Sunsets on Santorini, Greece, particularly from the city of Oia, are rumored to be the most spectacular in the world.
So, during my four nights in Oia, I hiked to the most popular viewing posts two hours early, in order to secure a coveted perch where hundreds of tourists crowd onto specific rooftops, railings, and beaches to get the “best” views.
And I waited.
The most entertaining part of the sunset was watching all of the people show up, cameras, beverages and blankets in hand, desperately trying to balance everything on a thin ledge. Then I listened as they would, in unison, sigh “oooh” and “aaah” as the sun languidly sank into the ocean.
But each night I was bewildered.
I tossed out a couple of “wow’s” just so I’d fit in, but these were, to me, mediocre sunsets. Yet the folks who watched with me took thousands of photographs and got light-headed from all of their gasping. I have seen photographs of some stunners out of Greece, but all four of the ones I witnessed were very basic.
I know this…because I’m spoiled.
All along the Central Coast we witness exceptional sunsets almost every day. Brilliant oranges, yellows, reds. Seagulls soaring across the white sun, pelicans diving for dinner, otters hammering rocks into the clamshell on their bellies.
What we DON’T have is a marketing effort that has announced it as successfully as Greece. But maybe this is a good thing, because we don’t have hundreds of cars parked erratically along Highway One, for the two hours around every sunset.
We can still find our way down to the beaches to enjoy in relative peace.
In fact, that’s what Jeanette and I did last week. We had gone down to the Embarcadero for a couple of beers, and we were sitting above the bay, enjoying the lingering sunshine and the views when a kayak skimmed across the water in front of us.
A lone male guided the kayak to a moored catamaran, and in the fading light we watched as he busied himself moving things around the boat.
We created a story for him, one in which he lived on the boat, took his kayak to a car, the car to his job, then reversed the process each day…and was just coming home after a long day behind a desk. In our story, he had life all figured out.
He disappeared below deck, and Jeanette and I returned to our sunset, brew, and true stories.
But my gentleman friend soon reappeared, with a beverage in his hand and…was that?…could it possibly be?…was that a kitty following him? Indeed it was!
A black and white tuxedo cat, just like the naughty boy I have at home, was meandering along the catamaran…weaving in and out of the masts and ropes, just as comfortable as he would have been on a stable surface.
They both sat down in front of the mast, gazing toward the sunset and the rock.
Right there, in one little scene, were so many of my favorite things.
This tableau raised the sunset bar a little higher.
And secured, for me, the Central Coast as the winner of the most spectacular sunsets in the world.