Wanderlust ~ Greece Part 2 ~ Santorini

Welcome to Santorini!  Specifically Oia on the Caldera side of the island. When we walked onto the terrace of our room at The Canavas Oia , and I turned around and looked though the doorway (below), I realized  this was a magical place like no other. The Canavas Oia Suites is all suites, but we were upgraded to this suite with a private hot tub on the terrace overlooking the ocean with a stunning view in each direction. 

The peak season for Santorini is May - November.  We were there in November, the end of the season, due to the Marathon (see Part 1 Athens if you missed it)  and it was not crowded at all, in fact there were very few of us tourists.  (Hence the amazing free hotel upgrade.) According to our first cab driver during peak season, due to the cruise ships, 600,000 people pass through this beautiful island. That's a lot of people, he said the streets are jammed, the narrow path that goes through the island where we leisurely strolled (and were able to take pictures without any people in them) would be a completely different experience had it been in season. Something to consider when planning. The residents of the island close up their shops, restaurants and hotels for 6 months of  'off season' as the weather turns colder. I asked one of the shop keepers what she would be doing for those six months and she said relaxing. Take a lesson over worked stressed out Americans (of which I am one.)  End of season was great for shopping as well, the shop keepers rather sell you something at a rock bottom price then have to pack it up! And there was no waiting at any of the restaurants.

From Athens we took the ferry with half of our family while the others flew because they were leaving a day earlier.  When people talk about seeing the Greek Islands I always had the impression that they are all clustered together, well they're not. Santorini was an 8 hour ferry ride from Athens. The flight from Athens to Santorini was only an hour. Also to consider the flight was $150 and the ferry ticket was $35. Plus the ferry was huge and very nice so we got to relax on the Aegean Sea. How often can you say that?!? " Oh sorry I didn't answer your e mail today I was relaxing on the Aegean Sea".  And we were tired, we had left for the ferry at the crack of dawn and as I said in my Athens post a sure way to get lost in Athens was to say follow that cab (with the rest of your family in it.)  Yup, off went, my sister-in-law, brother-in-law and their two munchkins in one cab headed in one direction and us in another cab headed in a completely different direction.  We were to meet at the train station.  Well, we were taken to a train station all right, just the wrong one.  We realized this from some pseudo English of the man selling us the train tickets we were about to not use. This train wasn't due for an hour which meant we'd miss the boat,  literally!  So we ended up taking another cab directly to the ferry.  When we arrived in Santorini we were dropped off near our hotel, and we couldn't find it. Nothing like two Americans walking back and forth dragging their luggage on cobblestones. With everything built into the hillside, we couldn't see it from the road. Then someone came out to greet us and it was complete heaven from then on.
There was a giant chocolate bar to go with these mimosas, in case you're wondering ;)
Everything in the suite was white.  I'm usually a color person when it comes to decor, but I may have to re-think that, the white was so soothing and relaxing. Oh and I was a tad obsessed with this bathroom.
I can close my eyes and still see this sunset as if I where there.
The way to breakfast.
The view from breakfast!
If you follow me on my personal FB page you may have seen this story, it was the day we went on an excursion to the volcano and a swim in the hot springs. The cable car that was supposed to take us down to the boat was closed. That meant basically running down a huge hill of steps to catch a boat that was leaving in 10 min. Pic 1 below, yup that boat all the wayyyyy down there. I should mention that I'm the mis-fit in a family of adventurous athletes, all over 6ft tall, me, whose 5'2 little legs are always bringing up the rear, should have stayed on her lounge chair! My sister-in-law, I love her but for the sake of this story let's just call her string bean, along with my niece and brother-in-law were instantly out of sight while my patient husband cheered me on down the 480 steps, yup 480 steps and a mine field of donkey poo! Pic 2, said donkeys decided to block my path as if I wasn't slow enough. The boat should have already left and I was no where near the bottom, I told my husband to go without me, save yourself! Not the most flattering picture of me, Pic 3, just my 'I hate you all' body language hands on hips pose. I said I'd wait right there until he got back, it would take 3 hours to resume normal breathing anyway. Of course he didn't go and I had to speed it up as I heard my sister- in-law yelling hurry! I yelled something back, (unprintable). I realized she got them to hold the boat! Oh the pressure! Finally we made it. We climbed aboard and I apologized and thanked all 75 other tourists. Once we landed at the volcano I found out we had to climb it! Did I mention I was wearing a skirt? I made it 3/4 up and then claimed a very comfortable lava rock to sit on as my new best friend. Back on the boat, and hopefully a few pounds lighter, we moved to the hot springs swimming area. I was confused when the boat stopped several 100 yards away from shore and the captain announced those who wished to swim should jump off the boat and swim to shore. Wtf? Obviously I had missed some important details of this day. But in the end we had a blast even though I'm minus one pair of black coach slip on sneakers that didn't survive the donkeys. 
And as you may have guessed they all jumped off the boat to swim, those are my husbands feet in the pic below. And I'm sure you could guess who stayed on the boat. Hey, someone has to take the pictures.
This blue is my favorite color and I painted all of the inside doors in my house with it years ago after I fell in love with it on a trip to Santa Fe. Still in love with it.
This sky is permanently ingrained in my minds eye.
We stayed longer then the rest of our family members, explored the town of Fira and on our last day walked to the winery. No irrigation, they use the sea spray of the Aegean and contain it by weaving the grape vines around the grapes into a basket to keep in the moisture, amazing. There were still some cafes open and it was fascinating to be there when things were closing for the season, including our hotel! Now I'm dreaming of going back, I'll take that same suite please ;)


Happy Travels!

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