Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Santorini: Save the Best For Last!

I <3 Santorini.

I didn’t see any of these famed “I <3 NYC” style shirts on the island, but I’m thinking it would be a great business venture alongside my authentic Tex-Mex restaurant I’m going to open in Santorini! (ok maybe not, but I should!)

In case you didn’t know, Santorini (Thira) is the cited as the MOST BEAUTIFUL of all the Greek Islands and also as the MOST ROMANTIC. And I decide to explore it alongside the company of 3 college girlfriends, haha! Don’t regret it one bit!  We definitely turned heads and left our mark on this lovely remote island. Not sure they’ve experienced anything like us 4 young, fun, gregarious, full of life American girls. On multiple occasions we had the locals and other tourists telling us they had seen us before. Prime example: One evening after a long day at the beach we strolled back through the quiet sunset hotspot of Oia (where throngs of people gather for the most gorgeous sunsets) decked out in our bright colored dresses and armed with our neon colored blow-up air mattresses. Picture the four of us barreling through the narrow crowded streets in an attempt to get back to our room and drop off the weapons in time to watch the sunset…it was comical, but we made it! I can’t imagine why they’d remember us ;)

Santorini is truly spellbinding. It had been talked up to me for years by doting visitors, yet I truly wondered if it could live up to all the hype – there’s nothing worse than being disappointed by something you have such high hopes for. The verdict: it surpassed my most vivid dreams. The contrasting winter white and ocean blue architecture against the backdrop of earthy brown cliffs and liquid blue waters is a force to be reckoned with. I honestly, couldn’t keep myself from OCD photography tendencies. Everywhere I looked was a picturesque view, door, flower, sunset, meal, church, hotel - just waiting to be solidified in the history of my mind and camera for years to come. My computer actually got filled up with photos during the trip!

As I mentioned, we stayed in Oia, which I believe is the best place to stay on the island…especially if you’re a honeymooner. The views far surpass any other on the island and the streets of the town are so narrow that it’s pedestrian only, which adds a perfect isolated feel to the place. Restaurants with rooftop views allowing you to see all of the island and quaint shops abound. We were lucky - the economic crisis in Greece and the recent riots has significantly decreased tourism so we got a sweet deal on a 2 story villa right on the edge of a cliff in Oia for really cheap (also booked it the morning of) and pretty much got the town during high season with the feel of low season!

Seeing as tourism is pretty much the sole economic sustainer of the island and with the hard time they are going through, you’d think they’d be a little bit nicer and more service oriented. Nope! Poor and inconsistent service is my only complaint about the island. Some waiters and storekeepers were flat out rude (Haley even got cursed at)! Sometimes you’d get a ticket after every order (such is the law) and sometimes we were tracking down the waiter after a 3 hour meal. Not that we had a schedule or anything, haha.

Here’s a little breakdown of our days on the island:

Day 1: Check-in to our surprisingly amazing villa (cave house).
            Rooftop dinner to watch the sunrise.
            Lots of picture taking.
            Hanging out on the chairs of our balcony under the stars.

Day 2: Breakfast overlooking the sea.
            Bus to Fira to ride the donkey’s up and down the side of the cliff.
            Bus to Kamari, one of the many black stone beaches (brutal on your feet) – also the place we    bought the rafts and the 4 of us floated out to sea to work on our   tans.
            Pizza dinner in Oia.
            Wine on a cliff watching the sunset.
            Go out on the town in Fira, bar-hopping in an effort to find the best “American” music, lol.
Day 3: All day catamaran cruise around the island to the volcano (ask Ashley if it smokes), red beach, white beach and the thermal hot springs!
            Dinner at our favorite rooftop restaurant (we reserved the best table for sunset).

Day 4: The girls leave bright and early.
            I stay and layout by the pool and then trek down to the rock beach hundreds of steps below our hotel for one last dip and photo shoot.   

Staying in Santorini at the end of my trip was the epitome of “save the best for last”. I wouldn’t have had it any other way! I highly encourage everyone to visit and experience the enchantment that awaits!!!


Katie said...

Such a cute blog! Love it. My family has been talking about visiting Greece in the next few years so we're in the midst of planning what that will look like - and this just got me verry excited!

Michelle said...

OMG..go, go go! Its so AMAZING! I rarely say i'll go back to a place once i've been there, but def hope to repeat this trip someday!