I wanted to backtrack a bit and share my travel photography with all of you. My two favourite things to do are: Travel and photography so when I can do both I am absolutely in my element. Here is my first travel post of many so keep checking back to see what place I write about next!
We took a 10 day trip to Greece back in May of 2014. It wasn’t too much time considering we travelled half way around the world, but we managed to see two of the places we have wanted to go for a long time; Athens, and Santorini. We used www.expedia.com for our flights, www.bookings.com, www.airbnb.com, and www.hostels.com for all of our accommodations. All the places were just amazing and we couldn’t be happier with the accuracy these websites displayed the information.
So lets get to the actual travelling part shall we. We went to Greece early May which is just before high season. There is less people travelling that time and the rates for flights and hotels are at a low for the year. The weather is warm at +25 during the day and +15 at night. Nights in Santorini were a bit colder as it was a calderra and there was a lot of wind coming off the sea. We landed to Athens we were deciding what to do in terms of transportation. Athens is a huge city and taking a cab from the airport probably isn’t the best bet. We decided to take the train, which is the easiest way of getting around and the cheapest. The ride was an hour long to Acropoli station where the Acropolis can be found. Our hostel was 5 minutes away from the gorgeous monument in the centre of Athens. We were close to everything, shopping, food, sights. The hostel that we stayed at was Athens Studio, if you are in Athens I highly recommend saying there. The first night we arrived we were pretty beat from flying all day so we just took it easy walked around plaka for a nice evening stroll.
The following day we enjoyed free breakfast from the hostel and headed out for our walking tour. We walked all around the centre of Athens hitting up the main sites such as Zues’s temple, Panathenaic Stadium, The parliament building, Syntagma Square, Monastiraki square, and the Agora. Once the tour was over we bought a pass to go into the Acropoli and see the wonder that it is. On the way up you enjoy some of the smaller theatres and things as well as lots of ruins. Its quite the climb so if your planning on going wear some good walking shoes. Right before you hit the top you get to the Odeum of Herodes. You gotta get a picture there as it looks over the rest of Athens and its a main sight in Athens. You are than ready to make the rest of the climb to the Acropolis. As you enter the gates there is a beautiful temple to your right called the temple of Athena which was dedicated to the goddess herself. The archway than takes you to the clearing of the Parthenon, and Erechtheion. Wow does it ever take your breath away seeing it there in its glory and knowing that this is the first place that civilization was created. It brought tears in my eyes and I was so grateful at that moment in time to have finally seen something I have been meaning to see for such a long time. The poor building is getting restored as it has been bombed a couple of times throughout history as well as looted. You can find pieces from the parthenon all over the world and slowly Athens is trying to recover all those pieces which are placed in the museum. Once we got a good look up there we headed to the other sights that were part of our tickets. We than went to the Roma Forum walked around in there saw the temple of Hephaestus. This temple is in extremely great shape and is worth a see. It is probably the best preserved temple in all of Athens. That day we walked from 8am till about 11pm. Our feet were just throbbing but with so little time we needed to make the best of it.
We had scheduled to stay in Santorini for 7 nights so we needed to get to the airport and catch a plane the same day. When we arrived at the airport we were lucky enough to catch a flight at 11am, there were only about 6 spots left in the plane, it was a bit of a close call but what can you do. They also charged us a whopping $300 euros each to go but since we have no other way we bought the tickets. The plane ride was about 35-40 minutes and didn’t even hit its max altitude, so it was a bit of a rough ride. When we were coming close we could see the full size of the island since its not very big at all and got extremely excited. The airport we landed in was so small and quant we walked right through it without waiting. We than boarded the island bus and were on our way to the last stop; Oia. The drivers there are a little bit nuts to say the least. The road is super swervey and it is one lane on each side. There is small barriers on the edge and when you look down its cliffside. These drivers drive fast and no one hardly stops for each other there. Completely what I am used to living in Canada holy. We finally got to Oia and it was time to find our hotel. We walked through the extremely narrow streets of white houses to finally come to a clearing there my husband and I were overwhelmed by the amazing view we got of the cliffside and caldera. Once again almost cried but you know were an emotional bunch haha. Our place was right in the centre of Oia and the place was so beautiful. You actually found people constantly taking pictures of Yani’s place because it is just that nice. I found out after I got back from the trip that I actually pinned his place as the places to stay and didn’t realize we ended up staying there. How crazy is that? We arrived we were welcomed by Yani a tall greek man that spends his summers on Santorini managing the hotel while his family lives in Athens. As tourism is the main form of income for greater Greece a lot of family members leave for months at a time to provide for their families. Anyway the place Yani had prepared for us was a traditional cave style house. It was in the mountainside with a living space on the main and a small ladder that took you up to the bed. It was perfect and we loved staying there. Yani was very helpful and recommended a bunch of things for us to see and do. He also had some really great recommendations for restaurants that we ate at and man was he ever right. The best way to eat right when your travelling is eat where the locals eat. that way you will get the most authentic food and you probably wont get food poisoning. That day we just walked around for the rest of the day, snapped some pictures explored the small streets and ate some wicked food.
A new day in gorgeous Oia, the sun was shining the locals were opening their shops for the day. We went to this cute little restaurant just off the road and near the bus station and enjoyed our very first european crepe. It was magnificent, absolutely amazing so we ate crepes there everyday we were in Oia. When you walk to the farest side of Oia you can take stairs that lead you down to Amoudi Bay. The colours change as you walk down because there is a lot of clay in the soil, really making the experience interesting. Amoudi Bay is this quaint bay where all the fisherman stay and catch daily fresh fish. You can also stay in Amoudi Bay if you want to as there is accommodation there as well. By now it was lunch and we were hungry so we decided to enjoy a fresh fish at one of the tavernas oceanside. You got to pick your fish as it was in the tank still alive and choose the way you wanted it prepared than they bring it out for you when its ready. We also got a litre of white wine as its cheaper than water and enjoyed the gorgeous view. When the fish came out we were already half cut so we just munched hard on the darn thing. As we were eating cat visitors would come and try and get some fish from us. I tell you it worked as I was feeding them the leftover fish bits to their heart content. After our meal we walked to the right of Amoudi Bay and explored the lava rock. The texture and feel was very similar to the rock you can find in Maui, black, and jagged. After we were done exploring that side of the island we had to get back to the top hmm how were we going to do that. I mean there was the option of taking the stairs we took to get down but after a litre of wine that just didn’t seem feasible. So we took the donkeys that line the side of the stairs up. What a ride I was screaming the whole way up because they would get into a gallop while my husband is taking constant selfies of himself ahead of me. Can you believe it haha it was a lot of fun though and if you have the chance for $5 euros a person its well worth it.
Our friends from Calgary were going to be on Santorini at the same time as us so we said we should meet up. We went to a local quad rental place and rented a quad for a full day. We than parked it outside the crepe place and are some breakfast. Luckily Derek and his girlfriend Gita drove right by us and we ended up meeting each other. I guess it was just meant to be. We than embarked on an epic journey around Santorini. We made our first stop at the Santo Winery which is at the second highest point on the island. Its a beautiful winery overlooking the caldera. We ordered 2 16 wine sampler packs between the couples. Now let me explain what samples are like in Europe. Their not like the dinky samples we get at our wineries here in Canada where its just enough to wet the whistle. These are half a glass each! and 16 of them not like 4-8. They also give you samples from the driest white to the fullest body red. I tapped out halfway through and my husband and Derek just gaver. We nibbled on some snacks to sober up and once we did we headed to the beach on the south side of the island called Perivolos Beach. We enjoyed a nice beach day there having some delicious Mojitos oceanside. The sand is black at this beach which makes it hot on the feet so watch out. After a few hours spent at the beach we went to explore the other parts of Santorini like the Southwest side where the Akrotiri excavations can be found. If you have time you need to fit this into your schedule. Its a football field full of excavations from old civilization Greece. Really fascinating to see the state of preservation in which everything is. Give yourself roughly an hour to two to get through the whole thing. Soon after we explored the only red sand beach in Santorini . Its very close to the excavations you just need to continue down the road to the bottom where the sea is and than you have a small walk to get to the beach. We than continued to go back to Oia so we could have diner and enjoy the beautiful sunset at a cafe on the cliffside.
Was a relaxing day where we walked around Oia and shopped the local stores there. Everything is expensive to make sure you decide whether you can’t buy that back home.
We went to Fira for 2 nights and stayed at a hotel with a jacuzzi. That was really nice to have during the chillier evenings. Fira was beautiful, however Oia held a closer part in our hearts. Fira is a lot busier than the quaint Oia and it had more energy. The shopping in Fira was a lot better too as there were more stores and things were more competitively priced. All in all our stay in Fira was nice and we ate at some really great places there.
We returned to Athens and walked around some more however our flights were leaving very early the next morning so we needed to get to bed pretty early. After we spent a day walking, we ate dinner at a great local tavern and hit the sack for a really early wakeup the next day, where we said goodbye to beautiful Greece.
Till next time xoxo