Monday, July 26, 2010

My Big Fat Greek Adventure - Kalimera, Santorini

On July 8th, at 7:30am, Jenny and I boarded a tiny aircraft headed to Santorini, one of the most gorgeous islands in Greece.
Santorini from Olympic Air's window
Our plane tickets told us that the flight would take approximately 50 minutes, which was about 10 minutes more than the flight from Boston to Montreal.  But we learned that that 50 minutes must have included boarding the bus that would take us to the tiny plane from the airport gate.

You know how when a plane gets to the right altitude, the flight attendants proceed to distribute snacks and drinks?  Then maybe 15-30 minutes later they start collecting your trash?  Well, this flight was so short that everything was super rushed!

*Plane reaches perfect altitude, seat belt signal turns off*
*Flight attendants start handing out drinks and snacks, which were cute little cookies that looked huge on the box, but were actually tiny!  It's like they multiplied as I opened the box.*
Flight attendant:  Here's your snack.
Me:  Thank you. *I start opening the box and were surprised by the tinyness of the cookies*
*Seat belt signal turns on*
Flight attendant:  Okay, give us your trash! We're landing!
Me:  But..wait..I just got my snack!  Aaahhhh!!

Seriously, as fast as you can read that scenario, that's how fast it happened!

Tony's Villa, The Legend
Well, after the momentary confusion, we landed on beautiful Santorini.  I had emailed the owner of the hostel we were staying at the night before to ensure that we would be picked up at the airport, and he was there with his son ready to pick us up.  I must say, this was the first time in a long time I've had someone greet me at the airport who wasn't in a car.  It felt pretty special.

As he drove us along the windy roads towards the hostel, I couldn't believe that we were in Santorini.  We have been talking and planning for so long, it was hard to believe that we actually made it.

We finally make it to the hostel, aptly named "Tony's Villa, The Legend,", located in the town of Perissa, famous for its black sand beaches.  Tony is known around Santorini for his sand and wood art work.  It was part of the reason why I chose this hostel, apart from the fact that it was one of the cheaper locations.  Tony's art was also proudly displayed in all the rooms, though I'm sad to say that I didn't take pictures of our room!
The Legend!
Tony also had an art gallery down the street from the hostel.
Tony, his wife Cathy, and son Panayotis lived in an upstairs apartment.  There are at least 12 other units that was part of the building, and they seemed fairly busy even though the ferry strike might have prevented some travelers from making it that day.  Though the pool was out of commission, the beach was a short 5 minute walk away.  Tony's Villa was at a perfect location for Jenny and I -  not on a major street with lots of traffic and drunk kids but really close to the beach and other important resources, such as tourist agencies, bars, restaurants, an ATM, and bus stops.  The only real problem we encountered was that my Droid was having a lot of trouble connecting to the internet even when Tony's wi-fi signal was strong.

Tony's Villa was also the location where we saw the most amount of cats!  Their 2 year old cat had just had 6 kittens, which we learned was her biggest litter thus far.  But the mama cat was so tiny!!  Much smaller than Yoni!
There's 6 of them in there! 
2 tiger stripes, 1 black and white, and 3 black with little bits of white here and there.
That's the mama!  She's so tiny!
We actually noticed that a lot of the cats looked a lot smaller than our fatty American cats.  Perhaps that Mediterranean diet is good for cats and humans, eh?

I had to admit, I really started to get homesick for the boyfriend, Yoni, and Mencken.  Considering that one of the kitties could have been a Greek version of Mencken, I was missing the kitties a lot.  Whenever I got a chance, I loved to see what the little family was doing, and I was very content just watching them play with each other.

Kalimera Means Good Morning
The first couple of mornings in Santorini were something to get used to.  The winds had kicked up quite a bit, though it was still fairly warm.  The door to our room shook and rattled along with the wind, so it was a noise to get used to.

Also, mornings were when a lot of people were arriving or departing at Tony's.  I would often hear Tony calling out for people to get ready or Tony and Cathy yelling to each other from across the courtyard.  Some people might mind all that noise, but it really felt very homey and that was really comforting being across the Atlantic from home.

One of the great amenities of the hostel, aside from the very welcomed air conditioner, was the small fridge in each room.  Jenny and I made sure to stock up on water to ensure that we would stay properly hydrated throughout our travels.  We also had the option to cook our own food, though we never really planned for it.

One surprising amenity was coming back to our room and finding that it was tidied up, the sheets washed, and the bathroom floor mopped.  It happened every other day, I believe, and it was such a nice treat after a lot of our adventures.

For the most part, when we woke up, we would prepare for an entire day at the beach.  There was perhaps 1 day when we actually woke up early to prepare for a guided tour, but for the most part we woke up along with the rest of the hostel.

Breakfasts for us consisted of a variety of options.  If we were planning a day trip, we opted for a bit of Greek yogurt (which, again, was somehow more delicious than any Greek yogurt I've had in the states) which we bought at little markets.  Now, when I say little markets, I really mean small in size - but they have EVERYTHING!  Water, wine, sunscreen (a spray bottle cost me over 21 Euro..but it lasted the whole trip and then some!), kitschy souvenirs, tampons, trashy magazines, fruit, and of course yogurt.
During leisurely mornings, we would choose one of the various restaurants along the beach walk of Perissa, craving omelets, waffles, or fruit smoothies.  Here's a list of the restaurants we feasted at for breakfast.
Corner Snack Bar Cafe located near the southern end of the beach walk featured some delicious waffles topped with ice cream!  Apparently, they look at waffles as a dessert item, but they know us fatty tourists like it as breakfast.  I'm totally cool with that!
Sellada Beach Hotel Cafe is right on the beach walk.  I had a really nice and light omelet there.  It was a great location, with wi-fi so we were able to catch up on emails and delicious fruit drinks to help us get over our hangovers (more on that later).
Viscante Restaurant (I think?) was another restaurant right on the beach walk.  We opted for this place because of all the fruit smoothies they had to offer.
Yazz Beach Restaurant and Chill Out Bar reeled us in during dinner, and called us back the next morning for breakfast.  I believe there were delicious omelets waiting for us. 
After breakfast, we would promptly ready ourselves for the rest of our day at one of the many gorgeous beach spots.

Coming up next:  Kalispehra, Santorini

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you had a wonderful time! So jealous!


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