Sunday, 30 September 2012

Santorini ~ Part Deux

When we decided to return to Santorini, one of the things we knew we had to do again was make the walk from our hotel to the main town of Fira.  After another delicious and filling breakfast, we set out on the path that runs along the sea and through the villages of Imerovigli and Firostefani and has more photo taking opportunities than we have hard drive space for on our computer!  It was hot and humid that day and with all the stops along the way to click that camera button again and again, it took us almost an hour and a half to get to Fira.  Unfortunately, there were 3 cruise ships in port that day and the town was crawling with wall to wall day trippers.  Den and I have always thought that cruising was not for us and watching all those people rush around, trying to see one of the most beautiful spots on earth in their allocated time and waiting in line for up to 2  hours to catch the cable car back down the mountain convinced us more than ever.  We are really into slow travel mode and like to take the time to stay a while, get to know the people, culture (and food) of the places we visit. Doing 7 countries in as many days is really not our style.

We still had a great day in Fira and enjoyed lunch at Lucky's, THE place for souvlaki on Santorini.  Not much more to say that these pictures can't say better:

those evil cruise ships!

We retreated to our hotel by taxi around 2:30 and got ready for our private jacuzzi session and massages, compliments of the generous Anastasis staff.  Totally relaxed, we enjoyed another beautiful sunset (Den actually sat and just watched it tonight, so no pictures, but I was so happy to have him by my side for the whole thing, lol).

We had dinner reservations at Simos Taverna, again in Firostefani.  We sat on their roof terrace and enjoyed another fresh, simple and delicious dinner of Greek traditional dishes ~ fried tomato balls (we just love these), stuffed eggplant, grilled baby squid and freshly caught and grilled sea bass.  A Fix for Den and some house white wine for me completed the meal and we were back in our room by 10pm for an early night.  Tomorrow is our last full day already!

getting my massage

Thursday morning is another bright, sunny and warm day.  The hotel has arranged for a taxi to take us to Oia, the beautiful town on the tip of Santorini. We wander the tiny streets and cliff top roads most of the morning and Den is in all his camera snapping glory.  We happen upon a Kissing Fish salon ~ I've read about these on the internet and we were surprised to find one right here in Santorini.  You put your feet into tanks of water filled with tiny fish, who nibble away at the dead skin on your little tootsies!  Den was game for it right away, but I took a bit of convincing.  Ultimately, I couldn't pass up such a unique experience and once I got over the initial yuck factor, it was actually fun and relaxing.  It's like a tickling sensation, but seeing those little buggers sucking away on your skin does take some getting used to!

Feeling refreshed after our "pedicure", we start our trek towards Ammoudi Bay, way below Oia.  We have to go down almost 300 steps, many covered in donkey poop (!) but the reward is lunch at Dimitri's Taverna, with a table literally inches from the clear water of the bay.  We order dolmadakia (stuffed vine leaves), spicy cheese spread, grilled octopus and fried calamari.  YUM!  The beer and white wine go down very easily and we ask the sweet (Canadian) owner to call us a taxi back to the hotel since we know we just can't manage those 300 steps back up to Oia.

pomegranate tree

Ammoudi Bay, way down below Oia


watching out for donkey poop!

Den's toes hanging over our table

now that's a lobster!

We had an hour private jacuzzi session on Anastasis' rooftop reserved tonight to watch our last Santorini sunset.  It was probably the most beautiful yet, with wispy clouds backlit by the setting sun.

We had dinner reservations at Argo for our last night ~ we had a wonderful dinner there last year to celebrate Den's birthday and we had always planned to go back and end our Greek journey at Argo's.  Unfortunately, nature had other plans for me that night.  When we got back to the room to get ready for dinner, I wasn't feeling well and I just got worse as the evening progressed.  Den called to cancel our reservation (damn it) and then, well, no details, but it wasn't a good night (a long one, but definitely not a good one).  When Despina learned that I had been sick all night, she arranged to have a room available for us so I could rest during the day while Den continued to enjoy all the hotel facilities.  Our flight to Athens was at 8pm and I spend most of the day sleeping.  I got up around 4 and we packed and went to thank the staff for their kindness and generosity. I was still feeling pretty shaky, so we spend the rest of our time laying on the loungers, taking in the caldera vista for the last time.  I felt so badly for Den since he missed out on his most longed for meal, as well as spending his last day making sure I was OK, instead of what we had initially planned to do, which was go to Kamari for the day so he could go back to the Blue Monkey shop he had found so many great shirts at last year.

After hugs and last goodbyes, our transfer was here to drive us to the Santorini airport.  A short 40 minute flight later, we were in Athens and checked into the Sofitel Athens airport hotel.  We went to bed early as I was still feeling weak, and the night was not kind, my friends.  (on the bright side, I'm only up 2 pounds from all that eating and drinking we did over 2 weeks, so there's always a silver lining, lol).

We were back at the Athens airport by 9:30 Saturday morning, where I finally got something for my upset stomach at a pharmacy.  Let me tell you, 10 hours on a plane, even when you are feeling fine, is a pretty long time.  10 hours when you're sick is an eternity.  We landed in Montreal about 3pm and got to Danielle and Paul's about 3 hours later for a quick dinner (of which I didn't eat much) and lots of hugs from Seb and smiles from Charlie. We struggled to stay up until 8:30 last night (which is 2:30am Greek time) and I slept like a baby.  Den got up at 2:30 this  morning due to the jetlag but I lasted until 6:30.  We spent the day getting back to normal, doing groceries and laundry, having a great birthday dinner (Den on the 29th and Paul on the 28) at Danielle and Paul's (bacon mac and cheese, yum) and trying to get used to Canadian fall temperatures after spending 2 weeks enjoying hot, sunny Greek Island weather.

So another trip has come and gone.  We made the decision to go back to Greece right after we got back last year, I booked our flights and our hotels in January, and the long countdown began.  As you can tell, we had another trip filled with special moments and unique experiences, great food and wine, meeting truly wonderful people, unbelievable sights and even a little adversity.  Travel is such a big part of our lives and the planning is such a big part of our travel, lol (well, for me anyways). 

For the first time in a while, I don't have the next trip planned.  I have lots of ideas (and I know where Den wants to go) but I don't feel I can make any long term plans right now.  My job gives me the flexibility to travel and my biggest dilemma is what's more important to me ~ having the ability to travel as much as I want or having a job I truly love. I really wish I could stop thinking about this, but I can't.  In the meantime, once again, I am so grateful and blessed to have shared this time with my hubby of 30 years.  He is my soulmate, we can be together for 15 days and not need anyone else's company, we like to do, see and eat the same things, he takes many, many pictures (which I'm always happy about once we're home and I watch them over and over again) and he just wants me to be happy.  Me too.......que sera, sera...........