For about the last 5 or 6 years whenever anyone has asked me if I could go anywhere in the world right at that moment where would I go, my answer has always been Santorini Greece with no hesitation. My dad has talked about Santorini honestly for as long as I can remember as his favorite place in the world. Having been there several times he had lots of advice and favorite spots to recommend. This place has a special little place of my heart just because of the adoration my dad has for it. But having been here myself… It completely takes your breathe away. It’s stunning. It’s got everything – beaches, hiking, shops, good food, and best of all, indescribable views. Unlike all the other islands, Santorini is on a cliff – left over from a volcano many many years ago. The towns are gorgeous – white buildings and churches with blue roofs scattered across the edges.
The last couple of days have been nothing short of amazing. I came to Santorini with a checklist and with only one day left I just have one more thing to see – the red beach!
The first day we got here was pretty brief as we got in around 4. We met up with Emily for a couple of drinks, a sunset and some gyros which was lovely. The next morning when we woke up we rented two “quad bikes” and ripped around the island for hours. We drove up the tallest point of the island at the bottom of the caldera. I started driving through the town when we first got the bikes but I hit two curbs… So Rachel’s took over the steering while I white knuckle gripped the back rails and enjoyed the views as we made our way up. From this point – one of Wayne’s recommendations – we could actually see the whole island!
After this we drove around till we found another of Wayne’s gems. Right in front of the town Imerovigli there is a flat topped mountain with a trail that wraps around the back toward the water. There is a blue roofed church there that you can walk down to. I have photos of my mom standing on this church from when my dad and her went on their honey moon and a pictures of my brother standing on the same church from when my dad and my brother back packed Greece in 2011. I was so amazed when I finally found is church I actually cried (for those who know me well know I’m a crier so probably not very surprising). Now I have a picture on that church too!
Post hike to the hidden church, we were sweaty and tired but drove out to Oia to watch the famous sunset – and I promise you it was not a let down. Unfortunately I did not get a picture of this.. I wanted to soak it in and just enjoy it.. But if you google it, you get the idea. Being world famous, it was SO crowded – if you are planning on going anytime soon you have to go really early or you will be 3 people back from the paths overlooking the water.
The next day Emily left and Rachel and I worked on our list of things to check out as per Wayne:
We hiked down to Old Port of Fira (Santorini’s capital). There were a lot of donkeys which meant a lot of donkey poop but the work out, endorphins, and view was worth it.
We walked around Oia looking at shops and seeking out cheap Greek salad (desperate for some veggies). Oia is like the ritzy part of Mykonos only, plus hundreds more people and marble streets. After our nutritious(ish) lunch, Rachel and I tightened our walking sanders and plugged our noses – more donkey poop – and hiked down the mountain to a little swimming cove. It was glorious and no one else was there. It was like the island was just for us temporarily and that was really really cool. It was so hot we walked the whole way back up in our swim suits until we started walking past the fancy restaurants and realized we should probably put some clothes on. Oops!
We visited the most popular black beach, Perissa, for a relaxing day in the sun and the sand. FYI black sand is a lot hotter on your feet. Rachel and I spent the afternoon booking it back and forth from the water to our towels squealing “HOT, HOT, HOT”.
We haven’t missed a sunset yet. And every single one is breath taking. The colours are something else when that sun sets over the water.
While I go on about all the beautiful adventures is Santorini, I also learned my first stressful lesson. As we are pulling into the motor rental place Rachel looks to me and says “Nic, did you bring the GoPro?” My head goes blank and all I can think is SHIT. I left it in the bedside drawer in our hotel is Paros. Trying to keep my cool I waited until we found wifi and called the hotel we stayed at. After seven calls the man finally answers, checks the room to confirm yes, I did leave the camera. We agreed that he would send the camera over on a ferry in the next couple days and call me back with the details. A small wave of relief hits and stays with me until this morning I realize he still hasn’t called and we leave Santorini tomorrow. My stress finally bubbled to the top and I panic texted my mom and called the man at the hotel another several times – still not answering. I started to loose hope and moved money out of my travel budget in my head to replace it when hotel man FINALLY called at 3pm. He had send it over on a Highspeed 7 boat which would be arriving at the port at 5:30. And if you can believe it I actually got it back. Happiness and relief swarmed me when I finally picked up the shoebox addressed to Miss Nicole Barcellos from Siren Hotel Paros.
Lesson learned: double, triple, quadruple check your hotel room when you leave and for god sake do NOT put things in the hotel drawers. Rachel and I have made a little list of very important items such as charges, passports, cameras, etc. so we don’t forget anything again. Off to Rhodes tomorrow night!
Sending love from the islands! ❤️
Gyro total: 21 (think I am becoming a gyro…)