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:
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 ;-)