Greece has always been my dream destination. I have had so many fantasies of one day traveling to the beautiful Greek islands relaxing on gorgeous beaches, photographing scenes of blue, white and bougainvillea and swimming in warm turquoise waters. So you can imagine the wavering height of expectation and anticipation that I had built up before the moment when my mom, dad, brother and I finally boarded our Aegean Air flight to Athens. After 4 days on the island of Santorini I am over the moon to say that Greece has not disappointed. It would have been easy for it to have not met my unrealistically high standard but instead my love for this country has grown from infatuation at first sight to a deep love.
After a quick lay over in Athens we took the shortest flight ever of 35 minutes to the magical island of Santorini. Swooping over the sea we landed and were immediately shifted into the world of Greece. Chaotic streets of motorbikes, cars, huge buses navigating the tiny and overcrowded streets of Santorini. It was as if the place had been jolted with the electricity of life, the streets pulsating with energy. We checked into our room at Villa Soula and then made our way up to the hustling, bustling town of Fira. This is where my picture perfect image of Greece that I’d formed in my head began to come to fruition. White buildings with blue shutters, uneven stone streets, tavernas and startling pink bougainvillea and as we walked to the top the sky ablaze over the Mediterranean as the sun set over the winding white cliffs. We enjoyed delicious lamb kleftiko at the local taverna, ‘Mama’s House’.
Starting the day with our now standard thick and creamy Greek yoghurt, pistachio nuts and local honey we were all set for our first full day in Santorini.
We caught the local bus to the black beach of Kamari. Santorini formed as a result of a volcanic eruption and so the black beach is a result of the magma being transformed into many pebbles. We relished in the heat of the sun on our skin and the saltiness of the sea in our hair. Diving in and out of the warm waters we explored the rocky ‘islands’.
We then had the most delicious lunch of pork gyros and greek salad at a beach front restaurant.
Hopping on the boat to the next bay we were taken on a 20 minute journey across magnificent blue waters hugging the cliffy coast. Arriving at Perissa beach it was soon concluded that this was the best swimming spot and we frolicked in the crystal clear waters happily.
Licking a delicious ice cream we explored the town of Fira dipped in sun-kissed glory. We spotted the famous donkeys and wound down the cobbled paths to photograph them. For supper more traditional Greek food was enjoyed including Moussaka and lamb souvlaki.
The next day we walked down the slippery and treacherous sloped path to the Old Port. Dripping in sweat and trying to avoid the donkey poo we tried to take in the dazzling blue of the sea. All the while being serenaded by the gentle jingling of donkey bells. We arrived at the port and sat on the dock watching the dancing white foam and shifting underwater scenes. And then it was time for the ultimate highlight: a donkey ride up the winding path to Fira. For 5 glorious euros we were carried up the steep path. We enjoyed the view of the vast blue expanse as our bodies rocked back and forth to the rhythm of the clippity-clop. A wave of sleigh bell joy announced our arrival upon the never-ending steps. It was amazing and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face!
That evening we went to the hilltop village of Oia. It was here that my ultimate expectations of the classic blue domed churches were finally fulfilled. I couldn’t stop pinching myself as I tried to acknowledge that this was reality. It was devastatingly beautiful and everything I could’ve dreamed of and more.
We bought olives, dolmades and drinks from a nearby supermarket to enjoy while admiring the view for a little while. It was so gorgeous.
The next day we went to the Red beach, Perissa beach and Kamari beach for a thorough sun sizzling session. We had a bit of relief at a pool bar in Kamari with happy hour cocktails. Sipping on my pina colada and dipping my toes in the unnaturally blue pool I felt like something out of an American TV series. Fabulous! (With strong tendencies to Sharpay from High School Musical 2). We ended off the day watching the magnificent sunset at Oia competing with every other person on the island to get the perfect photo.
It was an absolutely amazing 4 days on this stunning Greek island and I can definitely say that Santorini has stolen my heart. Next stop: Naxos!