Our first flash back Friday post is coincidentally on the 2nd month anniversary of our trip. Back in April for our honeymoon, we decided to travel to a place that neither of us have ever been. Although there are quite a few places neither of us have ever been (Peru! Turkey! Thailand!), there was just something about Greece that has always pulled at the heart strings.
Look how excited we were!
To give a little more background on both of us, we both have very different ideas of what traveling should be like. J likes to relax and lounge pretty much 90% of the time when we travel. So naturally he loves beaches, tropical weather, cocktails, and room service. I on the other hand, love adventures, being on the go, and seeing/learning as much as I can about the place and its people. Don’t get me wrong, room service and beaches are great too, but if given the choice, I would forgo the all inclusive resorts and little luxuries to stay in a yurt/cabin/tree house/or other non hotel accommodations and explore local eats and hike the mountains!
Alas, because we usually try to travel together, we try to compromise for both of our preferences. I am usually the trip planner as it’s truly something I love doing. So I try to find a good middle ground for us where J can have his relaxation times and a few little luxuries, and I can have my activities, all while finding the best deals and cheapest prices (nothing like finding a good bargain to get the adrenaline rushing!).
Our Greece trip lasted 10 days and we went to both Athens and Santorini. For today’s post, I’ll just be talking about Santorini. One of the most magical places in the world!
We stayed in Imerovigli town which is in the middle of the island, so a great town to be in for access to both the North and South areas. The photo above shows Imerovigli from our hike to Skaros rock. It’s a fairly quiet town with lots of boutique hotels and restaurants on the cliff, and all hotels pretty much have a panoramic view of the Aegean Sea. Truly breathtaking! It’s only a 35-40 minute walk along the cliffs (there’s a path) to Fira town, the island’s capital.
Our hotel was the Above Blue Suites. If you’re planning on coming to this island, I highly suggest booking 6-8 months in advance since these hotels are rather small and get filled up quickly. I also suggest skipping peak tourist season and coming in April – early May when the low season is about to end. The prices are still relatively cheap and the weather is sunny but cool enough if you want to be active during the day.
Our hotel pictured above was gorgeous. We had the room at the top with the gazebo-like roof and a private hot tub on our balcony! Why I suggest coming at the end of low season is this: the price for our suite was $175 USD a night compared to the average $300-$400 USD a night during peak season. HUGE savings! The hotel also offers complimentary a-la-carte breakfast with glasses of champagne and Greek coffee.
The breakfast selections were good and the food was delicious. Learning about the culture of Santorini, we came to appreciate the freshness of their ingredients. They’re known for their dessert wine (Vinsanto) and their cherry tomatoes (I guarantee you will not want to eat them anywhere else after you eat them here). Since we love food, we had no problems devouring an average of 3-4 meals a day with snacks! I do recommend researching restaurants before you pick one as prices can vary depending on how touristy the location is. The island is very small but the food options are vast.
The people of Santorini are also one of the reasons we loved being there. Although Greeks are normally not the same type of “friendly” you might see in the USA, they are very generous, polite, and warm. At every restaurant and hotel we went to, we had amazing service, conversations, and were shown generosity unlike anywhere I’ve been to back home. We were given complimentary aperitifs (usually a liquor like Raki or Ouzo – I counted 6 shots once in the bottle they gave us!) before dinner, complimentary desserts, and even drinks on the house at the bar we went to one night from the owner and barkeep. We learned quite a lot through our conversations with the locals about their way of life, their perspective of the world, and what’s important to them. It’s truly an amazing thing, to take a peek into a whole different way of life than your own.
Hopefully we get to revisit this island again in the near future. We found it hard to leave and go back to the bustling and busy life we had back home. On our next FBF post, I’ll talk about our adventures through Athens – a whole different world from this leisurely corner of the country even though it’s only 5-8 hours away (if you travelled by ferry).
Till next time