If you like walking, if you like authentic stories, if you like cinema, you should keep on reading this story which takes place in Santorini.
I know Arsenio since 2005, he was a teenager when I met him the first time as he’s one of the son of my Greek-second mother Eva.
At the beginning there were only lovely conversation in between a 15-years-old boy and a young girl, but year after year, our age gap cut down, and now I have this young man as one of my best friends on the island (and I am still a young girl!). If it was not for one conversation with him, probably I would not have been here where I am now.
Arsenio is one of the most enthusiastic people I know in Santorini and he knows a lot about where we live.
In the picture you see that he hugs a beautiful girl, her name is Juliana.
Their (love) story is what gives me credit that life as cinema exists, something I really believe in.
Juliana is from Colombia and 4 years ago came touring Europe with her uncle and decided to make a stop by herself in Santorini as she had always wanted to visit our island as she remembered a picture of the caldera, probably Oia, from her childhood.
She stayed few days, she stumbled in Akrotiri, our beloved village, almost by chance, a person led her to another and finally, a couple of days before her leaving, she met Arsenio.
She was hungry and someone suggested her to pay a visit to the restaurant Arsenio was managing with his family.
Love at first sight always happen to others 🙂 at least from both sides, and Arsenio and Juliana are a couple since then.
After those last two days Juliana went back to Australia where she was living and met again Arsenio in Thailandia some time after. They travelled together for a month and again separated by an entire world. Two years ago Juli came back to Greece, they got married and here we are.
They live in a beautiful house by the sea with their dog Negrito, they have two horses and some chickens.
They are building their own life, they way they wanted. It might not be always easy, but this is the way it is when you are following your dream.
I feel safe when I am with them, I know they both understand me for different reasons.
We all live in the same area and we deeply love this village because it is indeed very special.
It is considered the most authentic village of Santorini and I am a very proud member of the community.
Thanks to Arsenio and Juliana I get to know it better day after day, and I know there are so many amazing places, that it’s a shame that people keep it far from their tour when here. Shame for them and maybe, somehow, good for us. We still have our own places.
One of our very own places is Balos.
You can see the sign, it says Agio Nikolaos Balou but for the locals and few lucky people is just Balos.
It says 15 min away from the road going to the Lighthouse, but it will be more coming up 🙂
This is what I consider my private beach.
Even if I don’t go into the water, I go down with a book quite often, when I don’t want to see anyone.
The risk to meet someone there is close to 3% and anyway it will be probably someone I know and that I like.
Juliana and Arsenio just started their own project, called Santorini By Foot.
They are sharing their love and knowledge about the island with whoever would like to be guided by a local and to understand a bit better the real life of islanders.
As they love the environment and animals, their tours are sustainable and you can explore the island with the company of your (or theirs) dogs!
We decided to go down to Balos all together. When I say all together I mean:
Me – Juli – Arsenio – Negrito and Toni.
Negrito has been living with my friends till he was one month only, he’s a very brilliant dog who loves freedom and chocolate.
Toni is the last add to their family, he is a sweet stray dog, very stubborn (we had some quarrels over the last summer but now we are friends).
I have been down to Balos lots of times but never with Arsenio.
This time was like discovering a place I had not seen before.
It’s interesting to understand how other eyes, another heart, can show you things that have been there for long time but that you had not notice before.
On our way down we made a stop in a fascinating cave, once a church, for a coffee.
We shared the same cup and we shared our projects that we hope could link together at some point.
I am really proud of them as they are doing everything in-house, by themselves.
The website, the pictures, the text, the promotion, the tours.
They are always very positive and with a unforgettable smile on their mouth.
Very often I think that we should spend more time together but the real life of Santorini is somehow different from a postcard. You don’t get much free time and we are both focusing on our projects right now.
But we know that we love and support each other and that I will always call them when Negrito hangs around the village, far from their house.
My wish for you is to find similar people in your life.
And if you pop by Santorini, to meet them, to ask them to walk you around a hidden island, full of stories of sailors, dogs and love.
©Nicoletta Barbata/One Quarter Greek
If you liked this post, subscribe to my newsletter and don’t miss my stories from Greece