Saturday, June 08, 2019


We were really looking forward to spending a relaxing few days on the island of Santorini, and celebrating our 15 year anniversary! On Tuesday we caught our early 6:30am flight to Athens from Rhodes and ate some breakfast during our layover. We arrived to Santorini airport at 10 and even though we had to wait a while for our bags, we got outside right as a bus to Fira was getting ready to leave. We arrived at the bus station and in general I knew which way to walk to our hotel, but knew it was downhill too. After a slow decent down the steps, we arrived at Hotel Keti. I did something I don't normally do; I splurged on a nice hotel with an amazing view and didn't tell Kacey about it. It was a great room to relax for a few days with probably some of the best views in town; we could see both the caldera and town, but it was very private as well. The first day we just walked around and enjoyed ourselves. We ate an ok lunch at Select Cafe. Food, in general, is expensive due to Fira being a cruise ship town, but the view and food were ok. We found the supermarket south of town and bought snacks and drinks for the room; bread, olive oil, cookies, crackers, juice, wine, and beer. We also bought a little delicious Easter cupcake pastry from a small wine shop. We had a forgettable dinner at Fanari at the top of the port steps. While we didn't get a sunset due to the weather, it was still nice to watch the town go dark at night while sitting on our terrace. We also walked around a bit at night for views of the town. We stopped at a crepe place; the owner was quite fun and interacting with customers, and we talked with a couple from NC.

Panoramic view of our room and town view

The next day we just relaxed and hung out. I took a load of laundry for service, only 10. I went for a walk along the coast up to Imerovigli near Skaros Rock. The path was closed at one spot due to it completely collapsing but there was no warning and it took about 20 minutes to get around it, but I found an awesome view of the Three Bells of Fira. Kacey did nothing and basically hung out in the hot tub all day, with a book, a little knitting, and some of the snacks from the grocery.  She enjoyed this because doing nothing is a very rare occurrence.  For our anniversary dinner, we went to Oia and walked around town shopping and looking for nice views. Then we walked down to Ammoudi. This is supposed to be one of the best sunset dinner views, but alas it was again extremely cloudy. We still enjoyed our trip and walk around Oia. We called a taxi to return home and ended up taking a van up the hill and then shared a ride with an American family who had booked the van. We enjoyed some ice cream and baklava at Solo Gelato. I had the traditional baklava with Mastic ice cream (a unique acquired taste from tree sap - however it looked similar to vanilla) and Kacey had a baklava milkshake.

Three Bells of Fira

Thursday was another slow day, but we wanted to see a bit more of the island. Kacey found a yoga class at a hostel inland.  She enjoyed the views of the coast and ocean from up higher during the very non-challenging class. We then took the bus out to Santorini Brewery. They had 4 or 5 beers on tap but nothing was that great. At least they didn't charge for the tastes. Around the corner was Canava Roussos winery. We planned to walk around a try a few wineries since many are out in this area. We enjoyed sampling here and talking to the employees. We walked up the road toward Volcano winery and stopped at Chatiri for lunch. It was a small mom and pop place and we were the only ones there. We got a few sides and it was nice. We walked up to Volcanic Slopes but they really only offered high end tastings for like 45 each. Not really our thing so we walked toward what was supposed to be a nice, famous church. Panagia Episkopi was pretty neat and the caretaker let us in as Kacey was snooping around. There is a small blue-top church along the way that we took some pictures of. We then walked down to Argyros winery (and accidentally walked around their entire property). Kacey did their sample menu and I just relaxed. The tour here was nice too. We caught the bus back to Fira and ate at Naussa. It was once again cloudy for sunset and even tried to rain. We peeked in the large Orthodox church right before it closed.

Small church next to Panagia Episkopi

Friday we decided to drive south on the island. We had heard Greek police can fine Americans for driving but were assured by many people that on Santorini, this doesn't happen. So we got a Fiat Panda and first stopped in Megalochori as this was supposed to be a neat little village. Well, we didn't really find anything of note and moved on. Next we headed to Akrotiki Lighthouse. We stopped at a beautiful church along the way. The lighthouse had what seemed to be a bunch of Americans walking around the rocks, but it was still really nice. We could not go in as it was chained up. Next we went to Red Beach. People were parking quite far away but we kept driving and parked basically at the start of the hike. Many people carry stuff to go sit on the beach but we just enjoyed taking it in and listening to someone play the accordion for a while on top of the hill with views of the beach. On our way to Vlichada beach we stopped at bakery and loaded up on lunch food and delicious snacks. We were going to just relax at this beach and eat, but it was kind of run down and empty, and not really anything around except a small fishing port. So after we ate we decided to go relax at Perissa Beach. This was a great idea and the area is really built for just relaxing on the beach. Lots of food places and a long beach to pick our favorite area. I was interested in getting a jetski especially as no one was really using them; that was because they were terribly expensive. After a couple hours and relaxing and fruity drinks, we next drove up to the tallest peak, Profitis Ilias, which has a monestary on top. You can pretty much see everything and it was a nice view. After taking it in for a bit, we decided to get back to our hotel room to watch the sunset from there. On our way down, the road was closed through town for the Easter celebration parade. So, we rerouted south and around the town. Luckily, I was able to leave the rental car at the small lot super close to the hotel. We watched an amazing sunset from our private spa. It was so relaxing. Afterward, we went up and people were starting to congregate around the church, including a small marching band. This was the part of Easter week where people march around with relics from the church and a band plays some music. As it was getting late, I grabbed a street gyro and then we stopped in Dionysos for some meze appetizers and a large bottle of Donkey White from Santorini Brewing (this beer is only available in large bottles).

The view of Red Beach

Saturday, our last full day, we decided to do the hike to Oia. After a slow, relaxing morning, we started off around 11:30. We walked by Volkan on the Rocks to ask about Volkan beer. This is the better beer I had tried on the island and I learned that they were still building their large bottling and tour center. As I had already done this part of the walk, I knew how to get around the closed part of the path quickly and got Kacey up to the Three Bells of Fira. It is a really pretty sight and as there were no cruise ships as it was Saturday, the views were not obstructed by big ships. We stopped in Imerovigli for some lunch; I got a sandwich from a deli/convenience store and Kacey got a risotto from a restaurant named Vigla, that was so new they had only a verbal menu read by the server.  The server and Kacey jokingly agreed they would swap and live in each other's countries.  We left for our hike around 1:30 and made it to Oia by 3:30. The first hill climb had a small church on the cliff just down the cliff off the path. We didn't go down as it looked really small. Halfway up the hill path was a small church that we walked around the outside. At the top of this first hill climb was a beautiful blue topped church. The hike down was pretty rough with desert-like conditions and a loose gravel path. At the bottom we had to walk the road for a quarter mile or so. Before getting back on the path there was a small snack shop selling cold water bottles for only 2 euros, so we got one. At the start of the next hill climb we were offered a donkey ride but declined. There were some abandoned cave homes partially built. This was a pretty big hill climb but not too treacherous and at the top we were rewarded with a cozy little church and great views of Oia and the caldera. Once we got in to town we found the first place with toilets and a cold smoothie and stopped there. We walked to the bus stop and while waiting for the bus looked for another cold smoothie but could not find a good one. Once back I stopped at a bar and got 2 for 1 mai tais and Kacey bought rose and lavender liquour (to take home) and a little cake. We could not find any good take away dinner so we just got a little ice cream and went to watch another amazing sunset. After that we went to Nikolas for an amazing dinner; potatoes, cheese dip, octopus, pork souvlaki, Ouzo, and vino. We talked briefly with one of the owners (we think) and she was very nice and friendly and spoke some Italian too. Afterward we stopped for more yummy ice cream at Zotos; very interesting and delicious flavors, I wished we had found it sooner! We were up until midnight when the Easter fireworks started. All the bells were chiming songs and each village was setting off fireworks. It was quite a show!

Our sunset view

Sunday was our day to leave. We checked out and walked down the path to the port. We bought some tiles and a picture. We took the cable car back up and stopped in a few more shops as we hadn't bought much stuff at all. I got one last gyro and Kacey got a falafel. We also bought some wine, raki, and ouzo. We caught the 2pm bus to the airport and sat in this very small airport for an hour or so before flying back to Athens to catch our flight home.

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