Tag Archives: oia pictures

Bougainvillea – A sexy South American in Santorini

It’s an amazing world we live in… how often have you thought about that lately?  Not often? Perhaps you should.

Lately I have found myself running around a bit too much and realised that its been a while since I took Rex for a long walk through the village. Today I rectified that and although its very hot here… it was an uplifting experience. Its the middle of summer (almost), the light is very bright and the village looks a picture. It struck me as I walked through the narrow paths that there are so many beautiful images all around, quite apart from the views of Oia. It also struck me that you can’t help but gaze towards a particular plant at this time of year…wherever it may be growing.

b1

 

Its bougainvillea… and in Oia, its everywhere. This sexy little climber from the South American tropics has certainly found its way to the Greek islands and in this small village it is almost symbolic. There is good reason for that of course… the colour contrast between the various varieties of bougainvillea and the mostly white-washed walls in Oia is spectacular. The effect of bougainvillea on a landscape can be stunning.
 

b2

Whether it’s someone’s garden…

 

b3

Or a small hotel like this. The contrast against white and blue seems completely natural and “right”.

 

b4 
It is used to add colour to our narrow lanes…

 

b7

and even our clock tower.

 

b5 
Shops use bougainvillea….

 

b8

so do our restaurants. Some of these are old, very well established plants, adding lots of colour and atmosphere.

 

b6

Others use them in a very subtle, understated way to achieve sublime results !

 

There are no prerequisites to having a bougainvillea. You don’t need a spectacular villa or a great restaurant. You can just as easily have the good taste to grow one in front of your small island home.

b9

It certainly makes plain white & blue look like dreamland…. don’t you think?

 

And so it was…walking around my little village, that I realised what an amazing world we live in, if only we take the time to look around us. A gorgeous South American now living and thriving in Greece, adding infinite beauty to the landscape every year.  

Go for a long walk…clear your mind and look around you. I bet you’ll find plenty of beautiful things you haven’t noticed for a while ;-)

Advertisements

O the romance of it all !

There are lots of weddings on Santorini every year…. that’s looots, as in 3 zeros, as in thousands. People from all over the world come here to get married, each couple having it’s own special reason for choosing this magical island. 

The weddings range from the sublime to the ridiculous. There are people that have traditional weddings, others totally non-traditional (read: on the volcano itself). Some do it discreetly….in their own hotel, or even their own balcony over looking the magnificent view… along with half a dozen friends and/or family. Others have more elaborate weddings….hiring an entire hotel and decorating it like a magical kingdom out of a fairytail. 

Then there are my Japanese friends. I say this with a big smile on my face….you really have to hand it to these young people. They often come here alone, they get married on a balcony by an official and then proceed to walk through the whole village trying to take their own wedding photos. Now….go with me on this. The bride quickly changes into runners (sneakers) under the wedding dress and she usually carries the tripod. The groom is carrying camera, lenses, his jacket, flowers and any other props they may want to use in their “professionally” taken wedding photos. So off they go… from roof top to roof top, looking for good angles of the caldera….he sets up the camera while she props herself in front, on, or against something. He sets the shot, clicks the timer and runs like hell to get in the shot…. often having to go back and do it again…and again…and again. Meantime the bride has either changed back to her “wedding shoes” or is pulling the wedding dress like hell to cover the sneakers she is wearing. Oh…and this is often done in the middle of the day ( a curious phenomenon seemingly applicable only to the Japanese)…. which means in mid-summer it is at least 35C. They are both perspiring like mad and the Japanese bride usually has a small umbrella to protect her snow-white skin from the harsh sun. But do they care?

Nope…. you often see their faces beaming with happiness that they are doing what they want, in the place of their dreams. You see them kissing under the frilly umbrella, then quietly packing the “set” and moving on to the next location so they can do it all over again and again and again. THAT is romance Santorini style as far as I am concerned ( I also love the way the locals often come out and offer them cool drinks…right there on the roof tops).

On the other end of the scale you have the rich-bitch bridezillas. Our friend Kat, the local hairdresser, tells us stories of women that throw a fit because the flowers look wilted, or they don’t like the suit on the official marrying them (they are lucky he didn’t turn up in his sandals). They complain about the heat, or the cars or the balcony decorations, or or or… I am always amazed how the guys marrying these women can’t take a hint of things to come.

But the large majority of couples getting married on this island are just ordinary people who had a dream (there is that word again). They save their money, bring their family and friends and they get married in the way they have fantasised…often for years. Simple, elegant weddings, usually at sunset overlooking one of the most stunning views in the world. You watch their faces and you know…you know that this is what they have wanted to do ever since they decided to get married. In fact….it often starts long before that. One or the other had visited the island and fell in love with it. Or…they met here, or they saw it in a movie or a poster or a video… and decided THAT was where they wanted to get married. Do you blame them?

Looking out over the caldera view does things to you….even to someone that has been looking at it for more than 25 years. People get mesmerised, their mind drifts and they become lost in their own thoughts. I remember last August I saw a couple get married on a hotel balcony. The bride looked gorgeous and her groom was beaming. They had less than half a dozen people there as they stood side by side. They got married as their friends watched and they kissed…then turned and looked out at the view. I would’ve given anything to read their thoughts at that moment. The next afternoon I was taking photos of the sunset and I saw them sitting on a roof top… alone but together. No words were spoken between them as they watched the red August sun setting. As the last traces of the sun were about to sink into the Aegean horizon… they turned and kissed. They looked at each other…hugged and then sat there looking out to the endless blue below them. No words necessary….their “dream” fulfilled !

There are of course people for whom money is no object. They can afford to do things with a bit more style and if they can afford it… who can blame them. Last night I came out just after sunset…looked down below and saw this:

sailship2

It’s one of the regular sunset sail boats from Oia…. but this time the sails were lit up and there was a wedding on-board. My picture does not do the image I saw justice. But I can tell you that it looked fantastic. For them…looking up at the village all lit up, it must have looked like a dream. They must have money…sure. But they also have impeccable taste and you’ve got to love that…

It makes no difference how simply elegant or extravagantly people get married here…they are true romantics.

Cheers to them and all the romantics everywhere !

 

 

Oia Santorini – VespaCam: Oia Sunset

VespaCam :  you are riding around this magical island…you see something beautiful, you stop… “click”, back on the Vespa and vrooooommmm ! 

sunset2

something like this for instance…

sunset1which on closer inspection looked like this…. how can you not take a picture ?

Btw…if you look closely the tiny dot in the sea is not dust on your screen, it’s a twilight sailing boat. Lucky people ;-)

Oia Santorini – Summer Lovers

It was a just a small budget movie released in 1982. At the time the Greek Islands were already popular with young tourists from all over the world, but this silly little movie became a fantastic international commercial for the Greek tourism authority. Its just light hearted escapism, but the soundtrack was great and the images captured the imagination of millions around the world. For many this was the first glimpse they had of the magic of Santorini & the Aegean lifestyle and I know that many millions of people made a vow to themselves that “one day” they will get to the island.

Twenty six years later the house used for the movie is still here in Oia…now a curiosity shop. For all of you that first saw the island in this film and have visited as a result or are still dreaming about visiting one day…the following pics are for you ;-)

SL1

the house sits on the “other side” of Oia, facing the sunset view but not the caldera and volcano…

SL2

the wall sign still proclaims it as the “Summer Lovers” house…

SL3

although not facing the volcano it still commands a spectacular view…situated above the steps leading down to Ammoudi port…

SL5

also faces the Kastro (old Venetian fort) where the “sunsetters” gather daily to watch the magical sunset show; the old abandoned
ruins you can see were once Captains houses that were abandoned after the 1954 earthquake…

SL6

just above the house are Oia’s two windmills..

SL7

and the side entrance to what I think is the best restaurant (kastro) from which to watch the sunset and enjoy good food….

SL8

the photos were taken around 6pm…but the keen sunsetters were already in position, two and a half hours before sunset…

SL9

for all of these people this will be an afternoon to remember… their cameras capturing sublime images, their dream of watching
the sunset from Oia-Santorini fulfilled!

Hope you enjoyed the short tour of the Summer Lovers neighbourhood ;-)

Oia – Santorini taxi !

 New York has its yellow taxis, London has its black cabs & Venice has its water taxis. 

In Oia…well, in Oia we have our own ;-)

 

taxi

The tourists are coming…

It must be spring. The mega cruiseships have made their first appearance past the house. These are the early morning pics as they come into the caldera. They look much more spectacular at night as they leave with all their lights on….quietly and majestically gliding through the deep waters.

firstcruise

ship4

Oia – in moving pictures…

If you want to see some wonderful images of Oia (with sound) please click on the “A cave to call home” Page on the sidebar. Once there, scroll down to the bottom of the page. Its only 9-mins long but its worth it …enjoy!

(Alternatively you can watch it on You Tube by clicking on the link under blogroll)