Do you speak English? (A Santorini photo shoot)

16 Feb

This post is part of our adventures in Greece in the fall of 2013.  To see other posts in the series, please click here.

I'm ready for my close up

I’m ready for my close up

We had spent a pleasant morning in Santorini walking along the old path.  I was dressed in a long white flowing gown that Li had purchased for me that complemented the scenery.  Li wore a blue shirt with a white collar.  We meandered along, looking for the best angles and light.

Along the old path

Along the old path

I felt like a movie star.

We were looking for a certain place that would memorialize our belated honeymoon – a certain view that already had been publicized hundreds of times before.

Looking for the light

Looking for the light

Finally, after asking for directions at multiple places, we found it – the blue roof church with the white bell tower that had appeared on the cover of National Geographic magazine many years ago.  The best views are actually taken from a parking lot above the church so you can look down with the Aegean sea behind you and puffy white clouds.

Together under the blue, blue sky - and dressed for the occasion

Together under the blue, blue sky – and dressed for the occasion

In the parking lot were over a dozen Chinese tourists snapping away – posing together and individually – some in casual clothes, others dressed up for the occasion in similar outfits as Li and myself.  We asked a couple of different people to take photos of us  together and hoped that we would have the “money shot” in the bunch that would represent out trip to Greece, our marriage and give us happy memories for the future.

It was a great experience and after we shot those photos we headed back down to the Old Path and started making our way to find a place to have lunch.  Before we got very far, we were stopped by some people eating at one of the many restaurants along the path.  Their table was closest to the path and they looked at me and very timidly asked “Do you speak English?”

Li and I looked at each other and nodded ascent.  They then asked, “Why are there so many Asian women in long white dresses like yours around here taking pictures?  You look beautiful – but we can’t quite understand why there are so many right here.  We’ve been eating lunch and must have seen two dozen women dressed that way over the last hour or so.”

We smiled and explained how the church above the restaurant had turned into something of a Mecca for Chinese tourists because of its fame in the National Geographic photo shoot.  The group who stopped us said they were Canadian but had never heard of that specific photo.  We then shared how the Aegean Sea could be phonetically translated as the Sea of Love in Chinese and how young Chinese couples wanted to get a shot by the church as a memory.  We suggested they climb up the path to take a look.

We talked a little more, sharing where we were from and why we were there and at the end parted company with a smile and good wishes and went on to look for the perfect spot for lunch.

Have you had a random question like this when you have been traveling?  The funny thing is – most of the Asian couples they had seen could probably have spoken English because if you are traveling in Europe without a tour, you need someone who can talk with the hotels.  It was only because I had a non-Asian face that I was asked this question.

The church and the two of us - a perfect pairing - the money shot

The church and the two of us – a perfect pairing – the money shot

18 Responses to “Do you speak English? (A Santorini photo shoot)”

  1. Every Day Adventures in Asia February 16, 2014 at 9:47 am #

    Gorgeous photos and yes – especially love your ‘money’ shot! Am sure your curious Canadians were delighted to have insight into the flowing white dress phenomenon. 🙂

    • gkm2011 March 9, 2014 at 10:00 am #

      I like to think we shared some cultural differences with them and they walked away thinking about something they hadn’t planned on. Who knows though – they were pretty deep into a couple of bottles of wine during the discussion – they may not remember it at all!

  2. pollyheath February 16, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

    Beautiful photo! Interesting, as I’ve never heard of this place as being a phenomenon in any culture, though I’ve certainly seen the photos.

    • gkm2011 March 9, 2014 at 9:59 am #

      It’s funny how you can get an “inside track” just from the language of the material that you’re reading. The tourist guides my husband reads in Mandarin can have completely different top destinations than the ones I read in English. We normally try to choose places that intersect the two. Santorini was one of those places.

  3. sarahinguangzhou February 16, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    You never had any of the Chinese style pre wedding photos taken in Shanghai then? These are much nicer.

    • gkm2011 March 9, 2014 at 9:58 am #

      We had a few taken – before the wedding but after the marriage – but I wore my own clothes as did my husband and we have a few shots from that we love as well – but nothing like this.

  4. Valerie February 16, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

    Great pics! Love the money shot!

    • gkm2011 March 9, 2014 at 9:57 am #

      Thanks! We now have a large version of it on the wall of our apartment. Each time I see it, it makes me smile. 🙂

  5. simpletravelourway February 18, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

    Love that dress and the white flowing fabric juxtaposed against the blue sea and sky: LOVE IT!

    • gkm2011 March 9, 2014 at 9:53 am #

      Thanks – credit all goes to my husband – it was his idea and he executed it perfectly. 🙂

  6. Chinadoll February 19, 2014 at 4:32 am #

    Santorini looks absolutely amazing! And you look stunning 🙂 Love the dress

    • gkm2011 March 9, 2014 at 9:53 am #

      I would highly recommend it – a jewel on the edge of the sea. 😉

  7. foreignsanctuary April 10, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

    What a beautiful and all the pictures are absolutely stunning! I did the pre-wedding photos in Taiwan before I got married and it was lots of fun!!

    • gkm2011 April 11, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

      We had friends who were trying to convince us to go to Taiwan for photos, but did pre-wedding in Shanghai – these were honeymoon shots and very much enjoyed!

  8. onechicklette April 20, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    You definitely got the money shot (although all of the pics are beautiful)

    • gkm2011 April 20, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

      Thank you! Even over six months later, Santorini stays clear in my memory.


  1. The eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth quarter review | 中国 Jumble - October 22, 2014

    […] posted on part of our trip to Greece and taking wedding photos in front of a certain church in “Do you speak English? (A Santorini photo shoot).”  Every time I walk into my apartment I am reminded of that wonderful trip because our “money […]

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