July 1, 2017 Santorini, Greece

Day 5  Travel Day to Fira. In the morning after the 24 hours we had in Mykonos, we were off to Santorini on a two hour ferry! Although the boat did not agree with my stomach, standing outside on the deck helped me witness some of the gorgeous other islands we stopped by on the way over which definitely sparked my curiosity for future trips to Greek Islands! (And yes, I am already planning out my next trip there!) When we got to Santorini, we had another one of our infamous naps, walked around our new home of Fira to find some gyros, and went back our Airbnb to store up enough energy for our next couple days on the beautiful island.

Speaking of our Airbnb... This is what we woke up to. 

Day 6  Oia + Wine + Fira. Hello, Santorini! I don't know how we got so lucky with our Airbnb's, but I guess you could say you just can't go wrong when you're in this country with any bed and breakfast. 

Our patio view was so breathtaking that we almost wish we had a free day just to spend up there looking out onto the ocean!

The deep blue of the ocean was just out of this world!

It was the perfect place to chill... before we started melting from the sun!

And of course we had to take some classic "welcome to my crib" photos.

That morning, we took the bus to the famous town of Oia. One of the main squares of the city featured this stunning church that attracted tons of tourists!

The vines and flowers that grew all around the walls of the town quickly became our obsession!

Also, this little library / bookstore was probably the cutest thing I've ever seen. 

One of the major viewpoints was on some old ruins on the cliff which gave us a 360 view of all of Oia  which even in the middle of the day was stunning! 

Oh my goodness, what's this? A picture of myself? Although rare, I am learning more and more than it is important to show up on your own blogs. So hey, here's a picture of me with Oia and Amoudi Bay in the background! 

One of the highlights of the day was Amoudi Bay  a small fisherman's town at the bottom of the cliff. It was quite a walk down hundreds of steps, but so beyond worth it down there.

Oia did not disappoint with these scenic walk down! It was so fun watching Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants one of these nights and seeing this exact spot in the movie. 

And you bet we took photos at every corner!

Amoudi Bay was such a dream. Each restaurant, although all seafood, was unique in its own way.

It was amazing seeing all of these (tenticles?) all around the outside of the restaurants. Apparently they hung these up to soak in the sun a certain way, and one of the restaurant owners was quick to make sure I wasn't using flash as this would also disturb the technique. So interesting!

Kinda gross but kinda cute?

What was also interesting was that at each of the restaurants in Amoudi, you get to pick out your fish that they just caught that exact day. How cool is that? So at the restaurant we decided on, this was our pick before...

...and after they cooked them for us! So yum!

Since we were in a slight rush back, we decided to take the quickest (and most adventurous!) way up... by donkey! When we found out it was only 5 euros and immediately said yes, the owner (who did not speak English at all) basically threw us onto these donkeys and before we could even say a single word or before he could give us a single instruction, we were booking it up the steps, screaming the entire way up! Even though the man said "No, Ma'am!" every time I turned around to try to snap a picture, I still managed to get this one which captures those five minutes perfectly!

When we got off, there was another line of donkeys on their way down the hill, which I was pumped to get photos of. Not only are they such a significant part of the history here (they were used from the beginning by settlers here before they had automobiles!), they also greatly contribute to the beauty and splendor of Santorini in general.

Just look at how gorgeous!

Before we rushed back to Fira for the wine tour, we went through all the beautiful little shops along the way that featured stunning handmade trinkets and souvenirs. So cute!

And next comes one of the highlights of our entire trip to Greece altogether  our wine tour! If you are looking for something to do in Santorini, you better pick the #1 TripAdvisor wine tour in Santorini. Quite affordable, and they take you to three different unique wineries (with four tastings at each  that's a lot of good wine!).

Our tour guide was Evan, a wine connoisseur and adjunct professor at the University of Athens in oenology, the study and science of wine. And boy was he an expert! We learned how to properly taste the wine, how to pair different wines with different foods, the many differences between the colors and types of wines, and much more. Amongst the many takeaways and knowledge we gained from the tour, one of the coolest parts was learning about how they grow the wineries there in Santorini. Instead of the classic rows of tall vines you normally associate with wineries, here, they had short bush clusters. It doesn't rain much here, so the plants get their nutrients from sponge-like rocks that soak up the dew and provide water for these plants to grow  so unique! 

Of course, each tasting was paired with the perfect food. Best of all was the assorted cheese!

And yes friends, this is a real place. No, it is not out of a fairytale. It is literally a winery. SantoWines was the most beautiful place in the world  and the perfect place to finish the tour as it was right at sunset!

Can we just stare at this place for a few more seconds? Like, what?

Did I mention we were there at sunset?

As we were continuing to try to different wines, we even got to walk around the cliff side and admire the beautiful views with our glasses. 

Overall, it was one of the most incredible experiences of our lives. We even became friends with the other guests on our tour with whom we explored the capital city of Fira with that night. We knew Santorini was a beautiful, romantic honeymoon spot, but who knew it was such an exciting place to go out in too? Unfortunately, our guide Evan was hopping on a plane back to Athens that night so he couldn't make it, but he sure did contribute to such an amazing second to last day. And what a day it was!

And these views made it even better.

Day 7 - Sunset Sail / Saying our Goodbyes. After a crazy, fully packed day exploring Oia and the major wineries on the island, we had a relaxing day on a boat ride around Santorini  the perfect way to end the trip!

We sailed around to visit each one of the major beaches in Santorini, all while enjoying some great Greek beer! 

Red Beach, Santorini is in the background of the photo. What's crazy is although scientists have warned visitors not to go to this beach because of the extremely unstable hillside that could collapse at any moment, there were tons of people packed onto the beach anyways. I guess they couldn't resist!

White Beach was also a famous summer spot, which featured this gigantic rock on the coast which almost looked like an iceberg our boat was about to hit!

We stopped around some caves and rock formations for a beautiful view for our lunch. Although the water was freezing, this area is still a beautiful snorkel spot, which is not surprising considering the beauty and clarity of the water! 

Our lunch was Greek BBQ  chicken and beef kebabs, vegetables, Greek salad, and you guessed it... feta! It was a great afternoon enjoying great food and relaxing in the sun!

We also stopped at the hot springs on one of the smaller "islands" off the coast of Santorini. What we learned on our trip was that Santorini is actually a volcano that erupted and caused the separation of the "islands" we see now. How amazing that something destructive created something so beautiful!

We then started our sail towards Oia for sunset, where we got to see the beautiful coastal buildings from down below! There were also many little storage structures, rest stops and even miniature churches built into the cliffside at the bottom that fisherman used back in the day. It would be my dream to take a boat there one day and explore the ruins!

There was another small island that hosted a tiny church-like structure where many people swam to go cliff jumping into the ocean below. Our guide told us that Angelina Jolie was rumored to have wanted to purchase this little island to build a house!

We ended the evening sitting on the top deck of the catamaran and watching the sunset near Amoudi Bay where many other boats gathered to witness it. Could not have imagined a more beautiful last night getting a tour of the island on the ocean!

Overall, Santorini was the best end to our trip. Greece was the biggest adventure, and through everything we experienced  from Athens to the Greek islands  I wouldn't have it any other way. Filled with beauty, surprises, twist and turns, ancient ruins, wine tours, rich culture, Greek music and dancing, gyros and feta, Greece has made its mark on our hearts and we sure can't wait for our next trip together soon! Thanks for tuning in!

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