Saturday, 1 October 2011

Den's Birthday and the Anasatsis Experience!

On Thursday morning, my husband woke up and started his 51st year in one of the most beautiful places on earth!  We were served another delicious breakfast on the terrace and then we got ready to take the bus to Oia.  Although the bus came very quickly, it was full to the brim and there was no way one more person was squeezing onto that bus. We went back to the hotel where they arranged for a taxi to come and get us and twenty minutes later, we were in beautiful Oia.

Oia sits at the tip of the island and is full of little twisty streets, more beautiful Greek churches with the bright blue domes and some of the best gourmet restaurants on the island, as well as more shopping and cafes and bars than you could ever try.

We spent about 2 hours just taking it all in, stepping into little boutiques and art galleries and Den took many, many pictures of are some of them:

We made the long trek down to Ammoudi Bay for lunch ~ it's about 260 steps down and be careful where you walk~ there's donkey poop everywhere!  Sometimes I don't miss not having a sense of smell, lol.  We saw some of the poor beasts near the bottom of the steps ~ people take these animals up and down these steps as well as from the port in Fira up to the main square.  I've read in several places that the donkeys are overworked and mistreated, and I could see how tired and sad they looked.

We took a waterside table at Taverna Dimitri's (and when I say waterside, you are literally inches from the sea ~ don't back up that chair or you will be swimming with the fishes, lol).  The taverna is owned by a Canadian woman from Vancouver who has been here for 24 years ~ I told her that we hated her, but not to take it personally, lol.

We had a wonderful lunch of spicy cheese spread, fried tomato balls (I will dream about these back home), grilled octopus and fried calamari.  It was all very fresh and delicious and the view wasn't bad either!

After lunch, we thought we would take a taxi back up to Oia since I didn't want to walk the donkey poop trail back up.  We couldn't find one so we ended up walking back up the road that cars would come down to get to the bay.  It was quite the upwards climb in the hot sun, but we made it and I really wasn't worried about whatever calories I ate that day!

We walked around Oia a little longer and took the bus back to Anastasis around 4pm.  We had our refreshing iced coffees (or frappes as they call them) on the deck and enjoyed the pool and the cool breezes and sunshine.  At 6:15, the front desk called to let us know we could make our way to the private rooftop jacuzzi for tonight's sunset.  Each guest of the hotel is entitled to one night of this luxury and I had made sure to book it for Den's birthday.  We then spend the next hour in awe over mother nature's mastery of art and colour ~ we can take all the pictures we want but there really is no way to capture what these sunsets truly look like ~ you will just have to come and see for yourselves one day!

About halfway through our time in the jacuzzi, the staff surprised us by coming up with balloons, cake and champagne and singing Happy Birthday in Greek to Den.  We were so touched by this gesture, it's just another example of the level of service we have experienced here at Anastasis.  We ended our hour by just watching the remainder of the sunset and reflecting on how truly blessed we are. 

After a truly magical hour, we made our way back to our room to shower and get ready for dinner.  But the magic still continued..........our room was lit up with tealights, there were balloons all around the bed and a "birthday cake" made of towels with a beautiful birthday card signed by all the staff on the bed!  We were so touched by all the time and care they spent to ensure Den had a wonderful birthday.  

As hard as it was to drag ourselves from our room, our wonderful concierge had made reservations at a terrace restaurant in Fira to celebrate Den's birthday and also arranged transportation for us.  Dinner was at Argo's on the cliffs of Fira and it was one of the most delicious meals we have ever eaten.  We had a great table on one of their little side terraces, very private and spacious.  There was a wedding going on on their highest terrace with a wonderful live band which added to our festive atmosphere.  We started with a few of the local specialties, fava spread and white eggplant stuffed with feta.  Both were so good, very fresh and the fava has an earthy taste that I could eat over and over again.

Den ordered the signature dish of Argos ~ shrimp pasta in a honey sauce, which he absolutely adored.  The sauce was slightly sweet but in a very good way.  My dish was a beautifully presented stuffed calamari with wild rice ~ one of the most stunning plates I have ever seen.  It was perfectly grilled on the outside and tender and moist on the inside.  Just a fantastic dish.  We had a great bottle of Santorini rose and sat and enjoyed our meal while looking at the stars and the lights of Fira and listening to some cool music while watching a lucky couple start their lives in one of the most spectacular places on earth.

We finished off our evening by walking around Thira all lit up like a birthday cake (fitting, don't you think?) and were back at our hotel a little past midnight.  So happy birthday, my loving husband, and let's see if you can ever top this day, lol!

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