Monday, December 5, 2011


Million dollar views ahead.
you never want to leave
once you arrive.
Embarking upon Santorini Island.
Ok, I am on my last and final "chapter" of pictures from Greece. I honestly couldn't come up with a title for this post like this one or this one because seriously no title could do Santorini justice, it's a title all on it's own.

 I seriously was so exhausted and my body was screaming, I didn't think I'd be able to get out of bed that morning. This was the morning where I looked at my husband and said: "I think I'm done with our trip, I can't go any further." But the body always seems to find a way to endure, and to push forward. And that's what I did.
 I just couldn't believe I was going to be in Santorini, I mean . .who goes there?!
That's what I was trying to focus on, beauty, always beauty.

 This was the view. That is me standing on our patio of  our hotel room, can you even believe it?!
Santorini is like no place I have ever seen in my life. I consider myself very privileged to have traveled as much as I have through the years. The most beautiful place I've seen so far is Switzerland. But Santorini was on such a different level. It's really hard to put into words. I don't think I need to.

 This was our Hotel.  There were a total of 12 suites. There was a total of one occupancy. Yep, us.
Santorini is built on a volcanic cliff. You'll see the original "piece" that erupted 3,700 years ago. Isn't that mind blowing? There hasn't been any volcanic activity in years, but over the last 100 years there has been, so they are watching it closely.
(those two little tables you see with the chairs, that's where we had breakfast each morning)
My husbands kicks; relaxing and having some greek beer.
Our Anniversary dinner location. I could not take my eyes off of this view! Wild horses couldn't have dragged me. And, I bought that vase that was on the table!
While in Santorini, we mainly relaxed, chilled, relaxed some more, shopped, ate, contemplated, relaxed, chilled and ate some more, and then shopped again. Oh ya, we did a lot of walking and laughing too.

When we arrived this little cutie patutie was waiting for us to greet us with kisses, the hotel manager asked "Are you afraid of dogs?" My husband was like, "Ah, nooooooo"....She really made me miss my little guy, but helped ease my longing for him. Her name was Neopi.
I wasn't going to include these pics of me, but they are shots my husband captured of how happy I felt. I had changed clothes, and taken a few sips of the wine that was waiting for us on our patio, and I was feeling full of such peace, joy, happiness, gratefulness, and relaxation. He captured that here in these pictures.

Does this even need a caption? Ok, probs not but I'll give it one. I kid you not this was our paito and this was our view. (and it was our 10 year Wedding Anniversary)
nuff said.
View to the right of our patio.

This is at the top of the cliff (our hotel was down maybe about a 5 min walk from the top). Look at those donkeys!
Since Santorini is built into a volcanic cliff, everything, including hotels is on cliff side, so you have to walk up step after step after step. And since brick is a newer thing, it wasn't invented until the late 1800's, there is rocks and pebbles and lava rock everywhere. Very difficult to walk on. See if you can follow this. 
We planned ahead of time and asked them for a Hotel that was closest to the bottom (nearest to the Sea) because of my disability. 
When we arrived, our Hotel was closest to the top.
Meaning, at the top of the cliff (the city) there is even terrain, it's sort of flat up there,
but not totally. Anyway, that is where the main town is with the shops and restaurants. 
So they got it backwards, but it ended up being just fine because we didn't even go to the Sea. 
We would have had to take Donkey's down, and that wouldn't have worked for me. Plus, it 
wasn't warm enough for the Sea; sure it was sunny and 60's but not warm enough for Sea fun.
Yes, that is a toilet that poor donkey has to carry. The people have no other way to transfer stuff, so the donkeys do a ton of the work!

The "hub" volcano that erupted 3,700 years ago.

We stopped in the late morning at a cafe (I am talking with the owner) that was the first to open as a cafe in 1976, and It was the best Cappuccino I have ever had to date. I had to ask the guy how he made the froth so amazing. He said to me:"I don't think you Americans want to know what I do to make it so good." I said, "Try me, I was in the coffee business for 6 years." He proceeded to tell me that he mixes the milk with a hand held mixer til it starts to peak, then he puts it in the microwave for 30 seconds! 

Froth to the last drop. Beautiful.

In front of our Hotel (we still had to walk down about 50 steps to actually get there)

One of the walks down to our Hotel.

The sunset is "the million dollar view". Celebrities come to Santorini
People were lined up with their Nikon's along the sidewalk with tripods and everything just to get a shot. The people told us that when it's busy season, it is shoulder to shoulder on the streets, and people line up for a shot of the view/sunset, and have to wait a while.
Each night we were there, the sun would start to set and then would go behind this cloud:( 
oh well, it was still captivating:)

Door. So many doors. 

I captured these bird pictures one night, and I was so proud! I just love em!

Our hotel manager had nothing better to do one of the days, as he put it, so he took us on a tour of the whole Island! The island is 28 square miles, and it part of the Cyclades Islands, and in the circle of the Archipelago.
This is a Black beach that we went to. Unbelievable. And Pumice (the light colored stuff on the beach) that we buy in the store, is ash from the volcano, and it was laying there, just laying all over the beach! I took a zip lock home with me!

He also took us a to a town name Oia. Which supposedly has the best views on the island, but I actually preferred where we stayed, Fira, to Oia. But I was so happy we went, it was an incredibly, sweet little town. So different than Fira, but it was completely, almost, closed down for the season. People have to leave this town because of the winds, it becomes unlivable from about Nov-Feb.

 View at/from Oia

That's me with our hotel manager as he is answering one of my millions of questions. Lucky guy. LOL (those that know me well, go ahead LOL)

Yes, I had trouble understanding this kind of beauty.

 This guy with the lovely underbite was following us the whole time.

Back in Fira, I got use to "our" steps.

I have to back track a little. When we had breakfast in the morning, it was such a gift to be able to see that view, but we also had animals around us at any given moment, which was quite lovely I thought. (this was the morning of our tour of the Island)

 The last morning we had coffee at a little whole in the wall, to give a townsman some business. While we were there we learned that the next day was the Athens Marathon! We were running into people from Texas, DC, and the Midwest. We had no idea.

Look at that Crema! There wasn't one Cappuccino served without beautiful Crema. Kudos Greece.

 Me saying goodbye by myself.

Naopi had followed us all the way up from the Hotel as we waited for our transfer, the hotel manager said she had never done that before. She waited until our transportation arrived.
sniff sniff

This trip would have to qualify as a "trip of a lifetime". Even though I've been to Europe before and that is a gift in and of itself, all traveling is.
But Greece is on a whole different level. It is Middle Eastern, it is European, it is desert, it is tropical. It is adventurous, it is unpredictable. It is welcoming, it is unique. It is an eye sore. It is historical, biblical,
and extremely beautiful, especially Santorini.

My least favorite things about Santorini:
My favorite things about Santorini:
Thanks for following along on my journey to Greece, it means a lot to me!


Natalie said...

Wow! Gina! I love these photos! So many amazing views! =)

Lily said...

This all looks like paradise. I am sooOoo jealous. Hope you had a fabulous trip!

Casa De Luna said...

Your photos of Greece are so beatiful! I liked the colors and all of the doors. The donkey with the toilet was too funny.

Kelly said...

Gina you have my heart aching for greece. my husband is greek the last time we were there was in 2006. we went to 6 different islands but santorini was opposite direection of where we were, but it is going to be a stop the next time we go.
in my opinion there is no coffee like greek coffee house coffee. it's heaven. i loved my afternoon frapes when we were there. frothe heaven.
i am so glad you had a wonderful time.

Tamera Beardsley said...

Oh Gina, I was so excited when I saw this post up...I had to go and make my morning fully enjoy the trip! Thanks so for usual adjectives have no place to describe your journey....simply thank you so much for sharing such spectacular beauty!!!

The pictures your husband takes of filled with love!

Hanner said...

Thanks for sharing this beautiful slice of your life, I enjoyed looking at your trip, gorgeous! Now I want to go SO BAD =]

Anonymous said...

G, I love the b&w pics of you that were not planning to share :) My faaaaves. And then you by the sea, making a sweeping motion with your hands, hunting for perfect rocks.

I loved following along on your trip!


Ashley @ Luce said...

these pictures are amazing! the door ways are beautiful!!!!! i feel like i went to Greece... i guess a part of me technically did ;) lol. love you!

Anonymous said...

yay! i'm SO glad you two took this trip... happy anniversary gina and kevin. what a journey!

the wild dogs? what a treat! and the little white one especially for seeing you off (i know how you must have loved that).

i agree with ann about those black and white photos...especially the one where you are laughing and smiling, so natural and beautiful.

love you,

amy o said... just CANNOT get a cappuccino in america that even COMPARES to any i've had in europe. what why oh why is that? even the coffee from burger king in budapest is better than anything i've had here... ;)

one thing i forgot...the bird with the turquoise background? completely and utterly UNREAL, gene! great pic.

SymbioticLife said...

I just don't even know what to say. I love what an authentic feel to the place I get from your photos and stories. Sometimes, people can just sort of post the amazing, white wash the facts and make everything sound like a fairy tale. I love how honest you are with the difficulties, how things don't always work smoothly, the tiny details of things like the animals at all times, all of it. It's great stuff. Beautiful experience that I really appreciate you sharing with us.

Jacob Beaty said...

Wow ! The view is breathtaking! Beautiful, indeed. I wish I can visit Santorini ASAP. Those are some awesome photos you got.