Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Exploring Fira By Foot

Perched on the edge of a cliff, draped with white painted houses, adorned with blue domed churches and sun exposed verandas, Fira is as warm as the sun and refreshing as the Mediterranean.

It was noon when we started our ascent to Fira. The sun was high, but in November, the Mediterranean sun felt cool and a tad warm to the skin. Although I'm so far away from the Philippines, this type of weather reminds me of Baguio. It is funny how the places we love seem to be transposed every time we experience or see some place like it. I guess it is true - there's no place like home. But I can't be talking about Baguio right now, this post is about Fira.

Fira's streets are narrow, busy and labyrinthian.  No sooner as you start walking, you'll be attracted to stop by and check out the different shops and cafes that festoon your road to the top. It was sometimes confusing trying to figure out the difference between a private and a public walkway as some walkways lead to someone else's doorstep. Walking the streets of Fira, I remember that the sea was on my left and that I could see a glimpse or entirety of it anywhere I turn or look.  On this photo, our floating home awaits while the islands of Nea Kameni and Thirasia serve as lookouts.
For lunch, there were so many coffee shops to choose from and they all promised a beautiful view of the sea, mouth-watering, sticky Baklava and a cup of Greek coffee. And since I'm a coffeeholic, I was interested in tasting the Greek coffee. I remember that our Turkish guide talked about the on-going debate on who makes the best coffee - Greeks or Turks. Well, when we finally found a place to eat lunch, I ordered Greek coffee (I posted about it here.); it was a caffeine shock to my system.
I thought this bar sign is very catchy. If I had more time to spare in Fira, it would have been nice to sit down, enjoy a drink or two, have nutella crepes (posted here), and relax.
The streets go up and down. Some streets lead to more streets. Some streets lead to someone else's private home, veranda or yard. It was funny because in my quest to photograph the views of Santorini, I found myself several times unknowingly walking into someone else's veranda or yard. Even if no one else is around, I kept saying, "Sorry."
If only our ship can wait there for as long as I wanted it to be, I'd stay in Santorini for a very, very long time. At least, that is until I'm ready to leave, but I wonder if I'll ever get to that point. Santorini has been on my travel list for such a long time that finally seeing it, I don't want to leave, I don't want to forget and I want to feel every single breath of air and every ray of sun on my skin; that's how excited I was.

It was common to see hotels, houses or rental homes perched on the cliff like this. This way, vacationers can wake up invigorated to the sight and sound of the sea. It must be nice eating breakfast or lunch while enjoying such a spectacular view.
Looking down, the houses look like stairs to reaching the sea. Santorini is so beautiful and I could sit in one spot for a whole day and just take in the views and breathe in the beauty.
Walking around Fira is comparable to watching a photo presentation slide. As you walk through the town, you'll be rewarded with one beautiful view after another. A day in Fira isn't enough to experience everything, so with our remaining time, I clicked and shoot with my camera trying to capture, immortalize what I have seen. For me, photos are nothing compared to experiencing the soothing Mediterranean air, the noise of the people shopping for souvenirs, the huffing and puffing of out-of-shape tourists, the sound of Greek language, the smell of chilled wine being poured to a glass and the soft click clock of the Donkeys' hooves as they hit the pavement.


  1. this place is meant to be savored thru a weeklong stay at least, but a brief taste is okay too.

    what a gorgeous dreamy place this is. i hear the weather is horrible in the summertime.

  2. Oh it is so pretty. You make it come alive so well with your words.

  3. hey, it's springtime on your blog banner! just a few weeks to go!

    i know that experience of being in a foreign place which reminds you of your native home. a sense of vague familiarity in a foreign land. i think if we look beyond what makes a place foreign, we will find a piece of home in it...no matter where we are in the world! each place is a doppelganger of another. after all, we live in the same planet!

  4. kayni, ang ganda ganda! super!

    you've hit the point i've been trying to tell way back: you will learn and experience much much more when traveling by walking! :)

  5. so lovely! if i could wake up every day in such a sight, it's difficult to see how a day could not be a beautiful day.

  6. Gorgeous, beautiful, picturesque I would probably ran out of adjectives to describe such an idyllic place.

    Btw did you try ouzo? I always made it a point to try the local wine/beer of the cities I visited. That's bcoz I was such a highly 'spirited' person. LOL The keyword here is "was". :D

  7. I like the way you took the third photo. Did you observe something similar to that scene from Sisterhood of Traveling Pants wherein visitors ride the horse and are taken through the narrow trails to someone's house?

  8. @ Photo Cache, The weather was mild and cool when we were there. I'm not sure how it is in the summer. A week stay would be really nice.

    @ Loree, Thank you. I'm not a good writer but I try :).

    @ Faery, Absolutely, "we live in the same planet."

    @ Grace, Walking is the best way to explore a destination. Kasama pa ang exercise.

    @ Mordsith, I so agree.

    @ Daphne, No, I didn't try ouzo. I wish I did, but I can't drink any alcoholic beverages due to my aplastic anemia.

    @ Wits, Unfortunately, I didn't see anything similar to the donkey ride on that said movie, but I did see tourists riding donkeys from the old harbor to the town of Fira. It's quite a scene...lol.

  9. Santorini is really beautiful - very romantic specially at Sunset.. The V. and I love the Greek Islands - people are friendly, not too pricey, and best of all not too crowded despite tourist season! hopefully we could go again one of these days..