Santorini's Beauty

Updated on September 17, 2020
jwmurph profile image

Retired English teacher, writer, world traveler, and sports enthusiast.

Santorini and the Aegean
Santorini and the Aegean | Source

Visiting Santorini

One of the great adventures which my wife and I have taken in our travels was a three week multiple train ride beginning in Warsaw, continuing through Prague, Budapest, Sophia, and Thessaloniki to Athens, where we spent almost a week, with a couple of days in Santorini, then back to Athens and then on to Istanbul.

Santorini, of course, was as different from the other places that we visited as it could have been. The others were mostly landlocked, big cities and countryside beside the railroad tracks that we traveled along, including the one through Romania where our crusty train conductor warned us to beware of "bandits" during the night through Romania. Fortunately, we encountered none.

Santorini is a partially circular island in the Aegean, about 120 miles southeast of Athens, shaped much a C from where we stayed on the island, with gaps between parts of it, left by the volcanic eruption which blew its top and most of its substance away, in the same way that we we also find Crater Lake in Oregon. This eruption of Thera, as the island was originally called, occurred sometime around 1500 BCE.

Ours was a lovely place to stay at Aoi, at the north end of the "town" with ample places to eat and to buy jewelry, food, and other such items. The buildings were almost all bright white walled, with brilliant blue roofs, absolutely picturesque, and where we had a peacefully, wonderful time.

I discussed the name of Santorini with our innkeeper, noting that Santorini did not sound Greek to me. He told me that the island received its present name at a time when it was under the control of Rome and was named after the Catholic Saint Irene.

To me, the really interesting question relating to Santorini is if the island was the original place of the fabled city of Atlantis. Plato, among others, mentions Atlantis as an important place in the antiquity of classical Greece. There are extensive archaeological digs on the island studying its history so that someday this question may be answered.

The ferry port for the island is in the south. Our internet-found small hotel was at Oai, high on a cliff looking toward the center opening of the C and toward the ferry port all the way across the island from where we stayed, costing us a 30 euro taxi ride each way, plus tip.

Source: Personal experience and Wikipedia article

Santorini

about half

a century ago now

a discussion of our western world’s

history of ideas

in college class textbook

(only half seriously,

some thought)

posited the idea

that greece’s classical greatness

in architecture, sculpture, literature, philosophy

and all its intellectual might

was made possible

(if not caused)

by the remarkably clear aegean air

of its northeastern corner of

the then known world’s middle sea


an impossible theory now

on santorini's crater’s edge

nearing spring day’s end,

we feel, almost,

red sunset coming

caused, in part,

by the med's hanging black haze

making indistinct

those shorelines, hills, valleys

cities and towns around

our island

destroying in a decade

of acid rain's dissolution

in only ten years

what formerly took

a full century of marring


now human-caused destruction

of incessant pollution

erasing elements

of greece's greatness

which towered

above the ancient world

as mountain tops above seashores

modern culture's destructiveness

to even the brilliantly clear air

of greece's sea

is beyond belief

almost

if not seen

and known to exist

A Santorini sunset at Oai indicating the amount of pollution in the air in the Aegean
A Santorini sunset at Oai indicating the amount of pollution in the air in the Aegean | Source

Aegean Air Pollution

The first time that I was in the Mediterranean, about 1990, I noticed considerable haze in Athens and on the sea. The second time that I was there more than a decade later, l thought that the pollution may have been worse. In the picture above, a great deal of pollution can be seen in the sunset, apparently partially causing the red sunset. I was told by a tour guide at Athens that the acid rain from human activity caused the pollution which is damaging the marble stonework in Greece at a ten to one rate in comparison to the damage which would be done without the pollution. Assuming that this is true, which I do, this is a terrible waste of beautiful stone and a great waste of artistic architecture in this cradle of much of our Western Culture's heritage, a terrible tragedy, as far as I am concerned.

Source, personal experience and information from Greek tour guides.

Comments

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    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 

      7 years ago from Tennessee

      I still think it's one of the most beautiful places in the world.

    • profile image

      Jwmurph 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for your lovely comments.

    • profile image

      Ghaelach 

      7 years ago

      Nice hub and a beautiful island, of which I have visited years ago.

      I loved the Greek islands and spent 10 years on Crete in Kritsa above Agios Nikolaos over looking Mirabello Bay.

      Nice memories.

      Ghaelach

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