What a dream. Santorini is my new favorite place in the world for two reasons - one, because it reminded me of my usual Florida summers by the Gulf, fishing and swimming and relaxing, and two: it was a total change of pace. We'd been constantly moving from museum to park to landmark trying to cover our grounds, and in Greece, we were content just taking in all the views. It's not hard to do.
If you're going to Santorini, you must visit Oia (pronounced ee-uh). Stay there if you can. Don't stay in Fira. The cruise ships dock there and I suppose it's a good time if you like to go out, but it's not nearly as pristine as Oia. Proof below.
UGH these marbled streets took my SOUL
the bougainvillea also took my soul and my heart and I JUST LOVE THESE FLOWERS OK
And then there's Atlantis Books... our favorite spot. It's just this magical little bookshop, the only one on the island, filled with classics and foreign language novels and Greek cookbooks and bestsellers. The terrace is the best spot to relax, it stays quiet while the people walk from store to store below.
I wrote in my journal:
"Everything about this current moment is good and ripe - the two glasses of wine slowly dissolving in my bloodstream, the view that keeps distracting me - sun juxtaposed with blue, deep blue, water, and the mars-like island cliffs. You can see the sediment and thus you can see time, the white layer of washed houses at the top. We're at the Atlantis Books terrace, reading and contemplating, feeling the wind, the sea, and the dinner rush below. This is my favorite place in the world, right here, this spot on Earth. Few things have made me feel so small.
I'll never see another sunset the same, except that the same sun sets everywhere. I've always known that to be true but as I travel farther the world gets smaller and it's never seemed so real."
I can tell in the last sentence that the wine had done its work and I was losing my ability to write complete and thoughtful sentences (what exactly has never seemed so real? Who knows).
Ammoudi Bay is photographed below. Absolutely stunning place to grab a bite to eat if you have the money to.
We drank coffee (the cheaper alternative) and had fried zucchini (delicious) and then walked a path to the left, if you're facing the bay, to where I took this photo.
Keep walking (climbing?) around the corner and you'll find a little beach and a rock with a little chapel you can swim out to and jump off. See that guy standing on the little cliff? It's higher than it seems...
My generous and well-traveled friend Xander recommended this taverna (and just about everything else we did in Greece), which you can find on the right just before the walking streets in Oia, and we went twice. Simple and lovely food and not expensive, either. About 10 or 12 euro for a plate.
ATVs, scooters, and cars can all be rented on Santorini and I'd highly recommend renting any of those three. The drives are stunning and it's the easiest way to get around. Together, we spent about $100 total (including insurance) for a three-day ATV rental. That was mid-season price. Gas is about 8 euro to fill up (make sure you fill up before you head out!) and we filled up once, driving from Imerovigla to Oia several times a day. It's about a 12-15 minute ride, and it's incredible. I mean...
Below: Katharos Beach. Rocky and rugged and the perfect spot for an afternoon swim. A ten minute walk from Oia or, if you're lazy like us, it can be reached via ATV. If you're in Greece for longer than a few days, be a tourist and bring water shoes! AND SUNSCREEN. Bring. It. With. You. Or pay 25 euro for it. Your choice.
The view from a little restaurant in Imerovigla we went to on our last night to eat dessert and watch the sunset. Which is mind blowing and photos can't do it justice - a perfect reason to go experience it for yourself ;)
If you have any questions -- ask away!! I'd love to help.