Tourist Tuesday, 11/21/17

“Sunset on Santorini. As dusk falls, the crush begins. With the exquisite choreography of a well-honed ritual, coachloads of tourists descend on Oia, the stunning settlement perched on the island’s northern tip. Pushing their way along the village’s packed central alleyway – past shops selling luxury garments, exclusive Greek designers and Jimmy Choo shoes – they have one goal: to glimpse the flaming fireball slip into the sea.”…


“ ‘We have reached saturation point. The pressure is too much,” he sighs, lamenting the lack of economic and environmental sustainability. “Santorini has developed the problems of a city. Our water consumption alone has gone up [by 46%]. We need desperately to increase supplies but that requires studies, which in turn require technicians and that we cannot afford.’

Zorzos has appealed to the authorities in Athens to put a break on the building spree.

In an unprecedented step, he has also capped visitor numbers this year, limiting the number of cruise ship passengers disembarking daily to 8,000 people. Last year 636 ships docked at the island, the country’s most popular cruise destination. There were days when 18,000 passengers arrived, all wanting to see the famous island of narrow lanes and blue-domed churches.

For residents such as Christoforos Asimis, in his 70s, remembering Santorini as it once was has become increasingly difficult. Asimis, a painter and the doyen of the island’s art scene, is frequently forced to draw inspiration from works past when he puts brush to canvas. ‘I never for the life of me imagined there would be traffic jams on this island,’ he says. ‘Any sense of moderation has been buried under concrete. There is absolutely no respect for the environment. The Greek state gets a lot out of tourism, but risks losing everything if the island is destroyed.’…”

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6 thoughts on “Tourist Tuesday, 11/21/17

  1. Very sad and yet typical of most of the world’s finest spots… P.S. Photo of Santorini by Matt Parry

  2. My first visit to Big Sur was 48 years ago

    I am 63 years old – born in southern California. I love this state and all that is in it. I am an environmentalist and believe in the value and urgent necessity to preserve what we have here in this very special part of the planet.

    Some 48 years ago I visited Big Sur for the first time along with a few friends in what was a trip up the coast to explore and surf. It was a magical and memorable journey all along the way, but nothing compared to the wonder and majesty of Big Sur. It stuck with me. I still feel the same way about it and have returned so many times since then that it is hard to put a number to it. I can remember sitting in the River Inn way back when the bar area was up near the entrance and listening to a local guitarist sitting near the fireplace playing Hoyt Thaxton’s “Green Back Dollar” and The Youngbloods “Get Together”. Those tunes still take me back.

    I share the concern of folks who live in Big Sur that excess tourism, in particular those who do not respect our connection with the Earth, is having a negative impact on the area. I have seen the change over the years. The autumn in Big Sur used to be a peaceful time, and one of the prettiest. Now it’s one of the busiest and least desirable.

    Not everyone has the luck or resources to live in a place like Big Sur. Some of us will have to content ourselves with visits. The history of California is one where at times the locals of a place look to restrict access to those who can only visit. Here in LA access to beaches are blocked by property owners with fake no parking signs and private security. The Coastal Commission does what it can, but big money and inside knowledge is a hard thing to challenge. Sometimes the tactics are disguised as concerns over safety or impact to the environment, conveniently ignoring the fact that they themselves also present an impact.

    One of the most precious resources of California is the coast; a special place indeed, and not just because of the surf. The coast is an oasis in the hubbub; a vista that lets the body take a deep breath and renews the soul. It is therapeutic in ways that people may not even be fully aware of.

    I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that creating toll booths and a reservation system will only lend an amusement park aura to the coast. I do believe population density is a, if not the, root cause of this crowded overuse malaise, and many other problems that we have today. Growth cannot be sustained ad infinitum.

    In closing I wish all the residents of Big Sur well, and I hope that you do pause to consider that there are many visitors who do cherish and respect this place as much as you do.


  3. Fire somewhere in BS. Smoke on back side of Little Sur curve Highway 1

    Sent from my iPhone


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