I haven’t written a proper travel-related post in a while and that’s because I don’t travel as much as I did when I was living in Europe anymore (COVID aside). The other reason is I don’t have as much free time as I did when I was a grad student. However, there are hundreds of GBs of photos in my hard-drive that remind me of how much I enjoyed travelling without the burdens of having to pay a mortgage, heh.
There was one destination that I really wanted to write about and that was Greece. Even though I don’t go as in-depth about each destination as I did during my early blogging days, I still want to write about Greece, especially Santorini. In September 2017, I attended the European Society of Biomaterials conference in Athens, but dropped by Santorini for two days prior to the conference. It was one of those trips that from time to time would just pop up in my mind, not because of how amazing the scenery was – and it was amazing. The main reason I enjoyed this trip so much was because of my companion, TK, who I feel like is a younger version of me with very similar personalities. We understood each other very well and our styles of travel were so complementary that it just felt super comfortable being around her. We could both be super touristy and take a million photos in front of landmarks, or we could both just sit and write for an hour without talking to each other and be totally fine with it. I was so glad to have found the perfect travel buddy, and I miss her loads!
TK and I stayed in Fira on the island of Santorini during our stay and took the bus that brought us around to different villages and points of interest on the island. The main destination was of course Oia, which was famous for its sunset. This is Oia viewed from a distance, with its iconic white architecture dotted with pastel-coloured buildings.
A closer look at Oia, this being one of those postcard points of view. The church with the three blue domes is a landmark that most tourists visit in Oia and can be seen right in front of us. Heading there next…
…and here it is. Well, one of the three blue domes, with the deep blue Aegean Sea as the backdrop.
As we had almost the entire afternoon in Oia, TK and I took our time wandering around the narrow streets and alleys, getting lost more than just once or twice. But every corner you turn offers you a new view, whether it’s of the sea or the local residential area or a new landmark of some sort. We tried to get “off the beaten path” but every path on Oia seemed to be the beaten path…!
Lunch! Actually we had lunch in Fira before we headed to Oia that day, at a restaurant called “Salt and Pepper” that TK found before we arrived. The lady that runs the restaurant was so friendly and talkative! She told us about Santorini from the point of view of a local and introduced us to the food at her restaurant. I ordered the shrimp saganaki while TK got the octopus dish. Delicious, but TK’s portion was a bit small. Thankfully mine came with six gigantic shrimp that we were able to share between us!
Dessert was on the house and the lady even wrote down its name to teach us how to pronounce it in Greek. Home-made “ekmek kataifi”, a sweet three-layered pudding. Lovely end to our lunch!
In Oia, we definitely had to go join the hype and see the sunset. There were a few viewpoints where the sunset could be best seen, and we went about an hour and a half earlier than the estimated time of the sunset in order to secure a place to sit – and that was very necessary (and probably the most touristy thing we did during the trip 😛 )! Counting down now…
People kept arriving and soon the small area was filled with sunset-watchers. The sun has almost completely disappeared by 5:50 pm, and to be completely honest I wasn’t THAT impressed with this particular sunset experience and definitely thought that it was overhyped. The one that I saw in Athens several days later, on top of Mount Lycabettus, was much more memorable.
People getting ready to leave after the sunset, and I’m sure there was a dinner rush right here. Again, luckily we came early to get the best view!
Post-sunset photo of TK and me! I definitely did not know where to look in the camera… @_@
We stayed in Oia for a bit longer after the sunset because we wanted to see it lit up in the evening, and it looked gorgeous! I think Santorini would have been a great place for a honeymoon, but if I were to choose, I would stay in one of the less touristy villages on the island in a villa with a pool hanging on a cliff – now that’d be the utmost luxury! Still hope I can do that one day with J in the future 😉
Pre-departure lunch on the next day, kebab!! Ahh this was so yummy and perhaps one of the best kebabs I’ve ever had! But after this it was time to fly to Athens for the conference. Bye bye Santorini!