Monthly Archives: February 2010

People…. must be Spring!

It feels like yesterday that I was showing you photos of an empty village… signalling the start of winter. But that’s history. It’s SPRING! There are signs of life… there are people watching the sunset again… there is painting going on… the new season has begun. But before Oia dusts herself off and puts on her Spring & Summer finest… I thought we’d take a quick walk to welcome the new sun-setters and say goodbye to winter for another year.

almost 6pm and it’s till daylight… that spells SPRING !

a shortcut here…

and a shortcut there…

and the sunset view opens up… the place is still a little dirty
but the “old girl hasn’t even begun to get ready for her season”

although… dusty as she may be right now
she still looks a picture…don’t you think?

over at the fort, well… tourists will do what tourists do,
they pose… they hug… they kiss and they just stare… mesmerised.
Oia is weaving her magic all over again !

this is what they have come to see of course… as well as the old girl herself.
Oia will not disappoint them. It’s actually a great time to be here…
( is there a bad time to be here ? )

at the fort… not all the locals are as excited as the happy group of Chinese teenagers…

my beautiful local stray “Wolfie” has seen it all before… but she comes along to
keep me company (Rex was making sure the kids were ok on their walk)

and this… this is the luxury of this season. Two girlfriends having a glass of wine at sunset
in Oia… with nobody else around. A luxury indeed…

there are so many lines to go with this image…most of them I couldn’t even print in public !

Instead I will let you fill in your own tag line for this image and maybe send it into me  ;-)

Hope you enjoyed our last winter walk…

Spring… bring it on !

Ammoudi – Oia…port under troubled water !

On a balmy hot August night… a sky full of bright stars, the full moon reflecting off the calm, crystal waters… it is a mesmerising sight. Ammoudi is a small port, a pirate’s cove where thousands of people enjoy a memorable lunch or dinner… looking at the small fishing boats and the large cruise ships as they sail silently into the night. It’s one of the most enchanting places on Santorini to enjoy as a couple…or with a group of friends. It’s picture perfect… day or night.

But there is another side to Ammoudi… one that tourists never see. When the westerlies blow at 50+ km an hour… the sea gets angry and it hits the tiny port in a harsh, sometimes savage way. This morning was one of those days. I looked out and saw the wind patterns on the surface of the caldera and you could tell the westerlies were working. It’s “show time” at Ammoudi…

The following images & videos are a rare treat for all of you, but especially those of you that have been lucky enough to have enjoyed  Ammoudi in summer…

It’s hard to see but where the white water is at the bottom of the pic
you would probably see 10-20 cars in summer.

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The waves wash all the way across the car park and beyond. Moments
after taking this shot (while standing on a rock) I was completely
drenched by the wave following this one. Only looked away for a second
to check the previous photo…. and whooosh !

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It was one of these that got me… looking away is not recommended.

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As the waves retreat the white water pours back into the sea.
Every single one of the tavernas would be flooded after today…
something that happens several times during the winter
months at Ammoudi.

But to really give you an idea of the power of the sea on such a day
I decided to record a couple of short
videos. It was a lot of fun to be there…
but it can also get dangerous if you get too close:

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Winter is full of delights and surprises on Santorini and especially in Oia. Hope you enjoyed a peek through my eyes ;-)

PS: Apologies for the “phantom post” that was showing for most of today. I was playing around with some drafts this morning
and one somehow was published ;-(


also…don’t forget to check out

the cool verse

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No TV… no Starbucks & no sirens !

What makes life worth living?  What does one need in life to be happy?

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take…

but the number of moments that take our breath away”

I captured this image this morning. The mountains in the mist are from the small island of Anafi… across the water from Santorini. It was one of those moments that make you stop and reflect. It’s not always easy living on an island… it’s not always convenient and you don’t have a lot of the things that the rest of the world for some reason considers “essential”.

No we don’t have Starbucks…I consider it a joke when I hear people refer to it as a “caffe” … that’s like saying McDonalds is a restaurant. We don’t have TV either (by choice)… believe it or not it is NOT essential to daily life. But something else occurred to me looking at the image above earlier this morning… I haven’t heard a siren for more than two years now. I don’t miss that either.

On the other hand… not a day goes by that doesn’t have at least one  moment that takes my breath away !

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Her maiden name is Christine Perfect and in 1976 she wrote and recorded a simple ballad that lived up to her name.
Her band was Fleetwood Mac… the little album was “Rumours” and the simple ballad was none other than “Songbird”.

Sublime song written by Christine McVie at her best. I have been fortunate to see this beautiful woman perform this song live twice…
life’s little treats ;-)

the cool verse

Oia Santorini – when the rain falls !

Millions of people have been to Santorini and Oia… but how many of them have seen a thunderstorm here???  Answer…not many.

People are used to hot summer nights…. balmy evening sunsets… walking through the village in summer shirts and shorts… sitting on the caldera cliff face and dreaming… or sitting on a waterside taverna eating seafood and watching cruise ships sail into the night.

But summer ends… I promise. Autumn arrives and with it come days of zen-like stillness… grey skies and serene quiet. The jazz or classical tunes from the cafes in Oia are replaced by the sounds of birds and thunder. The caldera has the most amazing acoustics in the world. It is the most remarkable amphitheatre in existence. You can hear a bird call from 500 metres away as if it was in your ear. Sound bounces and travels in the most incredible ways. The same applies inside the cave… in case you didn’t know. If someone hammers a nail in a cave a kilometre away you can hear it as if it was five metres away. That’s why there is no building allowed from March to the end of October on the caldera. No visitor would be happy paying 500 euro a night and having jackhammers starting at 7am.

But let’s get back to the amazing acoustics of the caldera. If you’re lucky enough to be here in spring when the migrating birds arrive… you can sit on the edge of the cliff on your deck chair and watch them put on a show in front of you. They are mating… building nests… gathering food. It’s non-stop cabaret… and the sounds are amazing. You simply will not hear these sounds in a city… its impossible. Even if you went out in the woods… unless there were cliffs near by for the sounds to echo you just wouldn’t get the same effect.

And then there is the rain… which creates quite a show on this island. A show unlike anything you have ever EVER seen… anywhere. Watching a thunderstorm over the caldera is a treat that you should all experience at least once in your lives. Lightning anywhere looks spectacular….but imagine being 200m above sea level… below you is one of the most spectacular sites on planet earth… the black shiny lava of the volcano is reflecting on the deep blue waters of the near bottomless caldera. The sound of rain and thunder echoes like a grand symphony across the enormous natural amphitheatre below you. If it’s still warm enough I love to sit there in the rain and just watch the show… if it’s later in the season I sit under an umbrella… glass of red in my hand, watching in utter amazement. There is no opening or closing ceremony of an Olympic games that comes within a light year of a night thunderstorm over the caldera… you can take that as the gospel truth from an eyewitness of many such wondrous events. It is quite simply nature putting on a stupendous show in the most sublime natural setting… the way only nature can. It’s one of those times when your eyes are capturing images that your brain simply can NOT fathom. To use a beautiful Australian expression… you sit there “gobsmacked”. Humbled. In awe…

But… have you ever wondered what happens in Oia when it rains? You’ve all seen pictures of the village… the steps… the steep narrow paths. Well…mix rain water, steep angles and gravity… and you get sights like these:

and this:

You have to admit… it’s a little different to a normal suburban scene ;-)

BTW… in case some of you missed it the first time… this is what a night thunderstorm looks like in Oia:

I’m not trying to talk you out of your summer holidays here… just showing you the little pleasures of autumn and winter ;-)

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PS:  while the new blog interface is still under design this is a good time to let me know if there are any special features/sections/items you would like to see included in the new format. This is your chance to help design the new blog so that it includes things you want to see or read about… look forward to your input ;-)


V-Day treat…

One of the best love tribute songs of all time…

“First time ever I saw your face”

Roberta Flack

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I should …


How do you burn instructions in someone’s mind?  You repeat them… and you keep repeating them, over and over and over. You tell them what they “should” be doing, how they “should” be thinking and how they “should” be feeling about things. You tell them again and again and AGAIN… a few dozen/hundreds/thousands of times.

Then… your words are hardwired in their brain. They will remain there for ever… unless the person learns to delete and reboot his/her own brain.

Sound familiar?   It should !   That’s what our parents, our teachers and the media have done to us all our lives. In some cases the process left a positive impression in our mind… in other cases we are carrying a great deal of damaging (and/or inhibiting) mental baggage. Whilst a lot of the things we learned from all of the sources, as we were growing up, were fairly basic and practical… there were also things that were not. Some were fairly obvious…others not so obvious.  Its amazing how many of our currently held views were “learned” from our parents, peers, teachers and the media. Most of these are of course held on an unconscious level… so they automatically creep into our daily decision making and socialising.

The effect that this conditioning can have on our lives can be considerable. The internal dialogue we experience relating to negative beliefs can be debilitating. Parental and societal expectations are often echoing in our minds whenever we try to make a decision and the “shoulds” that have been “burned” in our brains act as invisible barriers to free and uninhibited thinking.

The distinguished psychoanalyst  Karen (Horney) Danielsen called this “The tyranny of the shoulds”. We “should” be successful, we “should” be educated, we “should” have certain possessions, we “should” aim for security over risk, we “should” act in a way that is “acceptable” to others. There are probably thousands of “shoulds” that are embedded in our brains as a result of social conditioning. Some of these act as common sense guides… that make our decisions easier based on experience. A lot of these shoulds however… can often manifest in all kinds of fears and anxieties. They can result in guilt and other beliefs that have a very negative impact in the way we see the world around us.

My belief is that we need to do an audit…a review if you will… of our personal belief system on occasion. Challenge our own thinking and try to figure out “why we believe the things we believe”. Ask ourselves where our beliefs stem from and whether in the clear light of day these beliefs are valid or simply the result of long term conditioning.

Who says we need a 9-5 job? Who says we need to be rich/wealthy to have any chance at being reasonably happy? Who says we have to live in a big house…or have three cars in our garage before we can feel good about ourselves? Who says that “financial security and wealth accumulation are our main priorities” is good advice? Who says “forget dreams… just get a decent job and a roof over your head” is advice that will ensure our happiness in life?

We have all been told that we should work hard and make lots of money. This will make us happy. But I think we all know thats not really valid or true. The question is… what else do we tell ourselves we “should” be doing…that is also no longer valid or true?

Blame it on the Virus…

Miss Isabella Loulou (daughter #3 – seen here on a warmer evening) has not been well… an inconsiderate virus has given her swollen glands, very sore throat  and puffy eyes. Poor thing has had a raft of blood tests and all kinds of other tests and ultrasounds, as the local doctors tried to figure out what the virus is… by eliminating what it is not. We’ve been in and out of the hospital for several days now… but it looks like they have managed to identify it and put her on the right path to recovery. Rest and recovery for a week or so, in the cave house and she should be fine to roam the island once again.

The running around hasn’t left much time for a lot of things…let alone a blog post. But I promise to make up for it as of tomorrow. I also need to apologise to all my blogger friends for not visiting them for a while…will try to rectify that this week as well.

Meantime, I will hope you enjoy two of my absolute favourite songs/artists of all time on the CoolVerse page ;-)

It’s a dog’s life… name is Rex !

my job is to keep an eye on things…watch out for pirates,
marauders… you know, be a vicious guard dog

I do impressions too…

in my next life I want to come back as Rex… again ;-)


the coolverse

"Scenes from an Italian restaurant" 
Billy Joel