Blue and white. (May 2012)

I don’t think that any flag epitomises a country like the Greek flag.

Especially if you have been to Santorini.

The Greek flag isn’t a political statement but rather a reflection of the environment.

Now I don’t know if the blue domes and cubical whitewashed walls, of the Greek Orthodox churches, came before the flag, or whether the flag was inspired by the white foam of waves breaking against the blueness of the Aegean Sea.

The fact is that blue and white is everywhere.

The hotel staff wear blue and white, the table clothes in the restaurants are blue and white. I even think that the seagulls look whiter against the azure blue sky.

And the daily flotilla of cruise ships, disgorging day trippers, are conveniently painted white.

About the only thing that isn’t white are the beaches, they are a dark, grey and stoney and that’s due to the fact that Santorini is built on the remnants of a volcanic caldera.

The most popular villages of Fira, Imerovigli and Oia cling to the side of this ancient volcanic cone. Everywhere you are forced to look down into the blue water -filled void,

Ancient Thera or Fira also sits high above the Aegean, on Mount Messavouno.

It has been inhabited since the 9th century BC, however nothing remains of the original Bronze Age inhabitants. They were all destroyed by the volcano that makes Santorini the geological marvel it is today.

What remains now is from the Hellenistic period and even these ancient white marble columns still contrast with the deep blue sky, and say Greece.

Most people remember Santorini for the sunsets over the caldera, I’ll remember it for blue and white.

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