There are some places in the world that visually just smack you right between the eyes. The island of Santorini did that to me the first time I saw it, inspiring me to get up at the crack of dawn, drive a rental moped along cliff edges to the extreme end of the island to capture the sunrise, clamber over roofs of houses to find the perfect angle for a shot, and breathlessly wait for my gorgeous film to be developed when I returned home a month later.
Only to find that the film had not been exposed due to an epic camera failure. $%^&!
You can imagine my devastation after being enamoured with the beauty of this island and having nothing in my hands to show for it. How beautiful is this island, you might ask? Beautiful enough that I vowed to return to Santorini, if only to reshoot those images and not because I was a professional photographer by any stretch. I had no reason to return other than the fact that I had fallen hard for the gorgeous aesthetic of the Cyclades – the Greek Islands of which Santorini is a part.
Known for their brilliant whitewashed architecture and turquoise church domes set against an unbelievably blue sea and sky, these islands will have you at “Yasou”. And did I mention the light in this part of the world? You don’t have to be an artist or a photographer to appreciate this kind of pretty. So five years later, en route to Italy, I made a ‘minor detour’ to Santorini and spent 4 days indulging myself with this Greek feast for the eyes.
Hollywood seemed to think this was the perfect location for shooting film as well: the 1982 movie, Summer Lovers, was set in Santorini. Set against the island’s gorgeous background, the foreground wasn’t too bad either, with Daryl Hanna, Peter Gallagher and Valerie Quennessen running around half-naked most of the time. No Oscar performances here, unless they gave one for best supporting backdrop. But there is no doubt that the beauty of Santorini, and the hedonistic lifestyle portrayed in the movie inspired more than one person to hoist a backpack and head for the Greek isles.
Guilty as charged.
These days I still like a little indulgence, and the Greek isles provide plenty. While snooping around Pinterest for Hotels to Die For, I found this shot below. Not surprisingly, it came from a hotel in Oia, on the island of Santorini, the same town I had set out on my trusty moped to photograph all those years ago.
It’s tempting to think about another visit to Greece, and with the recent economic crisis, prices may be more favourable than in years past. And even though I’ve still got some of my photos from the second time I visited Santorini, I have no doubt that I’ll re-shoot another 500 or so, all over again.
It’s just that kind of place.PHOTO TIP: A polarizing lens can be your best friend when trying to photograph bright white houses against deep blue skies.
TIP: If you like the rental moped idea, go for it. But just remember that driving accidents are the most common way that travellers are injured every year, so be extra careful. Whitewashed plaster is one thing, a plaster cast on your leg is another.
Jane Canapini is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada and the North American Travel Journalists Association. She established GrownupTravels.com in 2014 to share information and tips based on personal experience so her readers could get the most out of their travels.
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