Tag Archives: images of santorini

The greatest painter in the world…

Everyone has witnessed nature’s unique displays of indescribable beauty at some point or rather in their life. Whether it’s a sunset, a cloud formation, a sunburst or a sublime sunrise… we’ve all seen them. Sometimes we are lucky enough to capture them… other times we are left wishing. One of the greatest pleasures of living in Oia has been the privilege of seeing natures work from a very unique vantage point. From the early morning sunrise… to the most magical sunsets, to the zen-like stillness under a blood-red sky. There is nobody that can paint like nature does. And if you doubt me… let me just remind you of some of her work over the past twelve months:

~ no words needed ~

the greatest painter in the world…

mother nature !

Advertisements

the magic of sunsets !

Sunsets are like snowflakes…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

the coolverse

Neil Diamond

” Shilo”

Akrotiri – Santorini

It’s wild, it’s windy, it’s raw and it’s stunning… it’s the edge of Santorini.

It is a very rare glimpse at Akrotiri in winter. Enjoy!

the view from this side is quite different

the scenery is wild… but beautiful

old lighthouse…

the ledge we call “turtle’s head”…

the cliff we call “Darth Vader’s” home…

Allison flying…again

“white beach” as you’ve never seen it…

As you can see the blog redesign is not complete yet…. but it’s been a while since my last post so I wanted to do something until the new look is finalised. The images I wanted to share are from a side of the island not many people go to, even in summer…. and NOBODY in winter. It’s the very opposite side of the island to my village of Oia. On a very windy New Year’s day… it was the perfect place to go for a walk.

PS: Hope you all have a wonderful twenty-10. This year for the blog it will be all about simplicity and understated elegance. Hope you like the changes…. don’t worry, you’ll get to have a say in the new look as well as the content.

PPS: Do you like the new banner ?

Autumn sunset fantasia

This post was started yesterday and was going to look quite different. You see… as we always do after stormy weather, we went collecting driftwood. It’s amazing what we find on the western side of the island after storms… some of the driftwood is like work of art. As always we went early morning on Sunday. This post was going to be all about that…

Searching for driftwood…

Alessi shoots the shooter !

But then… this evening (Monday), as I was writing this post – using the driftwood pics from Sunday – I was told to “look outside…quick”.

I did…… & this is what I saw !

these are real colours…


bit more to the right to take the fort (blog column not wide enough)

only so much you can do with the little Pentax… but the close up looks dreamy,
don’t you think?

***************

PS: For the unidentified commenter “One of your readers”…. in answer to your question,  I would love to know why you would want to submit an essay but not want to win.

PPS: To all those who thought I was being harsh towards the procrastinators…you’re wrong. I’m guilty of it myself, so I can hardly chastise others. However…I still believe it is a debilitating condition and I suspect it robbed some people of  an opportunity to  be in the contest with a chance of winning. Big topic this one…perhaps a separate post !

PPS: More essays on Wednesday & the “Living with purpose” post still needs work ;-)

ALSO… if you haven’t seen them already, there are more “Respect” photos on the page… hope you can take a look and leave a comment for those who took time to try and make a difference in this world. If you happen to live in a large city (NYC, London) or anywhere for that matter… I would LOVE to see some “Respect” photos from you.

100 posts – a centenary rave

“Those who danced were thought to be quite insane…
by those who could not hear the music.”

Angela Monet

No doubt there are thousands of people who thought I was insane when I first came here… but perhaps Ms Monet is right, “they just can’t hear the same music… or in some cases, any music at all”.

[DISCLOSURE: It’s a stunning Sunday afternoon in Oia and although it’s against blogging rules… I am sitting down to write this with some lovely Santorini chilled Rose. This means there is every chance that this post will quite possibly suffer from a gradual but steady decline in poise, style, logic and eventually… reason].

It’s been about nine months since this notebook started it’s life as a blog. In that time there have been a number of things that have happened as a direct result of this digital diary. I have become aware of so many talented, creative, diligent, intelligent, funny and caring people who blog around the world. This has been the most pleasurable aspect of this whole experience. Another aspect of blogging that I have loved is the fact that it has motivated me to go searching this magnificent island for images that otherwise I might never have seen. I know this has been said before by endless numbers of bloggers… it’s cliché.. but, in my case at least, it’s true. I know for a fact that since this blog started I have been a lot more aware of photo opportunities, often my mind making mental notes about going back to a place to take pictures, or just quickly pulling out my small Pentax and clicking away.

This morning for example… it is was a  g l o r i o u s morning on Santorini, and my favourite large cruise ship is in port (Grand Princess), so rather than have coffee on the balcony at home I took everyone to the winery to enjoy the late-autumn sun and the “not so bad” view from up there:

IMGP5128

the volcano asleep in the deeeeeeep blue…

IMGP5126

the island bathed in winter sunshine and the ships floating in what
must surely be the most magnificent natural port in the world !

The autumn/winter light is truly magnificent… not nearly as harsh as the summer sunlight. In fact it’s almost like having a soft filter over your eyes as you look out to a view that, even after all these years, still triggers denial messages in my brain. This can not be real the brain says… you must be looking at a postcard or a photograph or a painting. Alas… it’s real !

It was quite different last night though… when we had one of our rather frequent power outages in Oia. The light wasn’t anywhere near as abundant as you see above. But then we are used to it, we are prepared for it and as you will see below… even that situation brings it’s own magic when you live in a cave house. We may not have had lights… but the small candle windows I dug when building this cave tend to add their own charm, in a humble sort of way:

IMGP5106

IMGP5114

But enough of the cave…. even though I know that a lot of you want to read a lot more about it – I promise to be a good boy and write more about what it’s like to “live in a cave” in the near future .

In the meantime…this is the 100th post, so let’s get on with it.

There have been some great experiences in the past nine months as a result of this blog. I have discovered numerous other blogs by people all over the world who decided to “find their passion and make it happen”. I have also come across people who are elegantly expressing their passion through their blogs, be it for design, travel, cooking, languages or simply for “life” itself. It really is a wonderful form of self expression. Some bloggers are more diligent than others, some blogs have an agenda that’s not always discussed, some are clearly obsessed, some are simply expressing the hidden frustrations of the writer, some are hysterical, some are thought provoking and some showcase the hidden talents of incredibly creative people who are (for some unknown reason) stuck in a holding pattern…. living a life that is not yet fully aligned with their passion, or indeed their talent.

For me personally it has been difficult. Never been used to making my views and/or thoughts very public…. so this has taken a bit of getting used to. Having said that this blog was never going to be about cushion-covers or wall paint. Whilst I fully understand that most people are not really interested in my views and they simply come here to have a look at some island pictures…I was never going to hold back from writing about passion, dreams or the problem with feeling “comfortably numb”.

I am also extremely grateful that at least some of you agreed with me on the concept of “RESPECT – spreading the one-word message” and have gone out of your way to email your photos. Frankly… it’s worth maintaining this blog just to promote that simple message to anyone willing to visit & read that page, or becomes motivated enough to write our message on some spot of their favourite part of the world.

In the coming weeks the blog will change… but I have decided to keep it going.

There is much to be done on this island and the blog will help raise awareness on many issues. There are also a lot of places to see and discover in Greece and indeed all over Europe. I very much look forward to exploring and sharing these with you.

To all those that have visited and left your comments regularly…  I thank you sincerely. Your comments have encouraged, challenged, inspired and sustained my writing.

To all you “lurkers” that visit the blog often and never leave a comment…shame on you. If something is worth reading, then its worth commenting on… good, bad or indifferent. Still, I’m a nice guy and as Neil Diamond said to the tree-people during the Hot August Night concert “I’m singing for you too”…

But seriously… you should  consider “coming out”. Not much fun writing to yourself…and even less fun writing for ghosts.

In keeping with blogging tradition on the occasion of the 100th post…here are some things about me you may not know (you may or may not give a
flying fig about all this of course and I wouldn’t blame you… but here it is anyway)  ;-)

***********

Not easy writing things about yourself, so I figured  we can start with the questionnaire used  on the guests invited to “pretend school”, sorry…. Actors Studio.

Favourite word: I have two (or one and a combo).

– simplicity

– understated elegance

Both represent a way of being and a personal style that I admire greatly.

Least favourite word: (another combo) reality-TV

A sound or noise you love: At the end of a long day… get a crystal/glass tumbler, pour some single-malt whiskey (or your favourite drink) in it and “two” ice cubes. Then bring it to your ear, close your eyes and shake….

A sound or noise you hate:  Hmmmm… lots of those. Sound of people nagging about all that’s wrong with the world… but never doing anything about it  OR politicians starting a speech by saying “my fellow ………ns”

A profession other than yours you would love: Architect, Disney Imagineer

A profession you would hate: Politician

Your favourite curse word: Depends on mood…

If God exists…what would you like him etc etc etc: Just a BS question …not worth an answer !

Other nonsense:

Fave cuisine: Mediterranean / Japanese. Having said that, I am an absolute foodie…so most good food cooked well is a delight to me.

Fave meal: Linguini a la vongole… I have tried hundreds around the world, but I think I make the best, if I say so myself (it’s only taken me 25 years lol).
I love the ritual of the dish and I think that fresh clams and pasta are the perfect flavour combination.

Fave flavour/taste: Norwegian smoked salmon… with a squeeze of lemon juice and ‘nothing else’.

Fave band of all time: that would be Floyd… (the pink variety)

Fave music: Love most kinds… but jazz is my music, with classical a close second. Oddly enough… i love classical for the perfection of composition by the masters, where as I love jazz for its’ improv beauty… the imperfections that make it unique. What master Miles used to call the “one-note off” sound.

Fave instrument: Cello… the only instrument that comes close to a human voice. Many focus on the melancholy of it, but for me… its the resonance !

Fave country: Europe…. yes yes yes, I know it’s not “a” country… yet. But I love being in it. Love being a European and I love having the incredible choices that it offers me in terms of travel, culture, endless discovery and experiences. I want a T-shirt with “my name is M… I’m a European” !

Fave city: Rome – the city, the people AND the coffee (the only place in the world you will find a barista dressed better than the patrons… and the patrons are often dressed to kill ).

Fave mode of travel: train (the slow-luxury kind), ship (the old-luxury kind)

Fave sport: Test cricket

Fave insult: “he is not a Greek God…he’s just a god-damned Greek” (from the inimitable Brian G. upon meeting his daughter’s new boyfriend).

Fave words of wisdom: “when it’s all said and done Michael…it’s only the great adventures you remember” (from the unique & wise Rex Lopez).

Biggest regret: There can never be enough years… enough lifetimes, to learn all the things I want to learn about !

Something you completely believe in but can’t prove:

1.  Every city has the newspapers it deserves

2.  In every news story you read… the first two lines are the news. After that its personal opinion.

3.  Nothing is beyond the reach… of the singularly motivated human mind.

Fave quote about women: “Passion is the best make-up for a woman… but, cosmetics are easier to buy” ~  Yves St.Laurent

Isle of Saint Nicholas – Ammoudi… Oia, Santorini

It’s been a busy summer and I haven’t been able to spend anywhere near enough time with Alessi as I wanted to or should have. But this morning we decided to go to Ammoudi for a swim together, at our usual spot away from the tourists that flood the tiny rock beach.

 It’s a good thing that most tourists don’t stay long enough to learn all the secret spots on this island. Ammoudi… the little port below Oia becomes very busy in August, all the small tavernas working hard to make the most of the busiest month. The small beach opposite
St. Nicholas island is also a very popular spot and for good reason. The water is absolutely crystal clear and very deep… making it cool and refreshing in the middle of summer.

I took up my usual spot on the rocks….

1

It doesn’t look like much… but the flat rock that’s constantly washed by the sea and a wet, folded sarong for a head rest, feet hanging in the water… pure bliss for several hours. You just have to take a step and you’re in the azure water…

Alessi has his own favourite spot… sitting on top of a buoy the fishermen use in winter. He loves sitting on top of it and look at the fish below the water, as well as watch the big cruise ships sail by Oia.

3

 

We sat there for a couple of hours, enjoying the sun and the beautiful clear water. Our little island is a favourite in summer as well as winter…when there is nobody else here. That’s certainly not the case in August though… it’s a fight for space for most tourists, unless they are willing to venture out into the lava rock formations. The small island is a magnet for people throughout summer and it’s not surprising…

 

5

 

It’s only a 20m swim across from the main island and the water is just too perfect for words. What a lot of people don’t realise is that around the small island there is 2-3 meters of rock… followed by a sheer vertical drop of more than 1,000m depth. Imagine what it would look like without the water…. would make Grand Canyon look like a creek.

Here is a view from the top of the cliff in Oia… looking down at the small island in late winter:

top

To the right of the small island you can see a lagoon forming, around 20-30m deep… you can drop a coin and watch it all the way down on a calm day. To the left of the small island…lololol, you can drop whatever you like there folks, you are NEVER going to see it again.
It’s a loooooooooong way down. A scary thought as to what this scene would look like if the sea water wasn’t there.

Just another day at our local beach and small island…. another little adventure in this mystical island called Santorini !

Have a great weekend and I hope you get to spend some time with your kids too ;-)

 

 

 

Santorini in August – a “wall of love”

Summer is in full swing and Santorini, as always in August, is buzzing. Planes unloading thousands of people (an inbound flight every 20 minutes), fast ferries running back and forth from Athens and other islands… and of course cruise ships. Santorini gets more cruise ships than just about any other place in Europe… including Venice.

For many it’s their first visit, but for others it’s a much awaited return to the island of their dreams. They all come to experience the magic, the mystique, the secret allure that this island has.

 caldera2

Some will sit quietly and enjoy a coffee…. with a “view”!

 

caldera3
This is one of my fave coffee shops in Fira. Coffee is good and although
the view looks like it’s a huge outdoor poster ad for cruise ships…
believe me folks, it’s real !

 

caldera4
Below there are all kinds of boats & ships…

 

caldera1

Each day bringing thousands of dreamers to the island of romance…
 

 

But not everyone sits and stares at the view for hours in Fira. Thousands make their way to Oia daily and in doing so they pass the “wall of love”… where lots of couples stop and leave a small dedication to each other.
 

wall of love

It’s a curious thing that happens. Somehow, every summer, love messages start to appear on this black volcanic cliff face. Couples look for white pebbles, or even bring their own and proceed to piece together love messages for all to see.

 

hearts

From the spray painted “I love you” written in Greek, to tiny little hearts with initials… the romantics stop and let the thousands of passers by know of their feelings for one another.

 

hearts2

Over the years it has become a wonderful tradition which gives the young lovers a forum to express their feelings to the rest of us. They almost always work on their masterpiece together… kiss upon completion & try to find someone, anyone… to take a photo of them standing in front of it. 

Love is grand isn’t it?

Long live the romantics of this world !

***********

Big thank you to the lovely Carla Coulson for her wonderful piece earlier this week… inspirational words from a woman passionate about her chosen art form. Thanks Carla… enjoy your holiday xx

I hope the “Find your passion” posts will inspire other people to share their passion with all of us as part of this theme. If you have found your passion, or know of someone, please let me know… would love to hear from you!

PS: August is Vedema (harvest) month on Santorini. If you know anything about the wonderful wines of Santorini, or would like to, then don’t miss the next post.

Wave from the cave to all of you ;-)