The Daily Diary of a Wandering Restaurateur
May 18 - Farewell to Ia
What else can I tell you about this magical place?
The shops of Ia are as varied as the people, even though they all conform to the same architectural scheme. Your first impression is that everything is white -- and most of the buildings certainly are -- but the blue domes of the churches and an occasional unexpected splash of color will kick you right in the senses!
Santorini was devastated by an earthquake in 1956 that destroyed most of the buildings on the island. What we see today has been carefully reconstructed in the old manner which led to Ia being declared a traditional settlement. Interestingly, before the earthquake the houses were not white but rather brown, the color of the material they were built from. The ruins of one of them has been left untouched in deference to those who came before.
In the end, our most lasting memories of the places we visit always comes down to the people. On Santorini it has been Spiro at Taverna Loakosti, Lucky at Lucky's Souvlakis in Thira, both of whom you have already met in previous installments of this journal. Add to that Papoos and Yaya who we never really met but feel a connection to, Maria, the hardware queen of Ia and her marvelously cluttered shop, the unknown fisherman who proudly adjusted his cap and posed for the photo and Georgia, the tireless woman who runs the local market where we found the essentials of life (mostly beer and coffee!) There were many more who touched us in small ways, of course, and we have found the people here to be extremely open and welcoming of strangers, not always an easy attitude to maintain in an area so dependent on tourism.
© 2007 Restaurant Doctor