The Greek island of Santorini is known for the beautiful sapphire blue waters of the Aegean Sea that surrounds it, the houses carved into its cliffs that are stuff of architectural dreams, and of course, the white-washed buildings with blue domes that speckle the island like polka dots.
Driving across the island from the airport to my hotel, I audibly gasped as we passed church after glorious church, each more lovely than the last, and mentally mapped my photo safari.
And with over 250 churches on the tiny Greek Island, it’s virtually impossible to turn around without another picture-perfect church coming into view.
That there are hundreds of churches on Santorini is probably no accident since the island has religious roots and is believed to have been named for Ayia Irini (Saint Irene) by the Crusaders.
Though most of the churches I came across were gleaming white, topped with the famous blue half-spheres, there were plenty of churches in other colors, like the Agios Georgios, a church visible through an archway that was a yellow as bright as the sun, or the orthodox church painted in an eye-catching shade of pink reminiscent of Pepto Bismol.
I have to admit that I was quite enamored with that particular edifice, though it would have never occurred to me to paint a church pink.
Maybe it’s a nod to Santorini’s patron saint, Ayia Irini.