The bracelet

A to Z Challenge: J = Jewelry Shopping in Santorini

J = Jewelry shopping in Santorini … or how I found myself walking down a very long flight of stairs

JI like jewelry – but I rarely buy any, so how did I end up with a very special piece of jewelry from Santorini? The same way I find myself in many strange situations when I travel – I got lost!

The village of Fira, on the island of Santorini, lies atop a steep cliff that plunges into the sea. At the bottom of this cliff is a pier where the cruise ship tenders dock. There are several ways up the cliff – cable car, steps, or donkeys (walking the steps). The village is not very big – and there are maps when you get off the cable cars. I am usually good at reading and understanding maps.  That does not mean I will not get lost!

Winding stairs up the cliff to Fira
Winding stairs up the cliff to Fira
Fira
Fira

On of the things I wanted to do was go to the archaeology museum. According to the map, it appeared to be a few blocks away. Reality?  It was RIGHT BEHIND THE MAP! The museum is small, but you can get very close to some amazing pieces statues and artifacts from the area. There is also a particular church that I wanted to see, yet somehow I walked right past it! Regardless of all these missteps, I did enjoy the narrow streets and the views of the sea. It was through my wandering that I found myself on Gold Street – and guess what is here. That’s right, jewelry – shop after shop of jewelry! Gold, shiny, gem encrusted, gleaming…. It was all there. So, did I walk past the shops? No, something caught my eye. It was a beautiful gold bracelet with red, green and blue stones in it. Did someone notice me staring at the bracelet? Of course! That is how I found myself in the shop, trying on the bracelet in all its shiny glory. Did it fit? Perfectly!  Sometimes the universe just puts things into your path. I had a beautiful discussion with the designer and his wife. She explained to me the symbols on the bracelet and the meanings behind the three colours — health, wealth and love (who doesn’t want that!). She also told me that I would be the first sale of the day — and this would bring good luck to both of us.  I am a firm believer of sharing good energy, so I was sold. Soon, I was walking out of the store with my shiny new bracelet. So what should I do now?  I needed to calm down form my spending spree and I thought drinking a nice wine would be a way to celebrate this beautiful, if confusing, day. Truly, I am NOT used to buying jewelry like this! I found a taverna, and ordered some red wine and stared at the spectacular view. Directly below where I was sitting were the stairs that lead from the top of Fira to the pier. It appeared to me that the steps looked to be wide and low – easy to walk on. Or maybe that was the wine talking…

View of the stairs from Fira to the sea
View of the stairs from Fira to the sea

Fortified with wine, I decided to walk down the 580 steps from the top of Fira to the pier. I forgot a few things: my knee, the donkeys, and 580 stairs. Sometimes my knee hurts going down stairs. So walking down that many steps, no matter how “easy” might not be in my best interest. but I forgot about my knee and headed off!

Taking the stairs
Taking the stairs — see others can do it!

Then there is donkeys – lots of donkeys. Donkeys standing in the sun with blankets and saddles do not smell nice. Donkeys do not use a “litter box”, so, while the steps are generally easy, you had to watch where you stepped to miss the “presents” left behind! Donkeys also have the right of way. They will not walk around you; they will walk right up to you, expecting you to move.  They are not timid or shy!

Donkeys waiting to go down the stairs
Donkeys waiting to go down the stairs
More donkeys
More donkeys
and more donkeys
and more donkeys

And lastly, there are the steps – 580 of them – and I was a little tipsy form the wine and my purchase. Once you start down this path, you really do have to finish it — there is no way off when you reach the half-way mark.  I walked down the stairs, watching where I stepped and dodging the occasional donkey. I stopped a few times to rest and take photos I would not have gotten any other way (a bonus!). 580 steps … and I finally reached the pier, new bracelet in hand and a story to tell.

Stairs from Fira
Watch your step!

 

Yet more stairs
Yet more stairs
And more donkeys on the stairs
And more donkeys on the stairs — but the view is great!
Donkey heading straight for me!
Donkey heading straight for me!
And at the end, donkeys lined up ready to go
And at the end, donkeys lined up ready to go

Moral of this story is that sometimes you need to get lost, make interesting decisions and see where the paths lead. That and I can walk down 580 steps, wearing a shiny new piece of jewelry and live to tell the tale!

The bracelet
The bracelet that started this tale!

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