.
Pyrgos: old metal fence detail.
Lotsa' blue across the Mediterranean.
Blue decor.
Old Greek coins.
Glass bead lamp.
Traditional church window.
Greece Profonde.
See the FOR SALE sign. Would you like to live in Exo Gonia?
as above
Next stop: *Imerovigli.

zebec Sep 21st, 2021 05:25 PM

But first as promised, some music. Here is Stelios Kazantzidis doing the Theodorakis' RIP song 'Stin Anatoli'.
Wonderful stuff.

zebec Sep 21st, 2021 05:30 PM

Now for the duo Anemos, with their song 'Miazi me Fotia' ('he takes so many damn photos!!'). Love this evocative song. Someone has put it to another Greek foto collection.

zebec Sep 21st, 2021 05:36 PM

and not to overlook a Greek classic: Nikos Papazoglou doing his 'H Eksidi tis gyftias'. Genius music from decades past.

zebec Sep 21st, 2021 08:07 PM
Sunrise...and a new day breaks through in Imerovigli. The town is the highest lookout point along the caldera. Higher room rates makes this a more costly choice than most, but the views are worth it.
Giorgos church.
Imerovigli as seen from Fira.
Anastazi church.
Church gate from above.
Santorini is very popular with models, wedding shoots plus anyone with a Go-Pro.
The doorway of our Imerovigli rental.
Local belltower.
Wonderful views both day and night. This is the inhabited island of Therasia, across from Imerovigli.
The many colors of Imerovigli.
Pumice-stone-as-decor everywhere.
But chic creamy white is also prevalent.
as above
Clouds were the symbol of Zeus. L-R: Nea Kamini, Palia Kamini, tiny Aspronisi then Therasia.
One of the main draws in Imerovigli is the iconic Skaros Rock, a great place for a fun hike. One passes the ruins of an old Venetian castle along the way. You can see the trail here at far right.
The main goal of this trail is to reach Theokepasti, one of Greece's most improbably-situated churches. This is a shadow taken from its gate.
Greek 'inukshuk' stone piles line the trail as well.
The Skaros path passes plenty of evidence of the isle's volcanic past.
The views are excellent, here looking southbound.
Orange lichen.
Another smaller chapel at the trailhead
Swanky and semi-swanky hotels with pools abound on the isle. This one is in Imerovigli.
Picturesque plant.
"MY DADDY'S HOME!!!" Is that name on dad's butt his own, or does it belong to his son? *Next: Fira & Firostefani.

zebec Sep 21st, 2021 08:15 PM

Musical interlude time. Here is a return to the versatile Giannis Kotsiras. This one is one of pop-oriented easy listening numbers 'Sagapo'.

zebec Sep 21st, 2021 08:20 PM

Mental conditioning is a fact. Every single time that I hear Greek music, I can taste the tzatziki in my mouth. Just like one of Pavlov's salivating dogs!
Manolis Angelopoulis and his song 'O Prosfigas'. *Perhaps one of our Greek-speaking fellow Fodorites could translate some of these songs for us?

zebec Sep 21st, 2021 10:06 PM
Red peppers in Fira.
Other peppers in Fira.
A quieter lane just south of the largest Fira Monastery. *Back in '92 at the smaller, Catholic 'St. Catherine' monastery in Firostefani, I once tape-recorded with their permission some Dominican nuns rehearsing obscure hymns. The experience was incredible, with the audio component blending with the setting and an ethereal vibe. A peak experience.
Clever modern wall mural imitates ancient artistic style very well.
Fira got style.
The Fira periphery spills down to the old Yalos harbour.
Local motif. Maybe Hermes, god of Travel?
Local grocery shop near Christi Heroon church.
Restaurant signage.
Firostefani lantern shadow.
Pretty sure that this was also Firostefani, but stand corrected.
Fira cat.
Fira Art gallery.
Fira statuary: cherub God Pan.
Pan's partner on tambourine.
Restaurant produce promo. Spare a thought for taverna workers here. They do not get a single day off for about 6 months, toiling during high season through 14 hour days.
More kitschy decor: a close-up of the dry-docked traditional fishing rowboat.
A local bride and
her groom.
Another (Brit) bride and
her shadow. Next: Oia.

zebec Sep 21st, 2021 10:22 PM

This musical interlude features a pair of classic rock songs with related Greek themes. First, Cream's 'Tales of Brave Ulysses.'
I also want to bring attention to the Greek classic rock band 'Socrates' (drank the conium). Maybe those with a better knowledge of their best stuff could post that here for us all to hear?

zebec Sep 21st, 2021 10:27 PM

and this, also with lyrics. 'Achilles Last Stand' by Johnny Shandoo & the Pyramids.
"When the mighty arms of Atlas hold the heavens from the earth."

Adelaidean Sep 22nd, 2021 03:18 AM

A joy to view those photos, zebec, the light, the detail, the people, the moment.

zebec Sep 22nd, 2021 03:19 AM

Finally, some shots of fabled Oia, with a few stragglers from the southern end of the isle at Santos Winery. Oia is very beautiful and every traveler should see it at least once.
The famed hiking trail from Imerovigli up to Oia. Finikia is seen here @ far left. Bring water and a hat. Do not bring young children.
Oia got style too.
Oia got style two.
Oia got style three.
Oia got style four.
Religious art.
Not all residences there are chic and slick.
A typical building from the less-popular back-section of Oia, near the youth hostel.
A 'meloi' traditional windmill in the Sideras district.
A white urn from the front of
the Kapelle church.
Colorful lodgings signage.
Art shop sign.
Plants throughout.
Mom and her pair of kittens.
This whiskery one lapped a bowl of milk, before retreating into the jardin.
Colorful churches abound,
such as Spiradon and
this creamy one whose name escapes plus
others found within Oia's Goulas district. Note the ruined 15C Venetian Byzantine castle, Agios Nikolas, serving as the popular sunset vista point (top left). The blue-domed ones in the foreground are sometimes closed.
A structure in the old Palia neighbourhood.
Clay harpy.
Stairs everywhere in this steep area.
More stairs.
This blue house needed a new paint job.
A custom door stoked the imagination.
Best to visit Oia early morn or at night.
Three bells and three shadows.
A single bell during the famed Oia sunset.
Some homes have taken to placing large circular clumps of dried grape vine branches atop their roofs as a deterrent to insensitive tourists, who think nothing of jumping up there to include themselves in a selfie.
Clay pots, urns and amphorae everywhere. Some are painted purple or black or white.
as above
as above above
Did I mention amphorae?
Oia is a great easy walking locale.
Some structures were very unique in their design.
Chimney cover thing.
For every gnarly facade, a stylish one for contrast.
A poster for the local museum.
A depiction of the harpist Terpsi(chore), one of the Nine Muses. She represented the arts including dancing and pleasure.
Door knocker.
Green glass and metal pair of swordfish, art from one of the several local galleries.
Whimsical art from the same. This life-sized depiction showed a lovestruck suitor taking a red rose up a ladder to his waiting (naked) lady at the top.
A rare quiet moment devoid of Oia crowds.
Blue domes times two-and-a-half.
Blue dome with pumice facade.
Blue dome with illuminated window.
The Son of Blue Domes.
The Return of the Son of Blue Domes.
Neptune and Poseidon and other nautical-maritime themes are found throughout Santorini.
Antique Turk-style coffee, dark and powerful.
Ah Oia--it never gets tired.
And now, the opposite end of the island: Santos winery at the top of Megalochori, just north of the Akrotiri ruins.
Three whites and a red.
Winery jardin fleurs.
View from the winery up towards Imerovigli.
Same, with mining area in foreground.
Sunset one.
Remarkable shadows as sunset approaches.
Sunset two.
Peace Always and 'sto kalo'.

zebec Sep 22nd, 2021 03:28 AM

Some traditional 'rebetika' as part of our final musical interlude. Sort of like old Greek blues, all hashish and tough guys who'll stab you where you stand. Here is Giorgos Mouphlouzeles singing 'To Sakaki' ('the jacket').

zebec Sep 22nd, 2021 03:38 AM

Lastly, a quieter instrumental to finish this overloooooooooooooong photo essay: 'Piraeus lads' from Zorba. *Those interested in pursuing Greek music may want to check out National Geographic's old 'Music of Greece' vinyl Lp, a superb album featuring a wide variety of styles taped live in the field back in the '60s. The release date sometimes shows 1977 (??) and for further confusion, there exists two different album cover photos! Worth looking for nonetheless.

Adelaidean Sep 22nd, 2021 03:55 PM

We were posting at the same time.....
another fabulous set, zebec.
You are so talented.

zebec Sep 22nd, 2021 04:24 PM

Well thank you Ade, I appreciate your kind words as always. Ironically, my fave landscape shot from that entire trip somehow just got lost in the shuffle! God's sense of humour. Will see if we can't locate it for eventual adding to here.

Btw, the well-known guitar player for one of our local 70s bands, a group called 'Max Webster', once was part of the backup band for a popular Greek singer. That guitarist, Kim Mitchell, did so on the isle of Rhodes in the early 70s before returning here to form and lead the aforementioned 'Max'. They were an excellent band, vastly-underrated, and signed with the management for our other local heros 'Rush'. I tell you this coz in a few of their Max songs if one listens closely, one detects the earlier Greek influence.

I am done. the shopper en route to our nearby Greektown

zebec Sep 23rd, 2021 08:51 AM

Ade, we found that rascal missing shot. It had gotten slobbering drunk at the Palomino club last night and was found collapsed asleep behind a dumpster. I am done. the end.
Santorini offers several vistas where wonderful views may be had.

Adelaidean Sep 24th, 2021 01:59 AM

Zebec, I’ve viewed your photos several times (as have many others, they’ve just not commented) - and each time I see something else, a detail, a feeling, a mood.
Really outstanding photos.

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