“If you’re lucky enough to find a way of life you love,
you have to find the courage to live it”
It was a sunny morning in June 2006. After 20 years of looking for a house in Santorini I was on the island to look at a house I had been negotiating for almost 6 months. I finally went and saw it when I arrived and once again… it was disappointment. I went back to Niko’s office (the hairy, charming Greek-Canadian with whom I had been exchanging emails for almost a year – much more about the charming Niko in later posts) and told him that I wasn’t interested in the house we had been discussing for months. He took it well….saying “I didnt think you would”. I asked him to show me what else he had in his books and he immediately sat at his computer and started to go though some photos of houses he had for sale.
He was flicking through them quickly and while I was drinking his terrible Greek coffee my eyes caught a glimpse of a pink/blue house in Oia, which looked sad and totally derelict….but for some reason I saw some charm that appealed. I told him to go back to it and he said “its just an old cave-house in Oia”. He clicked back to it and I immediately asked him the magic question….”is it facing THE VIEW”? To my surprise he said yes, IT IS !
The next day I was taken to Oia by a young guy called Saki (as in Japanese drink…..Niko’s business partner). We drove to Oia and he took me to another house first. It was facing the sunset view (away from the caldera) which for millions of people would be a dream….but for me it wasn’t right. It wasn’t what I wanted…what I had dreamed about for so many years. I pretended to be interested but asked Saki to take me to the next house. We walked up steps…down steps…up steps and them down more steps. At one point THE view opened up to my right as we got close to the house. I pretended not to look (knowing that most local people in Santorini take the view for granted) and kept walking. We got in front of the house and I just stood there looking at it. I turned to Saki and said “are you kidding me….this is it”?
I cant tell you how hard it is to contain yourself when you have found what you’ve been looking for after 20 years. After seeing literally hundreds of houses, dozens upon dozens of caves, it was like someone finally whispering in your ear the password to heaven. I stood there facing this little cave house, completely ignoring what was behind me (read: THE VIEW), and saying to Saki “this will cost more to fix than it will to buy it”. He looked at me dissappointed and said “yeah….its not much”. My mind was racing… trying to think of all the negative things I can say about it. I told him its too far down the steps, its too small, its too old, it needs too much work…its just not what I was looking for.
In typical local style and being only a part-time real estate salesman, he never even mentioned the view. I hit him with so many negatives about the house that the USP (unique selling point) was never brought up. We left and drove back to Niko’s office where I repeated my lines all over again and told him that I had wasted another day looking at “rubbish”. As I was leaving his office I turned and said to him “by the way….how much do they want for that dump in Oia?”
He looked concerned…he hadn’t heard me raise my voice before. He looked up at me like a little boy and said….
But that would be telling you too much too soon ;-)
The first of the two cave houses we bought….as it was that sunny morning on first glance.
The following three pictures are of the view (that was n e v e r mentioned during the sale ). They were taken in sequence from left to right…shown here first to last.
The house looks very different now, but that’s more pictures and words in future posts. Do drop in and follow the adventure of how two abandoned caves on the cliffs of Oia became a family home ;-)
BTW, If you want to see more of the beauty of Oia click on the moving slideshow below….sit back, turn up your volume and relax for 9 mins.
Its worth it…enjoy !!! (AND LEAVE A COMMENT)
PS: :-( Sadly only the first part of the soundtrack has been uploaded for some reason…we’re working to rectify it….meantime take a peak anyway .
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If you’re interested in finding a house, shop or property in Oia you can contact me on: firstname.lastname@example.org