It was bitterly cold…been raining the day before (icy drops) and all the signs were there for snow, although nobody in the village believed me. The baker said “it NEVER snows here” (which is not quite right…it snowed in ’94).
The next morning I was due to fly out at 7am for a 5-day trip to Northern Greece.. I got up early and got ready…having to carry all my bags up the steps of Oia all the way to the car park…in the dark…freezing cold. I got in the car and started driving and by the time I got to Imerovigli (10 mins from Oia) the snow was falling heavily. I drove to the airport but there were no planes to be seen…everything had been cancelled. I started to drive back to Oia and the snow was falling heavily so I stopped for a coffee in Fira thinking it will pass quickly….bad decision. After having coffee I spoke with Michael (friend & bank manager) and we both agreed we would be laughing about this in summer. Meantime the snow had soon covered the roads and all parked cars along the way. It looked surreal to see snow falling in the same place that everyone associates with summer heat and endless cloudless days.
I continued my drive back to Oia…trying to take photos along the way…not easy when the road is icy and there is a blinding snowstorm to drive through. The photos below are some that I managed to take through the car windows. A day to remember to be sure….a rare treat on this island.
Now I know….for all of you that live in countries / cities where it snows heavily every year…you will think that this looks more like heavy hail, than snow. But hey….this IS Santorini, and this much snow on this island is a twice-in-50-years event. Lets face it…NOBODY goes to the Greek islands for the snow.
For those of you that have been to Oia the following pic is of the steps in front of the Red Bicycle cafe. By this stage there is a small blizzard and without gloves my hands are frozen trying to carry my bags back down to the house.
In typical Santorini fashion the same afternoon was sunny….all traces of snow had disappeared (although still bitterly cold) and the whole event was just another topic of conversation over coffee the next morning. I remember sending several SMS messages that day to friends overseas…..not one believed me.
Just for the record…the total population of Oia during the snow storm (at least in the old part of the village – on the cliff side) was me and three dogs….all of which slept in the cave house with me. Its almost surreal to think you have a village that’s visited by thousands of people each nightly summer sunset… all to yourself .