Friday, October 1, 2010

Stunning Santorini

Two down, three to go. Maybe I'll finish these before the end of October. ;)

Side note: It's only been a month since we left for Greece, and it feels like a lifetime ago. It's amazing how quickly work can suck it right out of you. Ha.

What Milos lacked in tourism, Santorini totally made up for. We certainly would not have wanted to miss Santorini, but we're very glad we put Milos in there as well, since it was such a different vibe. Santorini was beautiful, but much busier and much more commercial. We were only in Santorini for one whole day and two half (well, slightly more than half) days, but there's a lot to see so we definitely didn't cover it all.

When we arrived at the port, a taxi picked us and another couple up to head to Oia. It was a bit crammed, but we survived. It's amazing to come into port at the "bottom" of the island, and then make your way up via all the switchbacks. It was quite the view and first impression. We drove through Fira, which was packed, and made our way to Oia. We were very glad we decided to stay there, because it wasn't as crowded (except at sunset). Can you tell we tried to avoid crowds when possible? :)

We stayed at Hotel Alexander in the Pearl Cave Room, and it was great. The room is literally a cave dug out of the side of the mountain. We were thankful that our hotel was near the road, as opposed to further down, because we'd see people coming up huffing and puffing from all the stairs. The view was fantastic, and they had a wonderful breakfast delivered to you at your leisure in the morning and hot tubs that we took advantage of one night, along with our complimentary bottle of champagne. We felt like honeymooners again.

When we arrived, we were pretty tired, so after lunch and checking in, we went to the pool for a swim and a nap and then just walked around Oia that evening. The sunset that night was pretty, but there were some clouds on the horizon, so it wasn't the spectacular Oia sunset everyone raves about. We hit up the hot tub and then went to bed.

The next day, Matt decided that we should rent a cabrio (convertible) to cruise the island. He really wanted a Peugeot, but no such luck, so we ended up with a VW Bug. I was thrilled because it was a manual, and I miss driving stick sometimes. It was funny to see him driving it. We grabbed a map and were off to explore. Our first stop was the Art Space Winery and Gallery in Exo Gonia, where we found a lovely painting by a Greek artist that we decided we must have (it's now hanging over our fireplace in our bedroom for the time being). We also enjoyed sampling their vin santo, nychteri and Saint August wines... oh, and can't forget the raki. Strong stuff! This is a very old winery, so it was really cool to see the "old school" ways of wine making. On recommendation, we headed up the mountain to have lunch at Metaxi mas, and it did not disappoint (but food is coming in another post). We then drove to Kamari Beach (black sand), Red Beach (red rocks) and the lighthouse. It was getting late, so we headed back to Oia, grabbed some beer, and went to see the sunset again. We got a much better show this night. I've seen quite a few sunsets in my years, but I have never seen one with the colors the Oia sunset put off. The sun was almost red. If it were a Crayola crayon, I'd call it orange red. That night, we had dinner reservations at a nice restaurant called Ambrosia. It was good... not spectacular, but we enjoyed ourselves. On the way home, we found some doggies that I wanted to take home with me. Then they kept following us and I felt bad, so we tried to lose them and thankfully were successful (some other dog lovers, aka: suckers, came along and grabbed their attention).

The next day was just packing up, enjoying our last Santorini breakfast (my favorite) and then driving around a bit before catching our flight to Istanbul! Ef charisto, Santorini! It was wonderful.

Small church in Oia

Oia, looking down over the caldera

the other way

zoomed out

our cave room!

View from our hotel just before sunset

View toward Fira

Oia sunset

Gosh, I love him.

another small church building in Oia

Art Space Winery & Gallery

1861 - old building

up the mountain from Art Space

View from Metaxi mas

In front of the restaurant after an awesome lunch and more raki!


Kamari Beach

the black sand... I was expecting really black... I'd call this more of a charcoal, but that's just semantics. :)

From the cliffs above Red Beach

Red Beach

Fira from the lighthouse

Oia from the lighthouse

Matt's favorite picture

Amazing sunset... unfortunately, we just could never get the settings on the camera just right for this, so the colors aren't exact, but you get the idea.

See, orange red... unreal.

Pretty colors after sunset.

Oia at night

The doggie I wanted to take home... she was so sweet.

You know, we take our Gator spirit everywhere we go!


Alyse said...

Oh wow! It's all so beautiful! And the two of you as well, of course!! Sure looks like a good time! Love you!

Jenni said...

WOW!! Amaaazinng.

You and your hubby are so cute! Look forward to following you. :)

Jessi said...

Gorgeous! So glad you had a great time!!!

Kristin said...

The cave room is too cool!

Tiffany said...

Absolutely stunning!! This is my dream vacation. Dying to go!

amy (metz) walker said...

I can't believe these pictures!!!! I'm absolutely in love...Greece is one place I've always wanted to go! And I love that picture of the two of you.

P.S. Your comment made DW very happy to have someone on his side! ;-)

Scarlett Lillian said...

Looks amazing!