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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Santorini, Greece

Of all the place I've traveled in my young life, I think the absolutely most fantastic & amazing place has been Santorini, Greece in July of 2004. It's a magical place, nowhere else like it on Earth, that I'd go back to in a heartbeat.
We stayed at a wonderful placed called Sunny Villas in Imerovigli. We could easily walk downhill to Fira or catch the bus anywhere on the island. It was close to the action, but quiet & slightly more off the beaten path. The traditional rounded cave-like rooms were carved out of the side of the mountain. We had an amazing view from our porch, where they brought us down breakfast each morning. The pool was small, but perfect with an ice cold drink on the hot summer afternoons.

The crescent shaped island truly lives up to all the hype in the movies and the gorgeous photos everywhere. Walking along the cliff-sides, between hotels, homes & restaurants, was an experience unlike any other.

On our first evening there, a beautiful cloud of fog rolled up from the ocean & covered the area in a gorgeous, tranquil serenity. The famous church was very close to our hotel, and several evenings we sat on our balcony and watched weddings.

The neat things about Santorini is that there are many things to do & an incredible sense of history. Some people believe the 3,700 year old city of Akrotiri that was buried when the volcano erupted could be the lost city of Atlantis. The wiki article informed me that this tourist stop is now closed after the roof collapsed in 2005. The advancements & technology they were using thousands of years ago was incredibly impressive.

Walk around the island, turn a corner and it was always like a postcard. The whitewashed houses & gorgeous flowers complemented the world's best sunsets and stunning cliffs.
The island has numerous churches that are an incredible contrast to the dark, rugged mountains that they sit so delicately at the base.

Another adventure we enjoyed was visiting the red beach, which has it's fantastic color from all the volcanic activity from the last several thousand years. It was quite a hike down to the beach, but the small red pebbles & awesome lounge chairs were one of my favorite beach experiences ever.

Also to see on the island are the vineyards & the wine museum. Santorini is a rough and harsh place to be during the winters, but their adaptations to growing grapes was impressive. The fact that they only started using glass bottles and modern machinery to produce wine in the last few decades was a shock. We enjoyed several bottles of Santorini wine. :)

Our favorite part of the trip was a sailboat ride out to the still-active volcano. We actually hiked up to the top, which was even hotter than the sweltering weather. Walking around the rim of the crater, we could smell the sulfur and see gasses coming from the vents. Nicknamed the caldera (crater) for its shape, the area also provided some hot thermal swims after our snack on the boat.

The best part was sailing out around Oia to watch the sunset into the ocean while listening to traditional Greek music on the guitar and sipping some local wine. I've just fun just re-living these few magical days, and I'd highly recommend putting Santorini on your list of places to visit.

GOOD NEWS OF THE DAY: We're having my favorite for dinner tonight- breakfast.


April Ziegler said...

Love the Santorini photos. That's my dream vacation. I hope we get there w/in the next few years.

Breakfast for dinner rocks. =)

Amanda said...

Gorgeous photos!! Sigh...just another place to add to list of dream vacations :)

Rocket said...

What a dream vacation!

Rocket said...

What a dream vacation!

Dennis the Vizsla said...

I love the little white church -- such a beautiful building!

Bree said...

Wow! These are some amazing photos. Love it. Share more. Oh, by the way, I got my books. Thanks a bunch!