On the 13th of September 2013, I arrived to one of the most beautiful, if not most photographed, islands in Greece. Every year, thousands upon thousands of tourists from all over the world make their way to this phenomenal destination to immerse themselves in the indescribable beauty of the famous Caldera and the unique whitewashed settlements that cascade haphazardly down its edge. If you haven’t already figured out the destination, well it’s the Island of Santorini, of course. Although the purpose of my visit was actually to write an article about the unique architecture of the island, my plans changed completely! I couldn’t miss the chance to get lost in the island's charming narrow little streets, climb up and down the Caldera and enjoy each and every minute of my stay while taking in the unobstructed views of the Aegean and the magnificence of arguably the best sunset in the world! And all of that on the very first day before I literally tumbled into the bed at the spectacular Elidami villa, one of the six Aenaon Villas between the settlements of Imerovigli and Oia.
See for yourself on the VIDEO that follows:
As I was reading through my emails the next morning, I suddenly heard a loud strange thud right above my head. Without a second thought I rushed out of the door to find out where the noise was coming from to see two guys somersaulting across the roof next to mine. I started running after them as they continued to jump and flip their way over and above the narrow alleyways, with me in hot pursuit. Running alongside them I didn’t stop to think for a second about where they were going or leading me to… And that’s when I saw it and realized. They were on the ultimate track for freerunning in the world. Little must the inhabitants of Santorini have known that hundreds of years after carving their humble dwellings into the Caldera rock face, they would become the best obstacle course for freerunners in the world…
After I got my breath back, I spoke with some of the ''flying athletes'' in order to discover more about freerunning and what they were doing in the island. I found out that they were training for the Red Bull Art of Motion, the ultimate worldwide freerunning competition the next day which Santorini was hosting for the third consequent year. Even though they prefer not to view themselves as athletes, their performances are nevertheless bursting with world-class athleticism. Firostefani offers the ideal track for freerunning as its low-lying cube shaped houses with their whitewashed rooftops, the one next or above the other, offer endless paths or courses for the participants to perform their amazing drops, flips and dives as they literally fly through the air.
Freerunning is all about getting from one place to another and finding the most creative and inspired path with which to do so. And if I've learned anything during my short trip to this phenomenal destination, it's that just like these inspiring freerunners who create their own paths, sometimes you need to take risks during your own life's journey; don't be afraid to follow the unexpected no matter how it might come your way. Only then will you discover your hidden wings.
And remember you need to jump as well as fall, in order to learn how to fly!
At the Red Bull Art of Motion competition on the Greek island of Santorini, 18 of the world’s best urban artists attempted to blend art and sports together against the stunning backdrop of Firostefani, perched on the rocky cliffs of the world famous Caldera. Rooftops, domes, terraces and swimming pools made up the 200-meter long course with a height differential of 50 meters that the athletes had to master within a 90 seconds time limit. Cory DeMeyers (US) became the winner of the Red Bull Art of Motion 2013 in Firostefani on the Greek island of Santorini. Alexander Baiturin (Russia) and Jesse la Flair (US) finished second and third, respectively. Watch the Video on Demand (Full Event) on Red Bull TV.