. They were Canadian, but the girl was Greek, spoke Greek, and had been here several times. They loaded us up with information while we ate - Jose taking a ton of notes! The best info they gave us though was to rent an ATV for our stay on the island. It turns out this was the best advice they could have given, since the island is quite spread out and the buses have a litlte bit of wait times. They also introduced us to Frappes - kind of like frappuchinos, but better! Iced Coffee with a ton of froth...mmmm...delicious!!! After breakfast, we immediately headed over to the ATV/scooter rental shop and found that an ATV was quite cheap. So we strapped on our backpacks to the bag and decided to forget about the bus. This was way more fun!!!
After a few wrong turns, we thought we were finally headed in the direction of Perissa...unfortunately, there seemed to be a big mountain in the way. We kept climbing, up and up and up...the poor little ATV was really struggling! We kept telling it "I think I can, I think I can...." as it slowly climbed! When we finally got the top of the peak, we realized we must have made a wrong turn somewhere! At the top was an army base, of all things!! The view was incredible, but there was no road down to the other side to where Perissa (and our hotel) was! Oops!! So, after that nice long detour.....we headed back down and found the road that went AROUND.....and finally made our way into the town of Perissa
. Perissa is a black sand beach that is a little off the beaten path, but quite beautiful. Our hotel turned out to be the best deal we've had on the trip. It was about a block (a 2 second ATV drive) away from the beach, on a quiet road, and was the typical Greek white with blue trim. And the pool was GORGEOUS!!! Our room was quite nice too - and the owners of this place were SUPER nice. We hung out by the pool for a little bit drinking more frappes and then we headed over to Perissa Beach. Across the street from the beach were tons of little restaurant/bars that all had service to umbrella chairs on the black sand. We settled in, Jose obsessed with reading his book, and me enjoying the sun. I also found a great little Hammock a bit down the beach and spent some time rocking away in the breeze. I LOVE THIS PLACE!!!! The actual beach was quite interesting too - the black sand was SO hot it was absolutely impossible to walk barefoot. You have to wear your flip flops to the waters edge and then leave them there, or else you will burn!!! Once inside the water, I was anxious to jump in, as it was nice and cool.....but after my first step I felt like I was ice skating! Underneath the water it was one, big smooth rock! And it was SUPER slippery! It was hilarious watching everyone try to get in the water - you slip, slide, and fall every step of the way! It felt great though - we spent a few hours just hanging out here, and then jumped back on the ATV to head to the beach on the other side of the mountain - Kamari I think it was called
It was just as beautiful, with the huge rocks jutting into the ocean on each side and tons of restaurants lining the boardwalk. We were starving by this point and decided to grab an early dinner while we people watched. The food was great - the best Moussaka I've had!!!! And the Greek salads here are AMAZING! The veggies are so fresh!!! After dinner, we walked around for a little bit, where I found the cutest little boutique with bathing suits and dresses, and I proceeded to drive Jose crazy trying on everything in the store! I finally ended up with a new bathing suit, but I wish I had more money and wan't leaving Miami!!! They had such cute sandals and dresses!!!
Anyway, by this point the sun was starting to set - and the couple this morning had told us we HAD to watch the sun set in Ios - or Ois - the name is confusing. So we hopped back on the ATV and headed up the winding, cliffside roads to the otherside of the island. It was the most beautiful drive!!!! ATV's fortunately don't go very fast either, so it was easy to enjoy the scenery! Jose found his way up some random road, and we ended up at an overlook of the entire edge of the island with the sun setting over it, and a view of where the volcano was centered (it's called the "Caldera"). It was one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen
. After a few minutes of soaking up the view and taking several pictures, Jose spotted what looked like a little cafe nestled in the cliffside buildings. After a little hiking around, we ended up at a small boutique hotel. I was a little nervous - feeling like we probably shouldn't be there...but lucky for us, the hotel owner came out and was SO nice! She let us sit down on one of the tables outside to finish watching the sunset and poured us some drinks. It turns out this is a teeny tiny hotel - only 11 rooms, but it looks great! There are stone walls winding around the cliffside and you can see both sides of the island, as it is just about at the highest point. The white buildings with their blue trim and the bright blue swimming pools made for a gorgeous setting!!! We sat up there for a long time until it was dark just enjoying it! We took the brochure for the hotel - I definitely want to come back and stay here! A little pricey - but SO nice!! And the people are even nicer!!!
So after dark, we hopped back on the ATV and made our way back to Perissa...got a little lost again, but we are learning our way around....the island isn't THAT big after all! After a quick shower, we headed to out to the bars on Perissa Beach, and ended up at a cute little Biergarden. In Miami, this place would have been super expensive - it was so trendy and gorgeous! But it was fairly empty and luckily pretty cheap
! We grabbed some seats and drinks, and Jose being Jose started chatting with another nearby couple. We were getting along so well that after a bit, they pulled up their chairs and joined us. It was a couple from England, from just south of London. They were really nice - just off for a 2 week vacation in the islands. After a few beers, Jose and the guy settled in for some games of pool, which was pretty entertaining. They were both good, but of couse Jose pulled off the wins!!
Anyway, after a long night of drinks, pool, and hanging out with the cool couple (the girl's name was Heidi...and Mom, she LOOKED like Heidi!! I found the real Heidi!), we headed back around the corner to the hotel....exhausted! Good night everyone!!!
Andrea & Jose
So this morning, we finally arrived in Santorini - managing to get off at the Correct island this time! Santorini is absolutely GORGEOUS!!! It was formed from a volcano, and it is a very steep, mountainous island, with absolutely beautiful views of the sea and the rocks. Anyways, so the moment we got off the ship, we entered the craziness of the port. It's a pretty small area, since there is only one road away from the port that leads to the island. We had booked a room in Perissa, but everyone at the Port told us we had to take the bus to Fira first. So we hopped on the bus and began the steep climb up to the top of Santorini. The views were absolutely incredible, and the weather here is so perfect. This truly is paradise!!! The bus dropped us off in Fira, and we learned that the bus for Perissa wasn't for another hour - so we decided to grab some breakfast in town while we waited. We got very lucky though, because as soon as we ordered and sat down, a couple sat down next to us and they were very friendly