Greece has exceeded all my expectations. I loved it all – the people, the views, the food, everything. I can say hands down this has been my favorite place to vacation yet. On Thursday I left Cortona, trained to Rome and caught a flight to Athens. After a lovely night sleeping at the airport in Athens, I was reunited with Vanessa before catching our flight to Santorini with her friend Lindsey. It was a quick flight over to the island where we caught a cab up to Oia (pronounced ee-ya) which is located on the top tip of the island. To say it was picturesque there would be a mild understatement. It looked exactly like it did in the pictures – white buildings with rounded roofs and the iconic blue domes spotted throughout the cliffside. Vanessa and I had breakfast at a rooftop patio overlooking the Caldera. It was such a treat to not have a continental breakfast and instead have the most delicious greek yogurt ever. Crazy fact for those of you who like me who did not know what a caldera was, its an almost cauldron like depression from when a magma chamber collapses. Before they had the huge eruption in 1650, the island was one huge ring. Now it has two openings on the south and one on the north and the steep cliffs which we saw today. Seriously still baffled by how its actually one large island but just most of it is submerged. Literally mindblown. Anyways Van and I spent the afternoon taking different paths through the city while Lindsey had a nap. We found ourselves a shady spot to have a break because it was unbelievably hot there. We sat on a covered patio once again with a stunning view and had some Mythos, a Greek beer, and the best tzatziki of my life. That evening we went early to find a spot to watch the sunset which to be honest was the main reason we stayed in Oia for the night. I’m glad we came early because it was packed by the time the sun started to set. Even with the crowds, it was still so enjoyable. It was the most majestic sunset I have ever seen.
The next day we moved over to our hostel in Karterados, a small village near Fira, called Anna Pension Hostel. It was nice to get away from the crowds and our host there was precious.
That evening we went to Kamari as I had found out from my incessant googling that there was an outdoor cinema that, wait for it, was playing My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. Seriously what are the chances? We’re in Greece and that happens to be playing over the 3 days we are there – clearly that is fate and it meant we had to go. We wandered down the black sands of Kamari beach before grabbing a bite at To Pinakio. It was a great find by myself if I do say so myself. They brought us what we later realized was Raki to start off with. I’m actually still unsure if this is supposed to be sipped or taken as a shot but we did it as a shot. It tasted horrible so I’m glad we did it all in one go! We split cheese stuffed mushrooms to start and then I had a delicious meal of grilled meatballs in a yogurt sauce on pita (which surprisingly pita was not served with most dishes). Vanessa had a feta stuffed burger and Lindsey, chicken in an orange and honey sauce. Afterwards they brought us complimentary dessert, not quite sure what it was but it was delicious, and wine with honey. Seriously it was soooooo good!!! Later we headed to the cinema, early of course to get good seats, and treated ourselves with some popcorn! If you haven’t seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 yet, you should! So funny!
Monday was Lindsey’s last day so we just spent the day at the pool since that’s what she felt like doing. That evening after she left, Vanessa and I went to Katerina’s, a small Greek tavern in Karterados, for dinner. We shared a pork roll with carrots, and dates inside and a chicken with a yogurt and mint sauce. It was divine and of course if that wasn’t enough we decided we had to try Baklava and Greek iced coffee as recommended by Tash. It was hands down the best iced coffee I’ve ever had and Baklava I discovered, since I had ordered it with no clue what it was, is a layered pastry made with fila, chopped nuts, and honey. They were both so good we went back the next day and had it again for a snack! On our last day we ventured to Akrotiri to go to the Red Beach which is on the southern part of the island. We caught one of the early buses out so it was pretty much empty when we got there. We definitely underestimated how rocky of a walk up it would be to get there but no worries, we got there pretty much in one piece although van cut her toe slightly. It was a pretty cool beach because the sand was from the red volcanic rocks. It was a beautiful contrast, the red against the bright turquoise blue of the water. We had a relaxing morning, enjoying the calm water until the afternoon tours came in. Still there was almost no current so it was perfect place to swim!
We left the next morning super early and as I’m writing this I’m now in Budapest! Greece was amazing though and I cannot wait until the next time I can go back. Literally everything, aside from maybe it being too hot at times to function, was amazing! The food was incredible; I didn’t even know I liked Greek food before this or really what was Greek food other than souvlaki and tzatziki but now I know its one of my favorite types of food! I wish I had more time to explore, there’s still lots of Santorini not to mention other islands to see. Hopefully another time!