No, not a shout for attention but a stunningly beautiful, white-washed village in Santorini (pronounced something like ‘here’ but without the h). It’s a place that you will have seen photographed a thousand times and it is the reason I have wanted to go to Santorini for a very long time, although I didn’t even know it.
In fact, I had never actually heard of Oia. I had seen images of white-washed houses, marble-paved alleyways and blue domed churches, many, many times before, not realising that most of these beguiling images were probably taken in just this one village. While there are many lovely places on Santorini, none of them are quite like Oia. And it is for this reason that it is packed full of tourists, even in October when I recently visited.
I have yearned to go there, to see it for myself, walk along those marble pavements and of course, photograph it for so long.
And when I finally made it to the island of Santorini and the village of Oia, it didn’t disappoint me, despite the crowds that kept getting in the way of my viewfinder and no doubt, I in theirs. I loved it.
Bright, white and brazenly luxuriant, in the still sizzling, October sunshine. Oia shouts for attention. The iconic image of Santorini.
And just look at that view
Oia. Beautiful without doubt. But is it the real Santorini?
I’d have to say no. It’s a highly polished, shiny version of Santorini. Yes, I loved it but I also wanted to discover another Santorini. I’m pleased to say it is there and I think I found it, or at least glimpsed it, but that’s for another day. Another story.