Tag Archives: buying a house in oia

Oia – the best gets better !

Been a while… I know, but lots going on. It’s a new season and the whole island is getting ready for what is expected to be a busy season (cruises 20% up apparently). I dare say that Greece will benefit from Egypt’s and Tunisia’s unrest…as well as the general imrpovement in global economic conditions.
So April has started with a bang…. and the whole island is being painted, renovated, refreshed and generally preparing for the season ahead. I said to visitors recently that April reminds me of the joke about the Queen (supposedly she thinks the whole world smells of fresh paint). This is how Santorini smells in April….at least until Greek Easter, which is the “official” start of the tourist season.

The good news is that although I haven’t written much…. I have been taking lots of photos and I will be publishing these in the comming weeks. I think Oia is looking better than ever…. and visitors will again see why it is (I believe) the most beautiful village in the world. Other villages on the island like Firostefani and to some extent Pyrgos  have also made considerable efforts to look their best…. but there is really no comparison to Oia (biased I know… but would argue this with anyone, anywhere, at any time). In fact…. rather than argue or debate this point, I will just let the images speak for themselves :

this is the green on the hills that summer visitors dont get to see… Spring is a magical time to be on the island – btw… if you’re going to have a balcony
anywhere……

 

a glimpse of my neighborhood through the tiny alleys and paths that shape
the caldera side of Oia…

one of the major differences between Oia (certainly the old part of Oia where I live) and the rest of the villages on the caldera…. is that Oia still has the most
number of privately owned villas…. as opposed to the endless hotels of Imerovigli and to some extent Firostefani. This is one of the major factors
in the preservation of it’s character, colour and architectural integrity !

the views of course are sublime from all parts of the caldera…. it’s a physical wonder and (as I like to call her) a “spiritual seducer”

but Oia…. well…. Oia is OIA !


this is a photo from last year… but one of my all time favorites….
it always reminds me of what I used to, and still say to people….
“if you ever come across a more picturesque village anywhere in the world,
please… call me”

Till Thursday… ; )  M

ps: if you have anything specific about the island or island life you would like to read about….please drop me a line or leave a message…. feedback is a blogger’s candy  “-/

pps:  for daily updates please find us on facebook and make yourself known as a blog reader…. you can also take a peek at Allison’s updated blog:  www.AegeanDesigns.com
Facebook:  “oiasantorini”      or   “aegean designs”

 

 

 

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Oia Santorini – Change

Of all the things in life…. change is the only constant!

Of all the fears in life…. fear of change is the most common!

These are not quotes (well…maybe the first is), they are just personal beliefs. I don’t think that either are profound or particularly insightful., but I have seen enough evidence in my life to know that both these beliefs are valid. 

We are all creatures of habit and the longer we do something the harder it is to break away from it. We are all aware we do things out of habit… some are good and some are bad, yet we keep doing all of them… often for years, sometimes for a lifetime. Change is uncomfortable and therefore we avoid it…. often at all costs.

So we keep doing things, stay in places (jobs/homes/cities/countries), talk to same people, think the same way….yet, we somehow expect that things will one day change. A reasonably intelligent gentleman (as in Bert…. as in Albert… as in e=mc squared) told us that “insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results”… he did have a knack for simplifying things to the point where just listening to that makes one feel like a total fool. We have all done it !

So… are we all insane? 

Lucky for us those clever munchkins, the head-mechanics, have a very valid theory. Its’ called “escalated commitment”. The more you commit to something, physically, emotionally/mentally, the harder it is to change it or at least break away from it (oversimplifying the theory here…forgive me). When you really think about that it explains so much of our lives. Our commitment to so many things has been allowed to “escalate”… often to ridiculous, even insane levels. We find ourselves so “deep” into things that we can’t break away. Sometimes it’s pride, money or emotion invested, reputation, or length of time that’s stopping us. Whatever the investment… it has escalated to the point where we become prisoners to it.  

Yesterday I got four different emails from people who said that they would love to live somewhere like Oia (you can fill in the place with any city/country/island you wish). Yet each of them mentioned that they had “commitments” they couldn’t walk away from… so “for now” they will just “dream” about doing it “one day”. It all sounded familiar to me…very familiar. You see, I used to say the same thing…for years. Until, I realised that there is such a thing as “positive escalated commitment”. By that I mean “aligning your life to your dream”. 

I figured that it can be good to escalate a commitment…. as long it is in line with what you want to do or experience or feel. Good things take time and you have to keep working towards them. If you make a start and you keep investing time/effort/emotion/passion, then soon you can achieve it. At least you are heading in the right direction. You are taking steps, albeit small at times, towards the dream…. whatever that may be !

When I started this blog I dedicated it to the “undecided”. I guess what I am saying with this post is that if you do have a dream, then make sure your “escalated commitment” is towards that. Turn it into a passion and invest a lot of you in achieving it  .:.

 

On a lighter note… the cacti on the front steps have actually flowered!

cacti

 

How is that for change…

Have a great weekend ;-)

Oia Sunrise & life decisions

“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.”  

–  Beverly Sills

 

These words can burn in your brain like a red-hot syringe. For years they ran through my mind.

This morning I woke up early and had a coffee outside. This is what I saw…

 

june09

 

Oia – Santorini.

Yep…. good decision!

 

 


Oia Santorini – Dare To Dream

So much has been written about people’s dreams in life. So much more will be written in the future. The gurus will sell books, the creatives will make us dream with movies, ads and images, the vendors will sell dreams and the masses will buy them. It’s one of the main forces in life.

For many a dream will remain nothing more than a wish. For others… escape. Many will dismiss their dreams as fantasy. Many will force themselves to stop dreaming and “just get on with life”. Others will not even allow themselves the sheer pleasure to dream and many more will be conditioned to think that dreaming is a “waste of time”. 

 

OIALAR~1

 

I did NOT take this photo. I wish I knew the name of the wonderful photographer that did so I could give him/her credit.
But I have had it for so long I can’t even remember where I found it. I used to collect lots of images of Oia before I found the cave. I used to look
through my image files and dream of living there. But this image was powerful…I remember thinking I want to see this view every night…it made my dream real and it made me keep going.

People are funny about life dreams. Some declare them openly whilst others keep them deep inside them. The world…it seems, is not kind to dreamers. There is fear and hesitation in sharing your life dreams because we have all been curiously conditioned to think that dreams are an extravagance. They are a luxury that we can’t afford…if we are to believe the self-proclaimed “practical” types. 

Yet…. without dreams we are nothing !

Dare to dream,
Because only by dreaming,
will you ever discover
who you are, what you want,
and what you can do.
                     – Julie-Ann Ford 

If it wasn’t for the dreamers nothing of what we deem wonderful, incredible, artistic, insanely beautiful or insanely daring would ever have been accomplished. If it wasn’t for dreamers the world would be without so many of it’s treasures and human kind would be without most, if not all, of it’s greatest accomplishments. If it wasn’t for dreamers life as we know it simply wouldn’t be the same…

Yet…the world frowns. Parents, teachers, leaders and societies tell us that dreaming is wasteful…its meaningless, its not reality. As people we become conditioned to believe that dreams are somehow separated from “real” life and there is “little point in dreaming”. Try telling that to the folks at NASA or Disney or the Wright Bros, or Henry Ford, or Thomas Edison, or Ghandi, or Martin Luther King, or….

The negative conditioning is relentless…its all around us. Those that dare to step out of the “norm” are frequently chastised and ridiculed. The pressure to stay within the accepted boundaries is enormous and omnipresent. Conformity and commoditisation are the order of the day. 

Yet…just imagine how boring and lifeless the world would be without dreamers….without the seemingly “crazy”, those that dared to dream and set out to make their dreams a reality. The explorers, the writers, the sculptors, the painters, the poets, the movie makers, the architects, the fashion & industrial designers, the builders of monuments, the engineers and Disney’s “imagineers”. Where would we be without them?

Its easy to scoff and ridicule and its far less time consuming to tell a child to “stop dreaming” than it is to sit down and share the dream, ask questions, try to see it through their eyes and offer your full support. Its much easier to find excuses, to procrastinate, to call others “lucky” or to not dare to dream. Its safer, its easier and its much less taxing to stay within one’s comfort zone. But to what end?

Moving to Oia was a dream…but by no means a grand dream. Hundreds of thousands of people (if not millions) have moved and will move, all around the world every year. They are not “lucky”, they are not “special”, they are not “extraordinary”. They are just people who dared to dream and set about making their dream a reality. They worked hard, they suffered setbacks and they no doubt got frustrated  and disappointed along the way. But they did it. They took the steps, they took the risks, they took the setbacks and they kept going. Their lives may often look idylic… but only they know what it took to make it happen. The point is… they dared to dream!

If this blog and all the others like it, do nothing else but convince you to dream about how you want your life to really be… then they have collectively done a great thing. Anything that encourages people to have positive life dreams can only result in greater personal fulfilment.
In this blogger’s humble opinion there is no mystery to dreaming, its not a special skill that only the “lucky few” possess. Its a pleasure you should allow yourself and not feel guilty about. Dream often, dream vividly and dream freely….and teach your kids to dream BIG, one day they’ll thank you for it! 

PS:  If some people can dream of flying, landing on the moon or building pyramids or the Eiffel Tower…surely we can dream of a better life !

PPS: To read about some other people who made their dream come true… visit Vicky here !

 

This page has been moved from it’s original place. To read comments made by readers click here !

 

 

 

 

Oia Santorini – looking out the window of life!

Depending on where you live, or how you live, you probably spend several hours a week looking out your window…we all have a window that we like to sit in front of and look out. A few of you have asked what it’s really like to live here…. “dont you get sick of the view?”, “doesn’t it get boring after a while?”.

I’ve always felt that looking out your window… you see your life. You see yourself essentially. The view from your window is either what you’ve dreamed about and achieved, or perhaps what you have to look at… till you make your dream come true. Some dream of looking at fields of gold, be it vines, olive trees or endless farmland. Others dream of a Tuscan countryside scene, or lavender fields in Provence, or a lake or a mountain-range. Others simply want to look at a glorious garden that they have painstakingly shaped over many years. Whatever the view is… it says a lot about you and where you are in your life. If the image you see is the one you have always wanted to see…you have made it happen. If it’s not, then you are still working on it. Either way the view you see out your own window didn’t get there by chance (with some exceptions). The choices we make everyday… place us in front of our windows. What we see when we look out is the result of our choices…or lack thereof.

Using our window view as a metaphor for our lives is, I think, quite valid. We all hear people say “I’d love to look out of my window in the morning and see……”. I used to say those very same words….”I’d love to”.

Then one day… I changed it to “I WILL look out of my window and see…..”.

So, to answer the people that asked “do I get sick of it” or “doesn’t it get boring”…. the answer is NO!

Along with many-many other reasons.. here is why:

sailship

at sunrise I see beautiful ships coming into the caldera….

 

white

all kinds of ships…. big and small 

 

ferry

in peak summer I see a dozen ferrys come and go daily…

 

fishing boat

and the local fishermen returning home at lunchtime
after selling their catch to the tavernas at Ammoudi…

 

 

princess

in the afternoon I watch the big boats leave…
this is the biggest of them all….the Princess 

 

izzy

at sunset I watch my kids watching the old sailing boats
giving visitors a taste of Santorini magic…

 

night

and often…late into the night, as I sit here and type this little blog,
I see the cruise ships leaving…lit up like Christmas trees !

 

If you look out your window and you don’t see the view you want to see, the view you have dreamed of seeing… its never too late.
If you really, really want to… you can make your window view everything you want it to be ! ! !

 

 

 

Oia Santorini – Great walk prt III: mesmerising Santorini – Skaros

All images copyright http://www.oiasantorini.com – please read the copyright notice page… ty!  

 

Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”

                                                                                        – Miriam Beard

I know I have said this before about Santorini…but if there is a place with better views somewhere on this planet I would like to hear about it. Just when you think that you’ve seen everything the island has to offer…. it has another surprise for you. I promised you a glimpse of Skaros and it’s church and last week I took the walk alone… early morning, on a perfectly calm day. The anticipation was high…I’ve wanted to visit this site for more than 20 years, so while everyone was still asleep I got on the Vespa and rode to Imerovigli. Skaros is in front of this village and it is the site of an old venetian fort, destroyed by earthquakes long ago. This is not on the Oia to Fira path, but its a place that is truly magical and should not be missed.

The walk started around 6.45am and already the mythical “Greek light” that photographers the world over talk about was working it’s magic. The deep, blue water of the caldera was perfectly still and the air had a certain early morning freshness about it. I knew it was going to be magical, I just didn’t know the mesmerising extent of the beauty I was about to witness….

 

1

descending down the steep steps the cliff hotels
were still in the shadows… 

 

41

Skaros stood tall in front of me…

 

4
walking down the steps I tried to imagine how
the Venetians built their fort all those centuries earlier..  

 

5

this was not a small watch tower…
it was a fort by any standards, although little of it
remains intact today…

 

6
as I crossed the narrow passage joining the Skaros rock
to the main island I glanced either side of me, 
it took my breath away ! ! !
(this is the Oia side view)

 

7

to my left was Fira and the cruise ships
that had already arrived…

 

8

I’ve seen Oia from afar so many times before….
but never from this spot, in this light…

 

9

the other side was just as breathtaking, I just stood still
and took photos…

 

13

I wanted to get to the other side so I followed
the tiny path around the old fort…

 

14

with the sun rising the magical light was changing,
creating new shadows below…

 

15

the tiny path kept taking me around to the other
side but I was finding it difficult to look down
instead of all around me…

 

17

the full majesty of the Santorini caldera below me…

 

19

at the very tip of the rock I noticed the remnants
of what must have been the fort watch-post for pirate ships;
I stood on it, my heart racing with excitement…

 

21

there are certain times when your eyes see something
that your brain simply can not process.
What can you possibly say when you look at this ?

and then I looked down… 

 

20

and there it stood… the mythical church of Skaros…
my twenty-plus year wait was finally over…

 

22 
I took one last look at Oia in the distance…

 

23 
and started walking down the steps to the church…

 

25

and after all these years of waiting to see it up close…. there it was !

 

26 
there are many churches on Santorini built on
spectacular spots… but none more so than this !

 

27

the elegant simplicity I fell in love with on the Greek islands…

 

28
staggering beauty below…

 

30
the always understated elegance of Greek island churches…

 

31
and in front of it… what can you possibly say
about the view in front of it?
It’s 250m up from sea level and at that time of
the morning the light is quite simply inspiring… 

32

the narrow passage in front of  Oia (on the right)…

 

33

cruise ships below…

 

34

on the way back I looked for and found a secret little path
the old locals talk about, takes you around the rock 
instead of having to walk back up to the top…

 

35 
following the side of the cliff it allows you to look at the rock
formations as you walk around…

 

36
I wouldn’t recommend it for vertigo sufferers… the cliff face is
an almost vertical drop to thedeep blue water below…

 

39

tiny wild fig tree growing on the very edge of the cliff…

 

38

it was time to leave the mystical & magical Skaros and head
back up to the village above. The old retaining walls built
by the Venetians still clearly visible after all those years… 

 

40 
as I got to the top I realised that most of the guests overlooking
the rock were still asleep and I doubt they will ever venture down
the path to cross over to the Skaros rock and explore the hidden treasures there.
If only they knew what they were missing… 

 

The images posted are only a fraction of those taken during this memorable walk on Skaros. Of all the magical spots I have seen on Santorini I have never been as stunned as I was that morning. It was a morning of discovery and wonder…inspiration and contemplation. Walking back up the cliff steps I realised I had seen something very few people see on this island. The sheer beauty of the place was quite simply breathtaking and it had a profound effect on me as I stood there. I realised, amongst other things, that although I would have made this walk at some point… it was writing this little blog that made me do it that day. It has made me appreciate this magical place so much more, just knowing that I am sharing it with people all over the world.

To all of you that leave comments of thanks…. no, THANK YOU! 

 

PS: also wanted to say hi to the young Canadian couple that came into Allison’s studio this afternoon… hope you enjoyed your dinner in Oia ;-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oia Santorini – Time

wheel

Time is the wisest counsellor of all.  ~Pericles

Forgive me for indulging… but many of you have sent emails and left comments about your own dreams and life aspirations. One of the most common themes is time. Time is something that I have tried to understand as far back as I can remember. It’s a concept that has such a deep impact on our lives and yet… it is barely touched in formal education (at least in western cultures). Understanding time, the impact and effects of time & the lessons from time, are not issues that most people think about a great deal. Instant gratification and feedback at the speed of thought are the new standards, especially for our kids.

In making the decision to come here there were many discussions about time. There were comments about missed opportunities, regrets, dreams and secret desires. Comments about “timing not being right” and “time will tell”. Comments about “having plenty of time” and “one day I will…” .

When younger and working in newspapers my editor used to call me a “young man in a hurry”. I wanted to get things quickly, get promoted, get more money….. and get it all NOW! Time was not my friend and patience was not in my vocabulary.

But I was an observer… a silent student of those around me and the late 80’s was a fascinating time. In the corporate world there were a few players that were using time and strategy to achieve incredible things. I watched people like Robert Holmes a Court and Rupert Murdoch patiently building their empires and using time exquisitely. I saw the ’87 crash and the effect it had on the markets and the economy at large. The lessons were not lost on me. Three years later the markets were recovering but many of the get-rich-quick players had vanished. I remember talking to my old friend Rex Lopez who asked me about the lessons I had learned. I told him “time and gravity”. On this planet nothing goes up for ever…. and time, well time has a way of working for you or against you, depending on how well you understand it. He smiled, nodded and said “make time your friend”.

I needed to learn to be patient. I needed to understand time better… to have a different perspective on things. The first thing I did was take up Bonzai trees as a hobby. This is “not” a pass time for those in a hurry for results. The full beauty of a Bonzai tree (when grown from seedling) takes years of care and shaping. You start with an end in mind… and you slowly work at it. With patience, persistence and passion for what you’re trying to do… you end up with something that is exquisite.

This is where the conversations prior to moving to the island come in. Many said “you’re so lucky”…. but they didn’t walk miles and miles in the stifling heat looking for the right cave, they didn’t run around for half a dozen  years chasing paperwork and they didn’t  live in a hole for a year, breathing in volcanic ash while the renovation work was being done. I guess “lucky” is all about perspective. People tend to make many assumptions when they hear about those that make a decision to live a different life. They assume that you can easily afford to do it…or that you obviously have nothing to hold you back….that somehow all the planets aligned to make it possible. But that’s not how life works.

There were many “Sophie’s Choice” moments prior to making the decision to move. But something like this does not happen in an instant. From the moment an idea enters your mind, or a passion is discovered, or a dream becomes an obsession, it is a long process….a continuum if you will. You have to patiently align your life to your dream. You have to work at it and patiently make it happen. Everyone’s life has circumstances and everyone’s dream is different. But making dreams come true is a formula and understanding time, having patience and being passionate about your dream are surely the key elements.

There is no such thing as a “universally audible tick-tock”. But no matter what your dream is – opening a shop, writing a book, travelling, living in another country or changing your career – it takes time, patience & passion.  The sooner you start aligning your life to your dream the sooner you will live your dream. Time is infinite…life is not. The much talked about “one day”…doesn’t just happen, you have to make it happen !

Just my humble opinion…

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If you are into great photography and an interesting read… you might like to visit the following two ladies and their wonderful blogs:

Carla loves photography

Soto Il Monte Vineyards