Monthly Archives: September 2009

“Summer Lovers” giveaway – Santorini romance short stories

There are countless places around the world that cater to the romantics. Some rely on man-made scenery, while others rely on nature’s beauty to create the ambience. There are hotels and resorts, casinos and restaurants, tropical islands and mountain chalets.

And then…. then my dear friends there is Santorini. 

I don’t know the number of people that met and  fell in love on Santorini, or the number of people that got married here, or the number of people that came here together and fell in love all over again. My guess is that its a big number… and there is good reason for that. It’s a romantic’s paradise.

Whether it’s the mesmerising view, the wild scenery, the laid back atmosphere, the white cavehouses or the endless blue below…there is a certain magic that can’t be described. It can’t be captured in words or photographs and it can’t be reproduced elsewhere in the world. It is unique. It is the endearing, mystical charm of Santorini.

So recently I was reading some comments, as well as some emails and it struck me yet again how many of you have stories about this island. Stories about your visits here or stories about how you came to fall in love with Santorini from afar. True stories or dreams and sometimes a combination of the two. 

Many of you have described incredible memories you have from this island, while others have described vivid dreams that have played in your minds for years. I was thinking to myself that it would be wonderful to read more of these stories and dreams. To allow many of you to express your thoughts and feelings about this island. To give you an opportunity to reminisce and/or dream.

As you know there are many awards floating around in the blogosphere, under a variety of names and titles. The only award this humble blog has ever given out to it’s readers and visitors has been the infamous “grilled octopus & ouzo” award. Nothing special, I know. But… and it’s a big BUT dear friends. What makes the “grilled octopus” award special is that you can’t just visit the blog to collect it…. no no no! You have to collect it in person, right here… in Oia, Santorini, Greece !

So let me tell you what I am thinking dear friends. I am asking you to write in with your story about your romantic time on Santorini, or your dream of a romantic holiday on Santorini and the writer of the best story will get the award. Which of course means you will have to come here to collect it ;-)

This of course means that you and your partner (I hate that word…but you know what I mean) will need to stay somewhere….somewhere special. So I spoke to some friends and we have arranged 5 nights in two of the island’s most luxurious hotels. We’re not talking simple rooms… or “villas” that face nowhere and you need 45 minutes by mule to get to them. Nope… we are talking luxury that will spoil you for life and endless views of that special caldera blue.

Now… while you are here you will obviously need to have a romantic dinner, so we’ve arranged that. You will need to have a personalised tour of Santo Wines, the island’s finest winery, as well as a tasting of their wonderful wines whilst looking at the volcano below… so we’ve arranged that as well. 

There are also a few other things that we have arranged… but more about that on Friday. Needless to say that you will be made to feel special on your visit to Santorini. Oh and I almost forgot… you will need to collect your award for your wonderful story. For that of course there will be some grilled octopus and some ouzo drinking involved. That means I will have to join you at a table by the water at Ammoudi…(see the photos of the water here) watching the cruise ships sail past Oia on a clear night  as we indulge in some fine taverna food and a glass of ouzo or three.

All you have to do is write your wonderful story in 1000-words or less. That’s it !

There will be a lot more on this Friday’s post with details of time frames for story submission, trip dates, photos and more details of the hotels and other venues involved etc.

Has it got you thinking?

;-) 

 

1001 Santorini nights

Santorini nights…will make you fall in love, will make you dream, will make you forget the world and lose yourself in the arms of your lover. Santorini nights will change you forever, will make you feel special…very very special. They will let your mind fly free and make your heart melt, will make you believe that everything is possible, that our world is a stunning place and that dreams really do come true if you “believe in yourself”.  

 

1001 Santorini nights

Just imagine it…

Can you?  

I have received so many emails with romantic stories from couples that have visited this island since I started this blog. Wonderful, inspiring stories. I have also heard from so many people that still haven’t managed to make it to Santorini… but dream about it daily. Many people who’s dream it is to come to this island… to “experience it”.

The “1001 Santorini nights” theme is all about these nights. If you have a story about a romantic night spent on Santorini… OR a romantic night you would like to spend on Santorini, I would love to hear about it ( oiadweller [at] yahoo [dot] com). Whether you have been here and you can tell us about it… or whether you have always dreamed about it and you can see it clearly in you mind…. tell us about it. 

What did you do… or what would you do?

If you have been here before you may just get to do it again… and if you haven’t been here but you have always dreamed of coming to Santorini, you may just get your wish ;-)

More details will be announced this coming Monday.

Havagreatweekend ;-)

PS: believe it or not the photo was taken by moi… so there !

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter to Neil Diamond !

Hi Neil,

been meaning to write you for a while but things keep getting in the way. You don’t know me but our lives have crossed paths a couple of times in the past. 

It all started back in early 70’s when “Hot August Night” hit the top of the charts in Australia and stayed there for what seemed an eternity.
I remember listening to all the tracks on the radio and like millions of people around the world, memorising the lyrics of most songs. 

Several years after you released the album you toured Australia and in Melbourne you played at the Myer Music Bowl… a park/garden setting that must have reminded you a lot of the Greek theatre in Los Angeles (you even acknowledged the “tree people” just as you did on the live album).
I worked at the concert that night and was lucky enough to be virtually under the stage for most of it… listening, watching the performance and observing the audience react. It was a very interesting night for me. It was the first time I witnessed the emotional power of a great performer.

I stood in the dark on the side, below the stage. I watched the anticipation on people’s faces and then I watched them being taken away… to wherever you wanted to take them. I saw them being lost in the moment… most of them not believing they were even there in person watching you sing. Then… at some stage during the concert you started to sing “Canta Libre”. Everyone was mesmerised. At the very start of the song I watched you play your guitar as you sang… your eyes tight shut. You could’ve heard a pin drop. You got further into the song and the emotion was building and building. I slowly turned to look at the audience… an incredible sight. There were grown men with tears in their eyes. Women with their hands over their mouths… eyes wide shut, watching and dreaming at the same time. You sang on…

“I got music runnin’ in my brain,
Ev’ry song with it’s own kind of meaning…”

 

You had them in the palm of your hand Neil… every last one of them.

Many years later (just before Christmas) I went to the toy store at the top of Beverly Drive in LA. It was a regular stop for me on every trip. Their “Ty” fluffy stuffed toys had become a huge hit with my girls back home and they eagerly awaited new additions to their collections every time I returned from my trips. That day I had seen the latest addition to the “Ty” teddy bear collection… a bright magenta/purple teddy which I knew would be a big hit with the girls. I looked at it and put it down on an empty part of the shelf, along with 3-4 other teddies I had chosen. I headed to the back of the store to look for a couple of toys for my son when you walked in with your friend/relative… an older, shorter gentleman. I have to tell you that the beard and hat didn’t do a very good job in disguising you. Anyway…I kept searching and you two started looking at the fluffy stuffed toys. Before long I looked up again and you had the purple teddy in your hands, holding it for minutes. Can’t tell you how disappointed I was. I couldn’t believe that of all the toys in the store you had to choose that one. I was kicking myself for not leaving my chosen toys at the sales counter instead of the shelf.

Bitterly disappointed I kept looking around when I noticed that you two were also coming to the back of the store to look for more toys. You had put the teddy on a different shelf… along with a couple of other things you had chosen. I guess we both made the same mistake that day. I walked up and took it off the shelf, along with all the other toys I had initially chosen and put it on the counter. The outrageously fem, red-headed male shop assistant looked at me and shook his head.

“Soooorrryyy… that one belongs to Mr Diamond”.

“But I had it before he did… I had it there with other toys I had chosen”.

“Maybe… but he didn’t know that and he chose it”.

“Yes… but he didn’t take it with him… he left it back on the shelf”.

“He is coming back for it”.

Needless to say I was extremely pissed off with “Precious” by this stage….

“What’s your name?”

“Tom” (it was probably something else… I honestly can’t remember)

“Tom… Mr Diamond is a gentleman, he really won’t mind if I took this teddy. On the other hand I am not. I will get very angry and… you won’t like me when I’m angry Tom”.

 

Sorry Neil. I like you…respect you, but I just had to have it man. I didn’t play fair I know… but you live in LA and you could always go back for another. I couldn’t… 

Years have gone by since then. Your music has touched many many millions of people in so many different ways. Everyone has a song, a lyric that takes them back to a place… a moment in time. It must be an incredible feeling to know that your words and music have been a part of the lives of so many people in this world. I still can’t listen to Canta Libre without remembering that night in Melbourne. I can’t listen to Solitary Man, Red Red Wine and especially Shilo without a myriad of thoughts running through my head… they all mean a lot even now. For people of a couple of generations at least, your music is part of the soundtrack of our lives.

Which brings me to the point of this letter… I’ve never been one for nostalgic sequels, but I was looking at a venue the other day here on Santorini and I was thinking “what performer would this venue be perfect for?’

On the night that “Hot August Night” was recorded you described the  Greek theatre in LA as the “place where performers go when they die… a performer’s paradise”. On that night you promised people that it was going to be “special”… and it was.

But I think I have found a venue that’s a whole lot better Neil… a real Greek theatre, with all the drama, the magic and mystique you can possibly imagine. Just think of it… an audience from all over the world gathering around sunset. Not just any sunset mind you… the mid-August sunset on Santorini. The grandest sunset of all. With the volcano as a backdrop, the last rays of the red sun reflecting on the deep blue waters of the caldera just as the music begins…everyone knowing that something magical is about to happen. We’re not talking about a concert… we’re talking about a once in a lifetime experience.

Now…call me crazy, but I have a feeling that reading this little blog is probably not in your top 10 “must do” things every week. It should be… but I’m guessing that it’s not. So I’m counting on the “Kevin Bacon effect”. Six degrees of separation. Someone who knows someone who knows someone… somehow reads this and comes and whispers in your ear. 

Let’s hope “that” someone is out there and this letter somehow gets to you. If it does… I hope you think about. Think about the place and the concept. Don’t worry about the details… I’ll take care of those, it’s what I do.

Best from Oia !

Michael

 

PS: Sorry about the teddy bear ;-) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oia Santorini – Blue on Blue

Blue is the most popular colour, it is the most calming.. tranquil colour and largely the colour of this small planet we all call home. Blue is also the colour we all associate with the sea/ocean, although these days its getting harder to find water that’s clear… especially near large cities. Fortunately the Greek islands and Santorini in particular, does not have that problem. The small church belonging to a friend that’s near the house was freshly painted and on a calm afternoon it was a good opportunity to snap some pics of  “blue on blue”.

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the light was right and the blue… well the blue is always right in the caldera 

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it’s just a matter of waiting to take the shots you want…
the big blue beyond being the perfect backdrop for the tiny church

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blue on blue…

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Rex took up his favourite position for sunset boat-watching…

 

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followed by his impersonation of the Sphinx !

 

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then it was time for dinner at Ammoudi… and this was the view below the table 
(in case you’re wondering that’s at least 5-6 metres deep) 

 

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I know it looks like an aquarium dear friends… but trust me, this is the turquoise blue Aegean sea

 

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and although it looks shallow… it is not. It is just absolutely crystal clear ! 

 

Now… go with me on this. It’s the end of a busy week. Lots of running around, met lots of wonderful people at the studio… and now it’s Friday evening and I am sitting down at Ammoudi with some nice seafood and a glass of wine. Next to the table I can look down and see the crystal clear waters filled with fish and volcanic rocks.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am very aware that this is not the centre of the known universe or the most “hip” spot to be seen… but I can honestly tell you that at that very moment there was nowhere else I wanted to be.

Funny that ;-) 

 

 

 

Santorini – the zen of Fall

Spring may be the season for celebrating life… but fall/autumn is the season of romance and love. In Spring you want to run on hill tops and explore nature… but come fall/autumn you want to take slow, long walks and be reflective, tender, romantic. If spring is zooom… then fall is zen.

There is just something about fall (I don’t want to keep mentioning fall & autumn so we’ll stick with fall). I think it is the mystical season. Summer finishes and suddenly things change… beginning with the light. Suddenly there is a haze in the mornings, the light is softer and everything seems to look more real. The harsh summer light gives way to a softer glow that brings out the more natural colours of everything. In Santorini… Fall is even more special because although we don’t have the gorgeous trees that many of you have all over the world, we have this little pond… called the caldera.

If you are like me and believe that fall is the “zen” season… and you agree with me that there is something mystical about this island and especially about the caldera… then you would be deliriously happy to be on Santorini during this magical season. Whilst the weather is still fine we’ve had several glimpses of fall and all the mystical wonders it has to offer.

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calm before the storm…

 

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visual zen…

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 balcony view of stormy weather,
romantics rejoice…

 

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the heavens took pity on the ships…

 

fall sunset

fall sunset …

 

The zen of the Fall indeed !

What do you think?

 

********* 

 

Only been a couple of cloudy days this fall, but already the colour of the light and the water, as well as the island, are changing. The blue is bluer than ever and the water…well the water just looks surreal. Don’t believe me? Pop by on Friday… you’ll see what I mean ;-)

 

      

Gallery

Aegean Designs & lifestyle choices

This gallery contains 3 photos.

I’ve said before that a few words… carefully chosen words, can have an effect on how people perceive things. So it was with Allison’s studio at Firostefani, here in Santorini. Most of the early summer I watched a lot people … Continue reading

Call it Autumn… call it Fall

 

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. 

~Albert Camus


Call it Autumn… call it Fall.  
It’s my favorite season of them all.
And it’s here!

That most special of seasons has arrived on Santorini and in case anyone had somehow missed the occasion… nature decided to put on a little show to remind us.

 

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It was 6.30am and suddenly the mist starting gliding into the caldera like floating silk .

 

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Within seconds the fort was almost shrouded… 

 


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and the small island had all but disappeared in the rolling mist.

 

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Within 20 minutes almost the entire island was being hugged by a thick blanket of soft white silk.
 

Somewhere under the cloud is the island’s main town of Fira… but on this day it was the first autumn mist that was going to be the star of the show and what a majestic show it was. Autumn is here and the end of the season is near. The low hugging mist was like a veil being slowly pulled across the island… a sign that the extreme summer heat was over. The air was filled with moisture and I was thrilled that the island would soon be again quiet and peaceful.

Autumn is a fantastic time to be on Santorini… as is Spring. The light changes and the island colours change with it. Its as if the island breaths a sigh of relief and so do the people on it. For me… it’s a sigh of anticipation. The wonders of autumn, winter and spring are ahead. This magical landscape will once again weave it’s magic and no doubt produce sights and sounds that will amaze and astound me.

Quiet solitude and sublime images ahead. I hope you will join me and keep me company during winter ;-)