Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Santorini, Greece

Actual date of this event: 11-14 June

Like I mentioned in my post about our sailing adventure, we arrived to Santorini in a real terrible mood - some of us more than others. After we got situated in the hotel, we had to come up with another plan for the rest of our day. But most of all, we couldn't let the situation ruin our time in Santorini.
Since we had the ATV's, we decided to make use of them and head to our first beach. Katharos is near Oia, so after parking, we walked the many steps down to reach the rocky beach. The length of the beach is quite large, and it had quite a few people on it. The sun was right in front of us and would have made for a great place to watch the sunset during our visit. Instead, we got to watch a cruise ship depart. The rocks were pretty big and extremely painful to walk on without shoes. Getting into the water was really tough, and we giggled as people fell over in the water trying to stand. Then we laughed and giggled at each other doing the same thing. I guess we were cheering up a bit!

We hiked back up the cliff, and drove down to Amoundi Bay where a row of seafood restaurants face the bay. We took the ATV's down the road, but there is also a line of steps to take by foot from Oia village, or if one wants, donkey rides are available. It is a really nice area to have dinner/drinks. It wasn't busy while we were there, so we sat for a drink at Katina (which is supposed to be one of the best dinner spots). We walked over toward a walking path that wrapped around the inner ring, but a recent rock slide blocked the path. So scary to think those rocks could fall at any moment!

We drove back up the cliff, and parked the ATV's in a random spot so we could walk around in Oia. ATV's are awesome because you can park them anywhere you please (for the most part)! Oia was very very busy, but we had expected that as it was close to sunset - everyone flocks to Oia for those few precious moments. Oia is quaint with little pedestrianized paths that wind everywhere making it absolutely impossible to know where you are unless you have an expert sense of direction (Luke?). We felt extremely under-dressed while in Oia as everyone else was in dresses, slacks, button-downs, anything BUT beach wear. This was totally different that what we experienced in both Corfu and Milos. We continued on though in our swim gear.

With dinner and sunset just minutes away, we needed to find our spot for the big moment. We figured every restaurant would be booked, but we lucked out with a spot on a balcony with a fairly decent view of the sunset. I never even knew the name of the restaurant, and the food and service was just meh, but the sunset took all our troubles away. Read about it here.

After dinner, we stopped at the market to purchase a few night caps, then drove back to our place in Finikia (a small area of Oia) and enjoyed an evening by the hotel pool. This was when I received the phone call regarding the catamaran cruise which cheered us up quite a bit!
On Thursday, we spent a large portion of the day sailing the waters around Santorini. Read about it here.
{Eric Goins' photo}
After the catamaran cruise, we made the long trek to the southeastern side of the island. The best beach in Santorini is Perissa which was quite the drive from Oia. These Greek islands are not easy to navigate! But of course, we pulled over quite often to take some pictures of the scenery, and check our location on the map. I may or may not have been taking pictures while Luke was driving - ssshhhh.

Perissa Beach was the best beach we visited in Greece due to its "sand". The beach is covered in itty-bitty black pebbles that are pretty close to sand. It was a nice change from the rocks that we had been laying on all week. There is also the option to rent a sunbed to lay on, but we didn't feel the need to spend the money. There were very few people at the beach which surprised me, but it was about 5pm, so I guess everyone was getting all dolled up for the sunset. The road along Perissa beach is lined with restaurants and bars, so Luke and Eric got us a few drinks to enjoy while we relaxed. The most interesting thing about the beach was the solid rock-bottomed water. Unlike the other beaches where there are lots of rocks of all sizes on the bottom, this one one massive rock similar to the bottom of the pool.

{Eric Goins' photo}
After a little nap on the beach, we headed to Fira to check out the main town since we hadn't been there yet. And of course, we made a few stops for pictures along the way.

The cruise ships were getting ready to depart, so all of the cruisers were making their way back to their ships, following all of the signs in Fira that say "cable car". At one point, Eric and Luke wandered off to take pictures leaving Becca and I to potentially get lost in the little Fira paths. We used common sense though and stayed put. We figured they would find us where they left us, and they did :-)

We eventually stopped for a drink, then it was dinner time. We had been saving up all trip to try out the cheap gyros place that was supposed to be the biggity-bomb. Lucky's is right in the heart of Fira, and is basically the fast food of the island. It was definitely cheaper than the rest of Santorini, but still not the cheapest gyros we had all trip, and it was good, but still not the best of all trip (my opinion of course, I preferred Leonidas in Corfu). I still recommend trying it though to anyone visiting Santorini! Doesn't it look good????? :-)
We just barely missed the sunset as we drove back to Oia for the night. It was soooo neat riding back though! The sun had just gone down, thy sky was an amazing mixture of colors, we had the wind in our hair (well not Luke), and it was like a dream. I'd say it was worth it to miss the sunset!
Once we reached Oia, we parked the ATV's at the hotel and walked to Oia village in search of gelato. The town was really beautiful at night, but of course pretty dead. We had to make our own fun, so we went back to the hotel to do another evening of sitting by the pool with some drinks.

Friday was our last day of the trip, and we spent the majority of the day at our wine tour. Read about it here.
We got back from the wine tour with a good buzz, but we were starving as we had barely any food. Our hotel had a restaurant, so we decided to sit on the terrace with some snacks and drinks and enjoy our last afternoon together. Eventually more people showed up, and we ordered dinner which we really enjoyed. Then it was time for Becca and Eric to say good-bye. They had their long flight home from Athens at 06:30 the next morning, so they decided to take the late flight from Santorini back to Athens that night (which meant they slept in the airport). Luke and I enjoyed the sunset one last time while having a few more drinks before we called it a night.

On Saturday morning, Luke and I caught our pre-booked taxi at around 10am back to the airport to fly home. Note: The Santorini airport is one of the most uncomfortable I have experienced (along with Pisa, Italy). We had a terrific time in Santorini, and easily could have spent a couple more days there.

Coming soon will be a wrap-up post where you will hear from the other three travelers!

Other posts from Greece: IntroCorfuThe Acropolis in AthensPanathenaic Stadium in AthensGeneral AthensIsland of Milos (Day 1)Sarakino in MilosIsland of Milos (Day 2)Santorini SailingSantorini Wine TourTHE Santorini SunsetGeneral SantoriniWrap-Up

Santorini is also called Thira which is not the same as the town on the island named Fira.

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