Oia Santorini – Great walk prt III: mesmerising Santorini – Skaros

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Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”

                                                                                        - Miriam Beard

I know I have said this before about Santorini…but if there is a place with better views somewhere on this planet I would like to hear about it. Just when you think that you’ve seen everything the island has to offer…. it has another surprise for you. I promised you a glimpse of Skaros and it’s church and last week I took the walk alone… early morning, on a perfectly calm day. The anticipation was high…I’ve wanted to visit this site for more than 20 years, so while everyone was still asleep I got on the Vespa and rode to Imerovigli. Skaros is in front of this village and it is the site of an old venetian fort, destroyed by earthquakes long ago. This is not on the Oia to Fira path, but its a place that is truly magical and should not be missed.

The walk started around 6.45am and already the mythical “Greek light” that photographers the world over talk about was working it’s magic. The deep, blue water of the caldera was perfectly still and the air had a certain early morning freshness about it. I knew it was going to be magical, I just didn’t know the mesmerising extent of the beauty I was about to witness….

 

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descending down the steep steps the cliff hotels
were still in the shadows… 

 

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Skaros stood tall in front of me…

 

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walking down the steps I tried to imagine how
the Venetians built their fort all those centuries earlier..  

 

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this was not a small watch tower…
it was a fort by any standards, although little of it
remains intact today…

 

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as I crossed the narrow passage joining the Skaros rock
to the main island I glanced either side of me, 
it took my breath away ! ! !
(this is the Oia side view)

 

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to my left was Fira and the cruise ships
that had already arrived…

 

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I’ve seen Oia from afar so many times before….
but never from this spot, in this light…

 

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the other side was just as breathtaking, I just stood still
and took photos…

 

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I wanted to get to the other side so I followed
the tiny path around the old fort…

 

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with the sun rising the magical light was changing,
creating new shadows below…

 

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the tiny path kept taking me around to the other
side but I was finding it difficult to look down
instead of all around me…

 

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the full majesty of the Santorini caldera below me…

 

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at the very tip of the rock I noticed the remnants
of what must have been the fort watch-post for pirate ships;
I stood on it, my heart racing with excitement…

 

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there are certain times when your eyes see something
that your brain simply can not process.
What can you possibly say when you look at this ?

and then I looked down… 

 

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and there it stood… the mythical church of Skaros…
my twenty-plus year wait was finally over…

 

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I took one last look at Oia in the distance…

 

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and started walking down the steps to the church…

 

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and after all these years of waiting to see it up close…. there it was !

 

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there are many churches on Santorini built on
spectacular spots… but none more so than this !

 

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the elegant simplicity I fell in love with on the Greek islands…

 

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staggering beauty below…

 

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the always understated elegance of Greek island churches…

 

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and in front of it… what can you possibly say
about the view in front of it?
It’s 250m up from sea level and at that time of
the morning the light is quite simply inspiring… 

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the narrow passage in front of  Oia (on the right)…

 

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cruise ships below…

 

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on the way back I looked for and found a secret little path
the old locals talk about, takes you around the rock 
instead of having to walk back up to the top…

 

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following the side of the cliff it allows you to look at the rock
formations as you walk around…

 

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I wouldn’t recommend it for vertigo sufferers… the cliff face is
an almost vertical drop to thedeep blue water below…

 

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tiny wild fig tree growing on the very edge of the cliff…

 

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it was time to leave the mystical & magical Skaros and head
back up to the village above. The old retaining walls built
by the Venetians still clearly visible after all those years… 

 

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as I got to the top I realised that most of the guests overlooking
the rock were still asleep and I doubt they will ever venture down
the path to cross over to the Skaros rock and explore the hidden treasures there.
If only they knew what they were missing… 

 

The images posted are only a fraction of those taken during this memorable walk on Skaros. Of all the magical spots I have seen on Santorini I have never been as stunned as I was that morning. It was a morning of discovery and wonder…inspiration and contemplation. Walking back up the cliff steps I realised I had seen something very few people see on this island. The sheer beauty of the place was quite simply breathtaking and it had a profound effect on me as I stood there. I realised, amongst other things, that although I would have made this walk at some point… it was writing this little blog that made me do it that day. It has made me appreciate this magical place so much more, just knowing that I am sharing it with people all over the world.

To all of you that leave comments of thanks…. no, THANK YOU! 

 

PS: also wanted to say hi to the young Canadian couple that came into Allison’s studio this afternoon… hope you enjoyed your dinner in Oia ;-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 responses to “Oia Santorini – Great walk prt III: mesmerising Santorini – Skaros

  1. wow, what more can I say… I would love to live your life for a year or so. Take it all in and then move on to another wonder or the world. If only I could be so lucky….:)

  2. I think Susan said it best on the previous post… having the the feelings of jealousy and congratulations are perfect! So well said… and you have to add joy… pure joy. Thank You again.

  3. Phenomenal images. In my opinion Santorini is the most beautiful place on Earth. Skaros has always fascinated me. In all of our visits to Santorini we have never explored Skaros. Thanks to your blog I am a little closer and very envious.

  4. Absolutely stunning. Living in the midst of midwest cornfields, it is hard to believe there are actually places this beautiful on earth. You are one lucky guy.

  5. I have just returned from visiting Oia and your journal and photos have me determined to return and follow the route you described. Thank you! The beauty of your photos and your words is stellar! THANK YOU!

  6. Hi Michael

    Thank you for sharing these stunning pictures and your life in Oia. Hope to visit one day very soon!

    S

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