Can you believe that view?! It's about 3 months too late, but I'm thrilled to share about the last leg of Eurotravanganza summer trip to England and Greece at last! Our high speed ferry from Crete on the the Hellenic Seaways, picked us up from Heraklion on Crete
and were were pleasantly surprised to find quite a luxurious interior.
Since the boat left early in the morning, I dozed while Walker took photos of the view.
As we approached the crescent of Santorini and pals in the early morning heat, the islands were swarmed with hot mist and it looked like they were capped with thick, white snow.
But as we rushed nearer, we saw white blocks of houses and blue pools set high on the cliffs like Legos.
Less than two hours after departing Crete, we pulled our luggage from the mammoth pile in the boat's belly and walked off to find our taxi driver waiting with bottled water and Bulgari (no kidding) hand wipes!
We arrived on the southwest side of the moony island (like a backwards C), and the zig-zag ascent up the side of the mountain only made me hold onto my armrest once or twice.
Santorini's shape comes from its history; a volcano rose in the center of the island thousands of years ago and when it collapsed, it created what is now called the Caldera, the bowl of glittering blue water cradled by the cliffs of the island that's miles wide.
A thick haze off the warm Aegean Sea always rises over the Caldera, making the colors of the sunset famously melt together like rainbow sherbet.
But I get ahead of myself. We drove up the cliffs to the plateau, where we went North through the main city of Fira (sometimes written Thira), through Imerovigli and on to our destination for the next 4 nights: Oia (pronounced "EE-uh"). Far and away, the welcome of the worn, white buildings was surpassed only by the hospitality of the islanders. We were met by Margarita and Kostas, our hosts at the Villa Katikies where we stayed, who gave us cool honey drinks and led us on a tour of the property.
Don't look dooowwwn! This was the view from the edge of the pool.
This stay was a highlight of the trip not only for the private balconies, but the hours Margarita spent planning out our days and meals with us. She helped us book our favorite day of the trip--a sail that I'll share in another post, and a fantastic wine tour. Each evening, we listed out what we'd like for breakfast: cheese plates, omelets, pastries, bacon, thick yogurt---and each morning we would wake to breakfast on our private deck with the most intense cobalt waters below. Far below.
We spent mornings at the pool and often ate lunch right there. They served crisp salads and fresh fish. And don't be fooled by the early-morning photos: the seats we always full!
In the afternoons, we walked for gelato at Lolita's (I had pink peppercorn and rose petal!), or to shop around. Pink and purple flowers and blue doors stand bright against the calcium-rubbed walls.
I was enamored with the white linen everywhere, and the pompom sandals with baubles up the ankles (can you see mine?!).
The town of Oia is walkable end-to-end in about 20 minutes.
Late into each night, the streets are jammed with dogs and people and the occasional donkey train--and everyone is looking one direction
toward that setting sun.
At night, the island twinkled and the peace of the sea below held up the islands' buoyant lights even brighter.
Just a few quick details about our stay in Oia!
Villa Katikies is part of a 5-hotel group, giving us the incredible luxury of services and meals at other properties.
Seltz (at Katikies) served sushi and salads that looked like paintings.
Mikrasia was our favorite of all the meals we had on Santorini, also in Katikies. They served traditional Byzantine cuisine that had a touch of what we'd consider Middle Eastern food with the Greek faves and octopus. I had a local chicken meatball soup. This was the view!
You can almost tell here, but everywhere on the island was steep, and even though I walk hundreds of steps a week in NYC, I was still puffing just to get out the 6 flights from our hotel room to the street above.
I also had a massage at the Kirini hotel, a perk of being a sister hotel, which was delightful and I smelled like frangipani all day.
In the next few posts, I'll share about a few more stops on Santorini--Amoudi Bay and Imerovigli--and our favorite day of the entire trip sailing that crazy blue water.
Kalinychta (good night)!