Of the two hundred Greek islands, the Cyclades, a group of fifty-six islands, are world famous. I spent most of my time in Oia, a small town on Santorini Island, known for its white-washed cliffside buildings, blushed by the colors of sunset.
In Greece, an old law dated back in the 60’s-70’s required that houses and buildings were to be painted in white for political reasons. But now buildings continue to be painted white so to help keep them cool inside by reflecting away the sunlight. During my visit on Santorini in the month of September, I rented a cave-house, and it stayed cool constantly, all day and night.
To tour this idyllic island, I had the choice of taking either public buses, renting a car, or mopeds. Day or night, the town of Oia beckoned friendly locals and blissful tourists alike to roam its serpentine streets, sometimes dead-ending in front of an arch of thorny bougainvillea guarding a blue front door.
During the day, I would visit one of the several museums on Santorini (prehistoric, archaeological, naval) or window-shop at the many vendors and shops that carried various products, from jewelry and pottery made on the island to foreign luxury watches and handbags.
Or I would relax at a local café bar, sipping a frappé—a Nescafé coffee shaken with milk. In the evening, I would feast in one of the waterfront restaurants, bustling with couples seeking al fresco dining after viewing a magical sunset.
The seafood I had was often simply grilled or broiled with olive oil, rather than being masked with sauces, in order to showcase the sublime freshness of the day’s catch. And the famous moussaka—a lasagna-like dish made with sliced eggplants and a ground beef sauce—tasted so home-cooking good it could warm a tourist’s heart.
Getting lost in the hilly streets of not only on Santorini but also Naxos and Mykonos islands was half the fun. And the inter-island boat rides on hydrofoils slicing the Aegean Sea got me lost in the adventures of Odysseus, Jason and the Argonauts, and Alexander the Great. In Greece, it’s easy to relive ancient history.