Fira, Santorini

The capital of the beautiful Aegean island of Santorini is called Fira. The town overlooks the ocean and the crater of the volcano while standing on the caldera 1,312 feet above sea level.

Facing west, the views of the sunset are breathtaking and with the perfect conditions, very dramatic. 

The town is alive through the brightness of its white walls amplifying the chatter and music heard through the narrow streets. Merchants line the passages all around town and invite you to their restaurant or shop. I love how the people of Fira asked for my story, about where my family is from and about my experience in Greece. Every store had a unique story. And with every story, there was a new friendship. Meeting Lucky and eating at his souvlaki shop a couple times a day for over a week, I'm not ashamed, was very exciting. Every conversation was a party. He shared wisdom, he sang and danced! And the food itself was the most delicious meal I've had during all my travels. 

Staying at Tzekos Villas was a life saving experience. The staff was incredibly attentive in making sure our stay was comfortable. I saw the faces of my own family members and friends in them.  With the attention from the woman greeting me every morning during breakfast as if she was my very own grandmother, I felt at home. Disregarding the language barrier, we communicated with gestures and smiles. She gave me tea and fruit, as I struggled to feel well during my trip. The older woman has complete conversations with me without understanding a word, she simply kept speaking in Greek happily. We would hug and she would bless us on our way for the day and rest of our travels. Chrisanthi worked at the font desk and was such a tremendously generous woman. She shared recommendations, sought medical help, and conversed day in and day out wanting to know more about us and if we were having a grand time. It was very easy to have such a great time in Santorini, even after being stranded on the island a few extra days. It was the perfect place to be stranded and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

With such heart warming interaction with the local people of Fira, the unforgettable food, the warmth of the streets filled with merchants, and the panoramic view of the caldera - Fira is a place where the heart grows. 

Analinda Meneses