Monday, April 14, 2008

Island Calm


We felt quite comfortable taking the Metro and made our way to the airport. Surprisingly, partway there, the train stopped and the lights went out. One woman gestured to us to get off; apparently we needed to change trains midway but this was not shown on the train schedule. It was interesting to be on the train with all the local residents on their way to work. The crowds thinned out as we got closer to the airport. I’ve noticed that the young Greek girls are quite beautiful. We arrived early at the airport – the place was full of travelers and their cigarettes. It is hard to escape the smoky air of Greece. Our flight to Santorini was short and the Santorini airport is about the size of the one in Champaign-Urbana-one runway and a simple terminal. Our rental car was ready for us and we took the somewhat stressful short drive to Oia. The roads are narrow, drivers aggressive, and take to passing anytime and anywhere. Sharing the road with trucks and huge tour buses mades it a real challenge. Driving through Fira is not for the faint of heart.

We had a difficult time finding the hotel, driving up and down the street several times. I ended up getting out and walking, finding that Delfini Villas is actually not on the street, but in the village along its walking path. The village is breathtakingly beautiful, the white buildings hug the sides of the cliffs and are contrasted by bright blue, burnt orange, yellow and other tropical colors. The stone and marble walking path run the length of the village. There was a distinct charm to the place and it being out of season, was quiet and relaxing. Our room was tiny but the balcony overlooked the caldera and the sea below. I think it was the most beautiful place we have ever stayed. We meandered through the village taking pictures; the painted staircases lead to alleys which take you to different villas, homes, views of the village and the sea below. In the evening, we made our way down the rocky steps to the harbor below where the Taverna Katina had just opened for the season. The waiter introduced us to eggplant salad, a cold dish of soft white eggplant, onions, vinegar and olive oil. He also recommended tomato fritters-a fried cake of chopped tomatoes. We selected a few small fresh mullets which they cooked for us on the grill. It was a perfect ending to a beautiful day. Oia is famous for its sunsets, but alas, today was heavily overcast.

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