march 8th we woke up at 5:30, in the predawn light, to the call to prayer drifting in our windows. it was time to pack up and move on to our next destination. by 6 AM we were walking down istiklal street one last time, carrying all our belongings with us. the usually bustling avenue was quiet except for a few street cleaners and shop owners preparing for the day. we just barely caught a bus by taksim square that took us directly to the airport. once at the airport we had to wait around awhile for our counter to open (even though it was an international flight, the counter didn’t open until 2 hours before take-off). the check-in process was unbelievably quick and painless (after china, we keep bracing ourselves for the worst-case scenarios) and we were through to our gate in a matter of minutes. once inside we got some starbucks, then waited by the gate for the plane to arrive. it was a quick flight over to athens, where we had to check out and check back in for our next flight down to santorini. this was, again, incredibly fast and efficient, so efficient that we found ourselves at the gate about 3 hours before the plane was due to take off. we were the first ones there, in this huge holding pen of a room, and there was this terribly loud and ridiculous canned-music coming through the speakers. it was hard to ignore. eventually, the music inspired david to do a little dance in the wide-open space and thanks to our camera, we now have permanent evidence of how stir-crazy he became.
the santorini flight was only about 45 minutes in a little propeller plane down to the island. from there we took a pricey cab up to our final destination – oia. this city is in postcards and calendars around the world. it’s built into the caldera, or on the cliffs of the island. all the homes are actually more like caves, with the entrances often painted white or pastel. it’s a distinctly beautiful place, and we were so excited to get to stay in one of the homes for the next few days.
the evening was spent picking up a few groceries, unpacking, meeting the local feline population, and getting dinner at what turned out to be the only restaurant in our area (!). apparently, when they say the ‘low-season’ here, they mean it. everything is so quiet. it is really peaceful, but we were hoping for a few more restaurants/cafes to explore. turns out most of these are only open during the high season. oh well, really all i need is a cup of coffee on our front porch, the views are all we need in this picturesque place.