This past weekend, I went on an adventure to the beautiful Greek island of Santorini with my apartment-mates. The most common, and cheapest way, to get to Santorini is from Piraeous, a port about twenty minutes outside of Athens, in which you take a ferry for 8 hours. 8 hours might seem like a long time, but luckily it went by pretty past to me. In order to maximize our time on Santorini we took the 7:25 am ferry, meaning we woke up around 5:30, walked to the metro, and then took the metro all the way to the port.
Unfortunately, the weather was not in our favor. The Greek islands had rain for the first time in five months, and it was with us for the entire ferry trip. I was lucky enough to be able to sleep through about 1/4 of the ride. When we finally arrived on the island it was down pouring, and our hostel (which told us
it would be picking us up) wasn't there to do so. After scrambling around the port for a bit to find someone to get the hostel's number, we were finally able to reach them and within 15 minutes we had a ride to the place we were goin
g to stay.
We stayed at a hostel called Carlos Pension, which should basically
be considered a basic hotel. From what I was told, this was a super nice hostel and for a very good price, no complaining there. This might have been because we were in the least touristy part of the island, however we were closer to t
he beaches which I thought was great.
Friday afternoon we showered and got ready to explore the island. The rain eventually stopped and created a rainbow which was wonderful. For our first night we decided to go to the capital of the island, Fira. We ate at a restaurant along the cliff side that gave us a great view of the water below. We even made friends with the waiters who thought were were very entertaining, especially si
nce we tried to speak Greek to them.
After about a three hour meal, we decided to explore the nightlife. The bad thing about the nightlife on a touristy island is that when you go to clubs/bars you meet more Americans. We stopped by one bar that played 80s/early 90s American music, however we finally settled upon a bar/club called Murphy's where we made good friend with two adults from Chicago who were island hoping. Of course you meet people from Chicago on a Greek island. However, waking up at five finally caught up with us around 2:30 and we decided to cab it back to our hostel.
Saturday, we woke up to a nice but still a bit cloudy of a day. First we took advantage of the complimentary breakfast at the hostel (which consists of bread and jam, however the bread was pretty good). And then we made friends with the other young people who were staying at the host
el, who were all a part of a European Union organization called Alliance, as I understand it, it is for building ideal moral and democrati
c values across the countries of the EU (there were people from just about every country in Europe you could imagine).
To our luck we became friends with two guys from Turkey, who gave us a list of all the things we must do while we are Istanbul. After talking for a bit, the girls and I decided to adventure around the town we were staying in, Akrotiri. As we were walking up a hill, an older man who spoke no English gestured for us to follow him. We have been told by our program that we should always accept because it is a sign of Greek hospitality. We followed the older man in what appeared to be a wine cellar. Once inside, he showed us pictures of his entire family, and gave us samples of the wine he makes in the cellar. It was incredibly sweet, you don't get that the United States. This man basically invited us off the stree
ts to show us hospitality and how us p
ictures of his family, apparently this is very typical behavior of Greek in the suburbs and in smaller towns.
After some Greek hospitality
, we decided to walk down t
he street to the Red Beach (which really is red). The stones/sand are red from the volcanic rock around the island (Santorini was created by a volcano, which is still active today, however has been "asleep" for quite some time). The beach was very rocky, which is typical of most Greek beaches, but it was incredible how red the col
or of the rocks were. After
a bit of tanning and relaxation, we decided to have a late lunch at a restaurant owned by the same family who owns the hostel we were staying at. It was incredible food, it wasn't a touristy spot, so we actually got real Greek food.
After having our fill we went to the hostel to shower to get ready for the famous sunset in Oia (the most beautiful part of the island, and what you have probably seen when looking at pictures of Santorini, think white white buildings with blue tops and windows and I'm sure you know what I'm talking about). We, along with about 3,000 (at least) other people huddled around the tip of the island to watch the sunset. It was beautiful until a cloud covered up the last 1/4 on the sunset sadly, but nonetheless was a great experience.
After our semi-sunset we decided to walk around Oia which consists of super expensive jewelry and art galleries for the upscale tourist (and they were busy), after walking into just about every store, we decided to bus back to Thira for dinner. I was sad to leave Oia, I can't began to tell you how magical it is there. We decided to have dinner at a different restaurant, but which also overlooked the cliff side down to the water. After dinner we were exhausted and decided to cab back to the hostel in order to have energy to go to the beach in the early am.
For our last hours in Santorini we decided to go to the biggest beach on the island called Perissa. Unlike most beaches in Greece, this one is sandy, which I was very happy about it. We stayed at the beach for about three hours, before catching our ferry back to Athens. However, before we left the beach we all had our first gyros. Because I live in the city, and the most upscale part of the city, I never pass a gyro stand much to my surprise, so I was excited to finally have a gyro in Greece.
I was very sad to leave Santorini. If you ever travel to Greece, it is worth the 8 hour boat ride so see a little bit of island paradise. (if you want to see more Santorini photos, they are on my facebook).
A few random notes: I hope that everyone is doing well. My payment for a lovely weekend is now I have a not so lovely cold. I have never missed Nyquil more (seriously, it is the greatest thing). Still looking for the Greek alternative. Also, if anyone has watched the TrueBlood finale I would looooovee to talk about it/hear how you feel haha.
lots of love,