Wednesday, June 22, 2016

3 Santorini Sunsets!

I've learned a lesson traveling: I need a combination of adventure and relaxation, both. 
Being constantly on the run isn't a vacation - it's work. 
And staying tethered to a single place, well, the opportunity costs are much too high.
So whenever I plan a trip, I include tons of new sites (adventure) but tuck in 2-3 days at a "home base" (relaxation). Our home base in Greece? The place I'd always dreamt of going that inspired this whole trip: Santorini!
 We rode donkeys up the hill in Fira, wobbling all over those steep cobbled steps! If I'd known just how far those poor donkeys had to trek up that hill, I wouldn't have done it.

 The sweet donkey that Lorelei and I rode.
 First thing we hit? Perisses beach, famous for its black volcanic sand. It was gorgeous.
 And I just got to soak in time with my favorite people in the entire world.
 We built a serious trench.
 And climbed the rocks.
Lorelei the mermaid on a rock, living up to her siren name!
 Later we explored Fira. This is the inside of the Catholic Church. It doesn't match the beauty of the Orthodox Church, but it was the one that allowed pictures.

 More of Fira.

 Yes. Sometimes our kids run with sticks. Don't judge.

 Our first sunset over the Santorini islands. No filter.
 We left Santorini with the cruise, and came back on a ferry for our actual stay-over. We loved our Oia Sunset hotel, right in central Oia (the gem of the island).
Our room's the one on the right overlooking the pool.
We were steps away from this gorgeous church in Oia's central square.
 Let's soak in more of Oia, the stunning northern tip of Santorini. Shall we?

 Our second Santorini sunset!
Loved the little shops tucked into the caldera, especially this one, all piled in icons.
Outside the shop.

 "No more pictures, Mom!"
 I couldn't resist. Oia was dripping with beauty around every corner, especially after the cruise ships cleared out.  During hot midday, this place is swarming with hordes of tourists. Not my idea of fun, though I can't blame them for storming the island. But each morning and night, the lost island of Atlantis was ours!

Pure tranquility!
 Photo overload, I know... but it was dreamy!

 We spent time playing games and climbing trees.

 And walked 297 steps down the caldera and then back again for a swim to a small volcanic island.

 Lorelei didn't have much fun. She scraped up her knees on all the rocks.
But by lunch she was happy, trying on my souvenir earrings.
This was my favorite hangout, Atlantis Books, run by some ex-pats (the one I met was from Belgium).
#1 book store in the world, according to National Geographic.
They were so right!
I bought a Greek cookbook, expensive but highly recommended.
I also left the island with a donkey bell souvenir but didn't snap a photo. We use it every night to call the family to the dinner table. Gryffy's usually the ceremonial bell-ringer.
 Now this was an experience! I made a huge scene when I plunged my feet in, unable to contain my giggles - those little guppies really tickled!

 Our third Santorini sunset, from our own secluded little spot.
 And as we awaited our ferry back to the mainland, the Celebrity Constellation cruise ship was docked in port - our honeymoon cruise! (This ship was also in Scandinavia three years ago, when we were there. It follows us around.)
Good-bye gorgeous Santorini!

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