Santorini, the most exquisite island in the Aegean Sea is truly that.
Everything in Santorini creates a sense of drama from the staggering cliffs where cave homes dwell, to the massive caldera (the largest in the world) to the red and black soil to the salty and minerally Assyrtiko white wine. It is not by coincidence either as this is the site where historic volcanic eruptions destructed the island and its civilization, twice. The island itself exists surrounded by very deep waters where perhaps remnants of the lost civilization of Atlantis remains, as some scholars speculate.
Santorini has gained international attention for its breathtaking scenic imagery; white stucco structures with bright blue domes, often churches with crosses piercing the blue of the sky and crowds of people gathered on rooftops witnessing colorful sunsets over the caldera. At times melancholic holiness hangs in the air, all around, in each ecstatic view, bringing contemplation and awe. You remain somewhere suspended between Heaven and Earth, amidst the richest mineral-reds and volcanic-blacks and greys of the soil, becoming acutely aware of man’s long past toiling the earth and striving for greatness. And yet, the miraculous is the sensation of the very moment.
The world-class service is so warm and fluid that a friendliness and smoothness washes over the gravity of the scenery, emanating from the abyssal depths. Service with a smile and a taste for real Greek hospitality is offered at every level of accommodation.
Here too you can “taste the volcano” as Master of Wine Yannis Karakasis beckons at their antique cellar, with a curated experience tasting local wine. The grapes tasted here have been sheltered from drought in small handmade nests of twine or “kouloura”, living off humidity from neighboring natural elements such as pumice stone and the sea air.
Santorini is unquestionably a foodies haven with ample offerings for fine dining and tasting the Mediterranean. The cuisine is so fresh and elevated that the flavors, aromas and the presentation of the dishes bring ease, harmony and peace to your palette and mood. This artistry creates satiation leading to real contentment. This can be experienced in such top restaurants as Selene, located in Fira in the courtyard of an old monastery that was converted into a Katikies hotel property.
Horizons are preserved here like nowhere else; long fluid lines of walls in Fira or Oia towns are low and sparsely and simplistically decorated with natural elements such as rocks, pebbles, wood pieces, pumice, volcanic stone, etc. in various natural shades; they stand as petite and humble icons, statues or deities. Arches and domes gently swoop in for accent the way a warm breeze might tickle your face. Small gates with quaint latches beg for a gentle touch and burly Geraniums line the maze-like alleys and stairs that weave paths down to endless levels of wondrous nooks and places that reveal new perspectives.
Sip an espresso in the early morning from your private hot tub at Andronis Boutique hotel and greet the day from a birds-eye view, watching seagulls stir below and admire the clouds as they break apart before you. The orchestration of the sky in its endless momentum becomes the main event for the morning as your mind rests.
There may be nothing new under the sun, but everything evokes wonder and mystery in this heavenly destination that has existed and persisted since ancient times. If we could suspend the lofty feelings of gratitude here, collectively felt, surely the bliss would just pour over to neighbors, brothers, sisters, and other lands and remind us of what it is to flourish no matter what. Survival and glory are at once the true essence of this intrepid and stupendous island.