After finally making it to the top of the staircases and successfully avoiding all of the donkey poop landmines because, yes, they are a real thing, I started my way around the rest of Fira. It was getting close to sunset and I wanted to make sure I saw the city with enough time to wander around before I settled in for the night and repacked to make my way to the next destination.
Around Fira, you’ll find little signs on the sides of buildings that will give you directions to major landmarks within the city. I wish that Oia had these, especially for the blue domed church but that’s okay, since I still had the chance to wander around and really get to know that city. The only destination that I found within Fira that I hadn’t really had a chance to see was the Three Bells of Fira which is their major blue domed church. Taking a quick wander around the entire city, I had seen the three bells without realizing it because as you take the major walkways along the coastline, you’ll see the bells but you have to be above the church or at least the same level in order to even get a peek at the blue dome of the church. From the coastline walk way, you will not notice the dome. To be honest, I didn’t even realize that the blue dome existed until I kept seeing the little maps that were posted along the walls of some of the buildings. They are these small squares that show where you are in relation to the landmarks. I decided that I needed to the see the top of the church so I followed the map.
Along my journey, I actually started to run into people or rather people that I’m assuming were influencers or trying to be. I saw so many people dressed up in nicer outfits posing with the volcano and the coastline as it’s background and I was so impressed because honest, they all looked good. At this point, I had hiked up multiple rounds of stairs, run around two separate cities and was lugging around multiple layers around in my backpack. I was less than in great condition and had over dressed for the day of wandering, the excessive sun and the weather so I was sweating and looking incredibly disheveled. I wish that I could have been brave enough to walk up to these groups of people and actually been able to ask them how they were dressed in such fashions and how they were able to travel with all the great clothes because honestly, I was running on just the perfect amount of practical outfits for my entire three week journey. I was already pushing the limit of my trust Cotopaxi backpack for everything I needed within that time and there was no way I could have added anything additional into that bag. Plus, having to pull a roller suitcase around Santorini would have been absolutely terrible to say the least. I felt bad having someone help me carry my bag down the stairs, and it was a backpack. I can only imagine how terrible it would be to carry suitcases down those stairs.
Back to the story, I took a picture of the map and started following the path that it laid out. What’s funny is that one of the restaurants was the landmark on the maps that I found and I am assuming that the turnover of restaurants and businesses in Fira is minimal if they are able to do that. As I followed the map, I saw that the restaurant that was a landmark had been there since the early 80s, so I’m assuming that the restaurant will probably be able to stand the test of time.
I eventually found myself at the top of the hill after some more stairs and was standing above the blue domed church and the Three Bells of Fira. With the volcano and the water as the back drop it was absolutely amazing and wonderful to see. I was alone up there for the most part, outside of one couple that magically appeared and left after taking the obligatory fancy photos. I sat on the edge of a wall and just stared out over the entire water and the landscape of the island as the sun began to set. It was by far one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.