Read Part I: Crete
Read Part III: Athens
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[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.
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.
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".
Of course, we had to get the spanakopita. It was wonderful.
Then some really delicious meatballs and a sausage casserole:
And finally, the Santorini Sensation, that I used as the inspiration for cupcakes!
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.
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.
Followed by eggplant dip and more spanakopita.
After that, we finally got to Fira, and A. immediately downed two gyros while I was drooling over the dessert cases.
Check out the biggest gyro meat hunk ever:
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.
The weird things included the eggs not being refrigerated, and the huge selection of 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!
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.
I couldn't pass up the opportunity for some gelato -- this is stracciatella.
The next day, we headed to Oia, the city which gives Santorini its whitewashed image. It was beautiful and quaint.
I enjoyed a refreshing frappe and did some more dessert case drooling.
The sunset in Oia was spectacular!
I persuaded A. to let me get some dessert to bring back to the hotel! Victory :)
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.
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!)
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!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Read Part I: Crete