So you made it to Santorini.
You flew half-way around the world, changed flights in Athens and were surprised that there was such a huge plane could land in a decidedly small island with a minuscule of an airport.
Hired a car and drove into Oia — the village to be in, for a beautiful sunset in Santorini.
You find that the famed Santorini sunset is visible best from the top of the ruins. Aren’t you glad that you booked your hotel right opposite the ruin so when the sunset comes around, you can quickly walk up to the ruins. Then you decide to explore the village because the sunset is 4 hours away.
You start walking back about 90 minutes before the sunset and notice that tourists (including yourself) are making bee-line like ants towards the ruins and suddenly you are stopped a good 5–10 minutes away from the ruins because the ruins are full.
Surprise 1: Byzantine Ruins can get full!
Ruins are full — what do you mean? That’s crazy talk and we are 90 minutes away from the sunset.
You pull out the “I stay in the hill across the ruins” and get walking towards the ruins area. That’s where the craziness hits you. This is why tourists are here — Sunset in Santorini!! Every square inch of land is taken over by tourists.
You enjoy the sunset from your hotel.
Surprise 2: Fights break out to enjoy the sunset
The next evening, you find a spot way below the ruin that isn’t visible to people who don’t stay in your hotel — good choice with the hotel again! Only to bump into a National Geographic photographer who isn’t too happy that you are there. You strike a friendship and then you hear him say that, last evening, he was at the ruins three hours before the sunset and still was booted out by some boorish Chinese tourists just before the sunset.
Surprise 3: Brides everywhere near the hotels in Oia
So you stand at the hill overlooking the hotel. The sun is decidedly not going to show up from behind the clouds and so you start looking for interesting subjects.
Are those asians…women in bridal trousseau?
Yes they are! Holding up a veil with a camera man and a few other helpers helping click the perfect picture. The groom meanwhile is resignedly enjoying his beer.
Surprise 4: Chinese brides are at every good sunset point
The next evening it gets better. As you head towards the “Three bells of Oia” for a sunset picture. You see not one or two but three entourages of Chinese (I asked) getting their pictures clicked. Brides walking around with their trousseau. Every moment scripted by the photographer.
They completely missed the sunset because they were busy clicking pictures for posterity and were missing from the present moment.
Perhaps the only unsurprising part was that the moment, the sun set, everyone of them turned around got in the car and got the hell out of the place.
A sad commentary on the nouveau riche tourist traveling around the world to sample the best but displaying a behavior that demonstrates neither respect (fight for a picture) nor the desire to truly enjoy the place that they are visiting — it’s all about a Facebook post.
For the record, here is what they missed post sunset.
The sunset itself — gorgeous if it shows up!