Greece – Santorini

Continuing from the previous post on Athens we have made our way to Santorini. Needless to say, we’re a broken bunch of people after having woken up 6-7 times throughout the night and being forced into sleeping in various places and positions that are probably not good for you. I could have kissed Stelio’s bald head when I saw him in the parking lot, the owner of the hotel we were about to stay at. I was even excited to get in the car! I love land.

Santorini is a bit of a sleepy town. It is early when we arrive but the blanket of warmth and good vibes are like a sedative to your body, telling it that it’s okay to sleep for an hour or five more. Our rooms aren’t ready for another four hours, but Stelio’s welcomes us to the rest of the hotel lounging area. Check it out.Photo May 03, 6 59 28 AMWe get a really good feed at a bakery Stelio’s pointed out earlier. I finally get a moussaka pie that is remarkably tasty and I tell the old lady who runs it that it is so. It is here that Agnes and I climb into the blue deck chairs by the pool and snooze for a couple of hours. Jordan manages a swim and later I do too. The water is ice cold but combined with the strength of the sun, every stroke I swim brings feeling back into my body. Swimming outdoors again is delicious.Photo May 03, 8 06 43 AMOnce our stuff is thrown into our rooms, we speed off to the beach. Volcanic activity renders the beaches here at Perissa to be the colour of ash. The black sand is rough between the toes and extremely hot under the sun, as Agnes pointed out. Dotted near the waters are deck chairs colored in the theme of whatever restaurant that owns them. We pick one with wifi and a decent selection of cocktails (orange juice for me) and snuggle in with our island in the sun.

P1010477-2It is common practice for tourists to rent ATVs in Santorini as a means to get around. However after the misfortune of yours truly leaving her Malaysian licence back home (I mean, who would really believe in the laminated piece of paper anyway?) and Agnes’s licence expiring less than a month ago, we had no choice but to rent a car or wait for the bus. And having observed the frequency of the bus routes earlier, I think we made the right choice. Huge thanks to Jordan for allowing even this to be possible as he is the only competent person of us three to have a present and working licence. Getting some kind of vehicle rented really is the best way to get around and see most of the island. It cost us around 40 Euros for 2 days and slightly under 20 Euros for gas.

I’m not sure if this is a testament to how laid back life in Santorini is but moments after the guy at the counter reminds us to not damage the car, the man driving our car pulls up with it unceremoniously dashing one of the side view mirrors into the store’s plastic roadside advertisement. He does this completely unfazed, the only indication that he even realised that he had done this is the fact that he circled it off when checking for damages prior to handing us the keys.

Our first stop in our little blue Hyundai is Fira, the capital of Santorini. Tracking down a specific restaurant in Santorini is hard because there are no street names. The best you can do is locate which of the cities it belongs to, the rest is up to your GPS and/or communication skills with the locals. Thankfully Nikolas’s Tavern is well known among the locals. Craving some fresh seafood we had done some prior research looking for fresh catches of the day at an affordable price. There aren’t any photos of the venue as its pretty no frills and probably one of the rare restaurants to not have an incredible ocean view. Nikolas’s Tavern is located in the heart of a knot of pathways within Thira, sandwiched by some gift shops and close-ish to an Irish pub. Those are the best directions I can give you.

P1010481-1Our starters are the ever faithful Greek renown tzatziki and fava (a Greek take on hummus apparently) plus the complimentary olives which all go amazing with the bread. Not featured are the tomatokeftedes, tomato balls that are a Santorini specialty.

P1010482-1 Agnes’s swordfish souvlaki is firm with a smoky aftertaste which surprisingly does not render the fish dry.P1010484-2 Jordan’s stuffed squid is a mouthful of rice and other vegetables that are texturally distinct to the springy squid.P1010485-3 My I-cannot-remember-the-name-of-this-fish, is seasoned and grilled in a no nonsense fashion allowing the freshness of the catch to shine through.

Photo May 03, 5 23 47 PM copyOur hopes to catch a Santorini sunset are dashed for both days we are here due to the clouds. Incidentally it got quite chilly towards the evening as the wind picked up speed.

Photo May 04, 4 23 05 PM copyIf there had to be an edge to the world I would like one of it to be Santorini. An island almost pure white with an every day life that goes back to the basics of the way things used to be. You wake up peacefully, eat peacefully, shit peacefully, sleep peacefully and above all else you hope to die peacefully.

TranquiloThe next day’s lunch was at Tranquilo. Our meals here have been some of the most amazing meals I have had in Europe so far, props to Jordan for discovering this online. We ended up coming back again the next day, I really think that our trip to Santorini would definitely not have been what it was without this place.

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P1010508-9Three seconds after this shot was taken I nudged into the Veggie Tower trying to take a photo of Jordan’s salad and the entire thing just collapsed. I thankfully didn’t lose any pieces (god forbid the ginormous portobello mushroom) but all of that sauce thing just went splat onto the floor :(((( P1010512-1This place is famous for their XXL salads and  by no exaggeration they are HUGE. Agnes’s tabbouleh was fully sick bro.P1010514-2Jordan’s pear and nuts salad has the totally misleading name of Pear and Nuts, it really has so much more like huge chunks of gorgonzola and bits of bacon if you’re into that sort of thing.

P1010500-3P1010538-1 Food the second time when we came back, Agnes’s mushroom risotto.P1010539-2Jordan’s mussels paella.P1010541-3Me being the one who missed out on an XXL salad the day before ends up getting the largest salad on the menu. The Mexicana has poached chicken, corn chips, beans and an infinite amount of lettuce and cheese.

We do a couple more drives around the island, stopping at the red beach and some traditional Greek villages.P1010519-1

We also drive up to the highest point of Santorini, as close as we can get without endangering ourselves to whatever is the reason for the ‘Caution: Radioactive’ signs up above.P1010520-2

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Santorini was definitely the most relaxed I’ve been on any of my holidays around Europe. It also isn’t actually our last stop, so queue another ridiculous string of connections to get back home to Stockholm. We catch a speed cruise (2-hour delay) from Santorini to Crete, a bus to Chania, taxi to the hostel, bunk into a hostel for a night and then a car ride and bus to Chania airport for our flight to Skavsta. To which we then catch another bus and a train, our usual drill to get back to Lappis. I really enjoyed Athens, and Santorini basically made Greece my favourite trip in Europe. Despite the nightmare of getting there I am glad we went and I would go back in a heartbeat though I will never ever get on a Greek cruise liner again.

As I don’t have any other plans to travel for the remainder of my time here in Sweden this is possibly my last travel post. What will the fate of this blog be after that? Will it join the ranks of all the other blogs I have abandoned? And will I ever stop procrastinating from doing my court brief? These pressing questions in life. Who knows.

samanthawxlow

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