Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Europe 2012: Santorini

After our time in Athens, we made an early trek to the port of Piraeus to catch a ferry to Santorini.  When planning the trip we spent lots of time deciding between flying or ferrying and when we finally decided to ferry there we had to decide between the "slow" vs "fast" ferries.  We went with the less expensive ferry which was supposed to take 3 hours longer but less chance of crazy sea-sickness because of the slower speeds.  Anyhow, we boarded, found our seats and settled in for a day on the sea.  Unfortunately it was not the best experience of our trip - we had screaming children sitting just outside our section and when they finally left they were replaced with whiny older American kids.  Corey also got a bit queasy for the last few hours so he was pretty cranky.

When we finally landed we boarded our taxi to the hotel.  We checked in and luckily one of the hotel employees lugged our bags down the 6 or 7 flights of stairs to our room.  The hotel was built into a cliff overlooking the caldera.  Our room was all the way at the bottom, right next to the pool.  We were upgraded from a studio to a 1-bedroom so we had a small kitchen and sitting area, plus our own deck with unobstructed views of the volcano and caldera.
Our ferry - was more like a cruise ship than I expected
Entrance to the hotel from the street
Looking into our sitting area with the bed behind
Our patio
View from our patio

We then walked to get a late lunch.  The front desk woman from the hotel (who is coincidentally from CA) recommended an absolutely wonderful location for our first meal in Santorini.  Corey's favorite part of the meal? Trying a Santorini microbrew called Yellow Donkey - he proclaimed it the best beer of the trip.  My favorite part of the meal? A delicious spread they served with fresh baked bread.  Corey even made friends with a few stray dogs outside the restaurant.  After lunch we spent some time relaxing on the patio trying not to fly away or freeze thanks to the crazy winds blowing across the island.  I enjoyed just taking in the scenery and quiet.

Corey's brew

Delicious bread & spread (plus isn't that wine jug cute?!)
Trying to stay warm and not blow away in the wind
 We watched the famous Santorini sunset from our deck then ventured off for dinner.  We decided to walk from our hotel in Imerovigli to Fira which was just under 1.5 miles of winding, rocky and hill paths.  After wandering along the narrow confusing streets of Fira, we decided on a busy place to eat.  Despite crummy service our food was delicious.  Unfortunately we made the mistake of walking back to our place.  It was dark, windy and freezing cold.  Plus we were walking uphill most of the way.  Luckily we made it back in one piece and turned in for the night!

Sunset - pictures just don't do it justice

Looking back at Imerovigli from the footpath to Fira

After sleeping late, we got dressed for our only full day in Santorini and caught the public bus to the village of Oia.  The "public" buses on Santorini are actually charter buses, however it was packed to the gills so we stood the entire trip up windy cliffside roads to Oia.  We spent a few hours walking up and down the streets doing some window shopping and even stopped in a Greek Orthodox church.  The church's plain white & blue exterior is nothing like its ornate and beautiful interior.  We were even brave enough to ask someone to take our picture!

Greek Orthodox church


That evening I had our hotel make reservations at a romantic restaurant in Fira with great views of the caldera and sunset.  Unfortunately because the wind was so strong and cold, we couldn't sit on the rooftop deck, but did get some good views on the 2nd level of the restaurant. It was still cold despite a tarp blocking the wind, so the waiter brought me a blanket!  The food was good but the views would've made it better.  We learned our lesson from the night before, so we waited around for the bus and it took it back to Imerovigli and walked/ran the short distance in the bitter cold to our hotel.

The next morning the sun was shining, the wind was replaced with a calm breeze and it was gorgeous out.  Of course, we had to leave the hotel before noon to catch our flight.  But I took full advantage of a few hours to lay out by the pool and catch some much desired sun.

Although the weather was not cooperative and somewhat limited our "beach" portion of the trip, we still really enjoyed Santorini. It's an island unlike any other: rocky, windswept and quite barren in areas but the white buildings set amongst cliff-side views and crystal clear waters make it a beautiful locale.  The food was wonderful and the people were friendly.  How could you not love a place with views like this?

Up next? Roma, Italia!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Thank you very much! Now we've got some serious talking to do.