Greece. Wow. How do I even put this past weekend into words? I know have a million pictures to share with you and will annoy you with them. The food was absolutely to die for, the scenery was gorgeous, the weather was pretty good, and the Greek people were so friendly and helpful. As I mentioned before, it was a dream of mine to go to this beautiful country and I finally got to live it out. Totally worth it.
The downside was that good flight times were difficult to find from Germany for some reason but I managed to book okay ones. We left Munich at 11:00am and arrived in Athens no problem. We had a lovely 4 hour layover before our flight to Santorini so we had wine. Obviously.
Our Santorini flight was delayed an hour. The another hour. Due to high winds. Then it was completely cancelled. Panic set in as everyone stormed the desk (we flew Aegean Airlines, by the way). Neither my husband nor I had ever had a cancelled flight and wasn’t sure what to do. The woman said to go to the ticket desk which was “upstairs” and we figured out our luggage would be on the baggage claim. We decided to SPRINT to the ticket counter by the check-in area. Let me just say I am so happy we did that. Before we knew it, the line behind was us absurd.
Tim grabbed our luggage while I waited in line to re-book. We were very fortunate in that the airline put us up in a hotel across the street, paid for dinner and breakfast, and re-booked us for 7am the next morning. We hadn’t planned on anything once we arrived that night (as it would have been about 8pm anyways) so it worked out the best way possible.
Dinner was a mishmash of things as was breakfast. We were up at 5:00am the next morning to catch our flight which went off without a hitch. We had a full day a head of us!
After checking into our hotel in Fira, Galatia Villas,
we were off. We booked a boat tour of the volcano on Nea Kameni (a small island in the caldera of the Aegean Sea coast). The volcano is active but dormant. The boat also would go to the hot springs on the island of Palea Kameni.
We walked A LOT of steps down to the Old Port of Fira. Avoiding donkeys and donkey poop. Not even joking.
We met a girl from Montana along the way who was in Greece on business so we kept her company down the steps as she was traveling alone.
We boarded the boat and got some amazing views looking back onto Fira as we sailed to the volcano.
The plan was to climb to the top of the volcano with a stop along the way as a very large group. We got to explore the vast top of the volcano. This turned out to be a VERY legit hike that was straight up (and down). The pathways were filled with volcanic rocks making the footing unstable. Thank GOD I had sneakers on. But a lot of girls were wearing flats and sandals. The price of beauty I suppose.
It was hard to tell exactly where the crater of the volcano was but it did offer some pretty amazing views and cool terrain. I felt like we were on Mars or the moon.
The boat then went to the hot springs. We opted out of swimming as did most of the boat (it was not super warm). Plus you had to swim through the cold water to get to the hot springs. I’m all set.
When the boat docked back at the Old Port, we took the cable car up this time around (overpriced at 5 euros each when we walked down for free!).
We were STARVING by this point as we had nothing to eat between 5:30am and 2:00pm. That’s a really long time for us to go without food.
We sought out Lucky’s Souvlakis in the center of Fira based on recommendations. It was absolutely perfect, cheap, and heavenly. We both ordered gyros which were fries, gyro meat, tomatoes, and red onions wrapped up in a soft, grilled pita with a yogurt sauce. This is Greek fast food folks and amazing.
We made an impromptu decision to go to Santo Wines a vineyard and winery located in Pygros, just south of Fira on Santorini. There are a number of vineyards on Santorini and the wine is made from grapes that I had never heard of like Assyrtiko and Nykteri.
Now, we decided not to rent a car or ATV for the weekend. A lot of people will do this. There are public busses that go to the major points on the island but the busses can be unreliable. We used the bus when we needed to and took a taxi to Santo Wines for convenience. We got around no problem all weekend. More to come on that.
Normally we would do the whole vineyard tour but opted to just do the wine tasting. They have a store full of amazing Greek goodies. Not only their wine but local foods and gifts. I bought Greek olive oil, a bowl, and a honey and hazelnut paste. I think we spent a solid half hour in the store and I had to refrain from buying everything.
We then went to the restaurant part for the tasting. The room/restaurant seemed brand new and was gorgeous. We sat inside as it was chilly out but there was an outdoor patio too. It was about 5:00pm or so at this point.
Thus begins heaven.
You could get various tasting flights. We got the 12 wine flight that came with cheese, tomato spread, fava bean spread, toasts, and olives.
The white wines are amazing. I am usually a red wine person but there were some awesome and refreshing whites. A couple of the whites were aged in oak barrels for months and tasted almost like whiskey.
At this point, we were very close to sunset.
So we got a glass of wine each to wait out the sunset which was completely worth it.
I couldn’t stop taking pictures.
I mean, enjoying wine with my husband on Santorini watching the sunset? Hello, amazing.
Um so this wasn’t even dinner. After this, we headed back to Fira and stumbled upon a restaurant called Naoussa Restaurant.
We didn’t have reservations for a Friday night so we had to wait maybe about 20 minutes or so. Not a big deal to us at all but not normal in Europe. They gave us glasses of wine while we waited. Of course.
As an appetizer, we got a fondue-like cheese dip with bread.
For dinner, I got Moussaka which is a traditional Greek dish made up of minced meat, eggplant, tomato, and a bechamel sauce in a lasagna-like format. It was very filling but DELICIOUS.
Tim got grilled sardines. Not normally something we would find back home in the US but this was definitely the place to get this dish. They were grilled with olive oil and lemon juice and served with a side of roasted olive-oily and lemony potatoes. Even I, who does not eat a lot of seafood, tried and liked the sardines.
If you find yourself in Fira, Santorini, I would highly recommend this place! I think our total bill was about 54 euro which is very cheap for Santorini and we had lots of food, wine, bread, and water. It isn’t right in the center of Fira and away from more of the touristy restaurants.
At this point we were exhausted and hit the hay.
More Greece to come!