Friday, September 19, 2008

Trip to Greece, Part II: Santorini

Read Part I: Crete
Read Part III: Athens
View all images in my gallery

[Warning: another image-laden post ahead!]

Although we had a wonderful time in Crete, we were eager to head to the island of Santorini (AKA Thira), which is famous for its breathtaking views. Seriously... it did not disappoint.

view of the caldera

Thousands of years ago, a giant volcanic explosion transformed Santorini from a round island into something akin to a crescent, which surrounds a caldera filled with water. The view out over the caldera was almost surreal, like being inside a giant painted dome. The island itself is quite small, and it seemed like every step we took revealed a more beautiful view of the cliffs and the blue water.


We stayed at a hotel called the Santorini Princess. It was so gorgeous, and everyone there was very attentive (almost to a fault!) It was much quieter than our hotel in Crete, and there weren't really any kids around.

Santorini Princess

Once we got settled in our room, we went to the hotel restaurant for lunch. They started us off with little crispy breads and dips, which they said were made with "Philadelphia cheese".

breads and dips

Of course, we had to get the spanakopita. It was wonderful.

spanakopita

Then some really delicious meatballs and a sausage casserole:

meatballs in sauce

sausage casserole

And finally, the Santorini Sensation, that I used as the inspiration for cupcakes!

Santorini Sensation

That night, we experienced our first Santorini sunset, and it was GORGEOUS. Everything kind of stops around this time of day and people just kind of stand there and watch the sky. Even the people who live on the island stop to enjoy it.

sunset with moon

The next day, we walked from our hotel to the main city of Fira. (Of course, it took much longer than it should have, because I kept taking photos the whole way ;) ) On the way, we stopped at Remvi Restaurant for a snack. It wasn't the best, but pretty tasty.

Requisite bread:

bread

Followed by eggplant dip and more spanakopita.

eggplant dip

spanakopite

After that, we finally got to Fira, and A. immediately downed two gyros while I was drooling over the dessert cases.

gyro #1

gyro #2

dessert case

Check out the biggest gyro meat hunk ever:

gyro spits

We then stopped into a grocery store just to see if it was very different from our own. There was a lot of fresh produce, including white eggplant, a Greek specialty, and figs. Although most things were pretty similar, the cheese selection was like a gourmet shop here in the states.

grapes

white eggplant

figs

The weird things included the eggs not being refrigerated, and the huge selection of boxed wine.

eggs

that's good boxed wine

We went to the Taverna Nikolas for dinner, as recommended by our Lonely Planet guidebook. It tasted pretty much like diner food -- solid, tasty, not taking any chances. We got the moussaka, which was easily the most filling thing we ate on the entire trip!

moussaka

After dinner, we watched the sunset at Tropical Bar, which actually had an American bartender and some good beers. The view was gorgeous, and so was my vodka pineapple.

drink at Tropical Bar

I couldn't pass up the opportunity for some gelato -- this is stracciatella.

drink at Tropical Bar

The next day, we headed to Oia, the city which gives Santorini its whitewashed image. It was beautiful and quaint.

Oia

I enjoyed a refreshing frappe and did some more dessert case drooling.

frappe

dessert case in Oia

The sunset in Oia was spectacular!

Oia sunset

I persuaded A. to let me get some dessert to bring back to the hotel! Victory :)

blueberry cake

On our last day in Santorini, we went snorkeling during the day and relaxed at the hotel afterwards. A. decided to try some Metaxa, a brandy that is advertised everywhere in Greece. Reactions were unfavorable.

that's bad Metaxa

Our last dinner was basically 4 courses of delicious cheese. The most spectactular of the dishes was this cheese flambe, served here by our favorite waiter, Igor. (Forgive the blurry pic!)

cheese flambe

And with that, our Santorini adventure was over. Luckily, we still had a couple of days left to spend in Athens... stay tuned for the last installment! :)

By the way -- if anyone knows what kind of flower this is, let me know!! :) I think it is adorable!

mystery flower

11 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

I'm awestruck by these photographs, oh my goodness.

Cheryl said...

:kicks, screams, throws tantrum and then pouts:

*I* want to go to Greece! Wah!

What absolutely gorgeous pictures!!!!!

kim said...

thanks!! :) @cheryl, i hope you get to go there sometime, it was such a great trip!

Barbit said...

That flower looks like lantana. The pics are WONDERFUL, Kim!! It reminds me of the trip we took back in '04. Santorini was my favorite island by far! Did you try the raisin wine or visit the vineyards? I thought that was pretty cool.

Isa said...

WOOOOOOOW! Santorini looks AMAZING... I mean, part because your pictures are great, but the food and those landscapes have to get some credit too...
I really wish I could go there!

Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer said...

Santorini was by far one of the most beautiful places that I have seen - the sunsets were amazing especially the pilgrimage to view them! that was fun - thanks for sharing and for the great memories.

Kimmie said...

I have always wanted to go to Santorini and seeing these pictures pretty much seals it for me! Your pics are absolutely amazing, did you have a special camera?

kim said...

@barb, YAY, lantana ;) thank you!! i looked it up on wikipedia, and i guess it's actually a weed... a pretty weed, anyway :)
we didn't get to go to the vineyards since we only had a few days there, but we drove past them... definitely on our list for next time, we enjoyed the vineyard in crete!

so glad you are all enjoying the pics! @kimmie, i have a canon 30d.

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Awesome! I went to Greece last Fall. It was amazing! I have some of the pictures in my Flickr set.

ayşegül said...

i really want to go to santorini this year, possibly via turkey...the photos look amazing!

Lara said...

This gives me more and more reason to go to Greece!

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