Santorini - We found heaven

Trip Start Apr 25, 2010
Trip End May 18, 2010

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Flag of Greece  , Cyclades,
Monday, May 10, 2010

Our flight to Santorini was scheduled for 11am and as we had decided to try the Metro all the way to the airport this morning, we need to leave by 8am to allow any room for late trains etc. We changed stations after the first stop and by doing this it saved us the $10 euro taxi fare that we paid the first time.  All was going well and we sat back for the next half hour trip to the airport when the train arrived at a station and everyone got off, except for all the tourists with luggage and then all the lights of the carriage went out.  A lovely Greek lady, who didn't speak any English, motioned that we were to get off and wait for the next train.  Ok, we didn’t realise this but certainly weren’t the only ones.  The next train arrives and we all get back on, only for the same thing to happen again.  So 15 minutes later a train arrives with little airplanes on its windows and this is our train.  It’s also peak hour traffic and very difficult to secure a seat, which we finally get with only 2 stops to go.

Yesterday I decided to do internet check in for our flight and was shocked when I was able to change our seats from row 17 to row 1 – God I’m good. 

After a very quick flight of 30 minutes from Athens to Santorini, we land, grab our bags and walk out to our Hotel minivan.  Ok now this morning having breakfast in our Athens hotel, I notice a couple that were Aussies (not hard to pick), then next they were in our carriage going to the airport, then I notice them next to us checking in with the same airline, so I strike up a conversation and a chat about our holidays.  They have been messed around by the volcano and a train strike in Paris and had to chop out a big chunk of their trip.  We say goodbyes and that was that.  When we arrive in Santorini there is a sign for our apartment transfers with our surname and also McMullen.  I joke with Andrew that I bet it’s the other Aussie couple.  Well sure enough it is for them.  Not only did we stay in the same hotel in Athens (out of hundreds) that we end up staying at the same place in Santorini (not only the same town when there are many others to choose from but the same hotel) unbelievable.

We are taken to the entrance to the apartments and it is a little street with a doorway saying Enigma Apartments.  You go through the doorway and stare at the most amazing view of the Caldera (opening left by volcano eruption) the water is a stunning blue.  The buildings are all on the side of the steepest cliffs and are white washed with touches of blues.  It is truly breathtaking.  We go down a couple of flights of stairs to our apartment and I have never seen anything so gorgeous before.  Our apartment is two levels with our bed in a loft overlooking the sitting and kitchen area but the true gem is the patio with the best view in the world.  We have a spa on our deck, which isn’t totally private but a bit more than a few other places, as nobody needs to walk past our room to get to theirs, yet we need to walk straight past the room next to ours, so bathers definitely on in this spa.  Don’t want to scare the locals!

Within minutes Andrew discovers the sound system and has Abba playing, he is now in the Greek Islands and is in his own little world of Mama Mia – to all of you that know and love him; you will understand where I am coming from here.  We open the wine that is in the fridge for us and sit out with our books and this view.  It isn’t easy concentrating on reading, as there are sail boats going past, oh and when you look to the left there are donkeys plodding up a steep trail, lugging the lazy to the top.  After taking a walk along the laneways, we discover that Santorini has a memorable smell of donkey pooh, oh well nothing is ever perfect, not even in Santorini heaven.  There are also gondolas to get you up to the top from the base of the Caldera, which look like a better option, I am sure they smell nicer.

We have made a booking at a restaurant a few doors down, which was recommended by the hotel.  It will probably cost a king’s ransom but for our first night here, we will go with what they suggested.  The booking is in time for sunset and is meant to be beautiful.  News Flash – Andrew is reading a book, he has kicked into holiday mode.  Oh and whilst I type this I can hear the bells of the donkeys and I look up to see them coming along the path in front of our apartments but when I take a photo, I discover that I have removed the memory card – bugger.  I will have to try again tomorrow night, as it appears the donkeys where on their way home for the night.

Our plans for here are to kick back and chill.  We would like to hire an ATV (4 wheel motorbike) and see the island.  There is also a clipper type ship that takes you to the volcano and then to the hot springs, so this might be a must whilst here.  Other than that it’s just a chance for us to unwind from a very busy but fantastic holiday so far.

Did I mention that I loved Athens?  It was really fun with the restaurants and the shopping.  It kind of reminded me of a Greek version of Phuket, with lots to see and do in regards to shop and food.  Also the people were really friendly and lots of fun, which I can’t say the same for the Italians.  They tended to be a little cold or too efficient, kind of just doing their job.

Oh and whilst I have 5 minutes, I have to comment on the smoking over here.  In each European country that we have been too, it has been shocking to see.  I will always remember Athens airport for the smell of the smoking areas – Yuk.  Outdoor cafe sitting means you will have no choice but to eat your meal with a smoker blowing there smoke all over you and your food (remember that tables are so close together that you could pinch a chip from there plate).  We were a minority not smoking and therefore couldn’t tell anyone to blow in the other direction, although we did to an American couple in Rome.  We figured that they couldn’t do it in their own country, so we told the old chook to move- it worked but wouldn’t like to try it with a European.  Andrew looked up the death rate for lung cancer to see which country wins and it was Croatia that had the highest death rate.  Europeans make it an Olympic sport to smoke.

We have just gotten back from dinner and watching the most amazingly beautiful sunset.  The meal was brilliant and after a jug of ouzo we came back to the apartment for a spa looking out onto the night lights on the Caldera – Heaven.
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Lesley Ambrose on

It looks absolutely fantastic... You and Andrew look so relaxed, and no wonder given where you are.

Lynda and Hannah on

Looks great! So much food!

plannette on

fantastic views and food it looks so blue and white. Just sounds like you are really hitting holiday mode now enjoy

czardas on

Hi, Just letting you know that we are looking forward to reading your travel pod. Safe journey to you both
Love G & A

shelley herbert on

your room looks fantastic!!!!!!!!! food yummy! and I am so happy for you both that despite the volcano and the smokers! (ex smoker that you are!) have not dampened your enthusiasm!!!! where to next??? thailand is lovely this time of year!!!!! maybe a short stopover about the 31st??? humm? c'mon you know you want to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

czardas on

Dear Miss Shelley, Yes you are right Thailand is a great idea, we must go! Hmm that's right we are going end of JULY. Change your dates girl, who cares about Tony and some silly boat show?

Belinda on

OH that is absolutely breathtaking, I love the Greek islands, it is just the most beautiful place, relax and enjoy.

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