Greece

Magical Santorini

As a traveler, I am always grateful for each breathtaking and magical experience each unique destination has to offer.  But to be completely honest, that magic can instantaneously wither with an abundance of tourists, crowds and unfavorable weather.

I’ve always known Santorini to be a perfectly picturesque but heavily touristy spot that gets very hot during the summer season.  For this reason we decided to experience Santorini during their spring in May.

Like many travelers, it was the enchanting landscapes, beautiful sunsets, white washed walls, and blue domed churches that attracted me to Santorini, Greece.  However, we had to decide if we wanted to stay in Fira or Oia. I was aware of the pros and cons and after some contemplation we decided to start our adventures in Fira- the capital of Santorini.

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Our journey started with a 5 hour Sea Jet Ferry from Athens. We arrived Friday afternoon and the weather was perfect- 67 degrees and sunny. We only had a few days in Santorini and we wanted to make every second count.  Although we didn’t have definitive plans, the experiences we looked forward to were taking the 3.5 hour hike from Fira to Oia, enjoying the much anticipated stunning sunset, indulging in delicious food and wine and strolling through the breathtaking and narrow pathways of the beautiful island. Since spring season in Greece is unpredictable, we anticipated having to make a few adjustments.  We initially planned to take the hike on Saturday morning, but the weather wasn’t looking favorable – there were rain showers in the forecast.  At 9 am Saturday morning, we walked up to the front desk (Hotel Anatoli – amazing service!) to ask about recommendations.  We were presented with the idea of taking a bus tour through NST Travel – this would save us a lot of time to see more.  I hesitated because we are not fans of structured tours and taking part in group tours (we love to explore just the 2 of us).   I looked at the hubby to get his opinion– he would be the one getting us around if we opted to explore on our own after all.  Unlike me, he has a keen sense of direction and is my king navigator. Yes, we do get lost from time to time, but he is pretty amazing in getting us around.  He looked at the map and I could see a bit of uncertainty in his eyes. We looked at each other and we decided “what the heck, let’s do it!”  The wonderful woman, Lea from the front desk, was able to secure a few spots for us on the 10:30 am tour.  Absolutely no regrets, the tour was perfect – it flew by and we got a glimpse of much more than we anticipated.

Read about our Oia Tour adventures here:

Our Oia Tour


 

ATHENS

Beautiful Athens!  We decided we would do Athens for a few days before heading over to Santorini. I absolutely loved this historical city. Here are few of our amazing experiences.

When we travel, we always like to schedule in a fun run.  We feel it is a great way to explore the neighborhood while doing what we love – running!  As we set out for our run, we wanted to make sure we ran along the Panathenaic Stadium. We stopped to take a few pics and continued our run. We ended up coming across this beautiful, enchanting park. We came across a bird sanctuary, and even got to see some goats.  It was quite magical.  This is the best part of running in unfamiliar territories – the adventure.

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Here is a short video capturing our 4 miler….

After our run we continued to explore the city. We took a nice long walk to Acropolis – amazing. The entire experience was just breathtaking. We spent most of the day exploring the ruins.  My favorite part was seeing Porch of the Caryatids.  As I admired the perfect sculptures, I couldn’t help reminisce the time I was in 5th grade and I entered a team competition where a group of us drew this image from a photo. To my surprise, our team won and the drawing was displayed at the Field Museum in Chicago.  I never thought, I’d actually get to see it in person.  Sigh….

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After a long evening of walking and exploration, we headed over for a nice dinner where we enjoyed the sounds of beautiful Greek music.