For years, I had been dreaming of traveling to Santorini. I had seen pictures of course, loads of them; yet, it seemed that with each one I saw, my desire to visit the reputably beautiful Greek island only grew in intensity.
Approaching the island on a small boat, I could see a narrow path zigzagging up to the town. Soon enough, I found myself ascending that path… on a donkey. It was crazy, I know, but for most of the ride I couldn’t quit laughing. This donkey was incredibly lazy, so much so that it kept stopping in the middle of all the other donkeys, and when it did feel obliged to move it swerved all over the place with a particular fondness for the edge of the cliff. Even after we reached the top and I hopped off the donkey, my heart continued to flutter.
â–º Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
That was merely the beginning of the excitement, though. Walking through the town, I began my search for that place in all of those pictures. I stopped in a shop and, pointing to a postcard, asked the owner if she knew where the picture was taken. She directed me towards the center of the town, where I found a huge church and looked out at more islands, sitting there calmly as if waiting for something. It was lovely, but it just wasn’t the place I was looking for; I stopped in another shop and was told that I wouldn’t be able to find that place unless I took a cab, for which I certainly hadn’t the time or money.
For sure, I was a little disappointed. I began wandering aimlessly, climbing up hills and walking through archways while staring at tiny cobblestones beneath my feet. I remember reaching a tiny neighborhood scattered with art studios and courtyards before wondering if perhaps I should turn back, but as time went on I began to feel promise and urged myself to go on. It was lucky I did too, because as I turned around the bend, I stumbled upon what must have been the most amazing place on that entire island.
It was situated so that you could gaze directly out over the water without any structures in the way at all. The entire top of the cliff was covered in pristine white buildings, a few touches of pink and gold thrown in. In the foreground was another church, which had a blue roof, while in the background land appeared to stretch on forever. There was something about this place right here, something in the way little houses nestled themselves into the cliff, something in the way the water, the clearest, bluest water imaginable, sparkled beneath the sun.
That picture, of the town sprawled across the hillside, was the most gorgeous, breathtaking one I have ever seen.
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