Besides Fira and Ia, there are many smaller towns on Santorini. A sudden rain shower almost kept me from enjoying one of my favorite unexpected experiences, but thankfully, the dark cloud passed quickly by.
Our bus driver dropped us off at one end of Megalochori, and told us he’d be waiting at the other end of our guided walk. It was “early” morning, and the day sounds had not yet begun. Although I quickly got the impression that maybe it’s never any noisier here than it was at that moment.
We walked along a wet alley, dodging the puddles and taking in the “ambiance” of real life and I experienced a humble joy at getting this glimpse “behind the scenes.” The people who live here are not part of the usual “make a buck of the tourists” island residents. They are hard-working people, perhaps trying to coax the grapes to grow on the windswept hillsides, or providing services at the nearby clinic—the only medical facility on the island, or working in the many restaurants or gift shops of Fira.
But in Megalochori, there are no gift shops. This is a residential haven. This is their home. I didn’t want to intrude, yet I’m glad I didn’t leave the island without this brief walk, giving me additional insights into the Greek people and their lives.
I heard others ask where everybody was… Well, they don’t eat dinner until late, so perhaps they arise late as well. Or maybe they’d already departed for their jobs “in the city.” I didn’t care—I loved the reverent quiet. And I loved the closely-built whitewashed homes, and I loved that a little white cat with a blue collar came out to greet us. He perfectly matched the predominant color scheme!
It was a treat to walk softly among the cobblestones—cobblestones laid who knows how long ago by who knows what person… We kept our voices low, and our guide gave usbackground to the area without shattering the overall tone of our individual morning meditations.
There was a reverence in the air that is difficult to describe. As I look back on these photos, I am awed. And no, I could not see myself living on a Greek island—on any island—but I was extremely grateful that I had had the time and opportunity to journey here.