This trip is a constant state of change and adjustment. We plan to travel during the day, and then we find out it’s better to travel at night (or vice versa). We get our hopes up to stay at one guesthouse, and then we find out it’s booked. We show up at a museum only to find out it’s closed. It’s never-ending. Today, we had originally planned on leaving from Canoa in the morning and arriving in Quito at night. And then we found out there wasn’t a bus from Canoa in the morning. We hung out at Sundown for one last afternoon before we packed everything up for another overnight, this time from Canoa to Quito.
I’m much more of a sunset kinda girl than I am a sunrise. We’ve seen a few of these beauties from our room, but tonight, we all took the time to walk down to the beach and soak it up together. It was beautiful. There’s something really magical about being able to do or watch something extraordinary with a group of only days prior were strangers. We all may have just met, but it rarely feels that way after connecting over a fun activity or a beautiful view. It’s one of my favorite things about this trip. The constant reminder that we’re all connected, and that there probably is no such thing as a “stranger” after all.
We spent some of our day here, being as lazy as we possibly could before having a late lunch and then trekking to Thira by way of the local bus to catch another to Oia.
We were told to arrive to Oia around seven to get a good spot. We were also told that the bus from Perissa to Thira only took thirty minutes. We waited for the bus for twenty minutes, it took at least forty to get to Thira, and we arrived after seven to Oia. Note to self: Next time just rent a motorbike or even a 4-wheeler because it will be cheaper and oh so much more convenient than the Santorini local buses.
Also, had I known that the entire island was going to turn out to see this most beautiful sunset, I just might have stayed home. Because when there are SO MANY PEOPLE around it really takes away from the beauty of something, natural or man-made. Andrew summed it up perfectly when he expressed confusion over how we, having lived in Seoul, surrounded by 10,000 people all. the. time. could get so frustrated with the masses of people we’ve been encountering since we touched down in Istanbul last month.
We wandered. We stopped in out of the way alleys with different views- not always of the sun setting- but without other people sitting on the walls around you or stopping in front of you to take a picture without warning or speaking entirely too loudly.
Daring to go to THE best spot, we weaved our way through the masses and then sat mostly on the far, lower wall where we really couldn’t see much. I snuck down and around to the other wall with the view and had to ask someone if I could step in front of them for a quick picture.
When Andrew came down to join me, it seemed a hundred others did as well, and I think I watched more people watching the sunset or photographing themselves in front of the sunset than I did of the actual… sunset. After handing my camera off to Andrew, we both gave up and walked around town instead. We ended up in a parking lot outside of town that had a few others sitting on the wall, an attempt to escape the masses as well. The sun didn’t exactly set, but more like disappeared into the clouds that had come. Even though we left THE spot early, we didn’t really miss much. It took an hour and a half to navigate the local buses back to Perissa, and then had to walk from the far bus stop back to our hotel. We were both kicking ourselves for not having rented a motorbike, but it was a lesson learned. And if you find yourself on Santorini anytime soon, stay away from the buses and rent your own bike or 4-wheel or even car while you’re here!
Santorini is beautiful. And we were told the sunset over Oia, the northernmost town on Santorini was absolutely a “must-see” during our stay. It was beautiful, I’m assuming so, because I couldn’t exactly see it behind the dozens and dozens of others who had come out to see the sun drop. Luckily, I could hand my camera over to Andrew who stand behind others and take a good photo when I couldn’t see and/or reach over them.
I was excited and a little on edge about heading to Nungwi and Kendwa. These are the two beaches on the northern and western part of the island. While undoubtedly beautiful, there was a reputation for theft. Theft from your hotel room, theft from hotel safes, theft on the beach… and, per usual, it was advised not to walk around at night. I tried to concentrate on the beauty of the scenery instead of the logistics of how I was going to go swimming with my laptop, camera, iphone, wallet- not leaving anything in the guesthouse room or on the beach for someone to walk away with. This concentration led to an experiment of photos taken from the dala dala window on our drive up. Some are a bit blurry, but I quite liked the watercolor-esque tone that the images took on.
We dropped several people off outside of different guesthouses and one fancy hotel where I lusted after the cool wet towel that was immediately handed to their new guest. One day I will be that kind of guest. One day…
Then we rolled up to the guesthouse Andrew had read about. It was close to the beach. It wasn’t a hotbox ON the beach. And there were sea-turtles. Unfortunately, upon first glance, it looked shabby. All of the warnings Andrew had read aloud to me about what to try to avoid clouded my judgement, the malaria meds got the best of me, and I immediately envisioned all of our things getting stolen and several nights of restless sleep for a price that simply made me angry. Not wanting to walk with our bags back into town, we decided to stay, and I continued to feel uncomfortable.
And then, as we waited for our room to be made up, we spotted the natural pool of water and the ten rescued sea-turtles swimming about within it. I watched, mesmerized by them. I took photos of the couple that stopped by to swim with them. We checked into our room and it was cool and clean. I felt better. But not good enough to leave my computer behind while we walked down to the beach.
We jumped in the water and marveled at how few chairs there were set up or people out enjoying the white sands and clear water. Beach boys bombarded us asking if we wanted to go snorkeling with them tomorrow, if we wanted the sunset cruise tonight, and even if we wanted something to smoke or snort… We said “No” and explained we were just there for the beach (and calamari for me, beer for Andrew).