Hi friends, I’m back! I know it’s been awhile, but gallivanting around Europe is quite time-consuming, so I haven’t had as much time to document my travels as I would have hoped. But no matter… let me pick up with what may have been my favorite trip so far: Greece!
As Zoe and I set off on our week-long adventure, things didn’t start off so well. First, we got ticketed in the Paris airport because we hadn’t bought the right metro ticket (lol). Then, our flight was delayed due to heavy fog. The flight attendants assured us this wouldn’t be an issue, but we were connecting to Greece through Serbia… so by the time we landed in Belgrade, our flight to Greece had already taken off! Long story short, we ended up spending one night in Serbia, the most random country ever. Like seriously, nobody goes to Serbia for vacation- but there we were, stranded for the night.
I didn’t even really know where Serbia was in the world, so here’s a visual:
Needless to say, we were NOT happy.
However, there wasn’t much we could do about the situation, so we decided to explore Belgrade. Here were a few of the things we learned:
- Serbia is extremely cheap- everything was so affordable, especially since their currency isn’t worth as much as the Euro.
- Serbian food is weird and not very good.
- Belgrade, surprisingly, has great shopping.
And that was about it. We didn’t have time to do much else besides grab a quick meal, buy some souvenirs, and drink a pumpkin spice latte (because being basic is a universal language).
We finally landed in Santorini at 6 am the next day, and after a brief nap, our vacation officially started!
Santorini is a very small island, and we stayed in the center and capital, Fira.
We spent our first day wandering around the little tourist shops. There are approximately one million stores all selling the same things, so don’t believe the owners when they say that their husbands or fathers make the products “by hand.” Because Santorini is so small, it tends to be a little overpriced as well, so save all the souvenir buying for Athens, like we did!
It wasn’t quite as warm as we had hoped, so we didn’t get to enjoy the beaches- but visiting the famous beaches (like the black beach at Perissa and the Red Beach) was still fun, and it was beautiful despite some cloudy weather.
One of my favorite things we did that week was make the 10 km hike from Fira to Oia. The path takes you along the cliffs of the island and over mountains to reach the northern point, and you get to see the most beautiful views! It took almost three hours and we thought our legs were going to fall off by the time we finished, but it one of our best days on this trip! And Lolita’s Gelato (best gelato on the island and maybe in all of Greece) was awaiting us at the end, so it was all worth it.
The next day, we took a boat out to the volcanic island! We got to ride in a very traditional pirate-ship looking boat, and with a guide, we hiked all the way to the top of the volcano. It’s a dormant one, but since there is still magma underneath, steam was coming out the top!
After hiking around the top (and playing hot potato with some of the hot rocks from the crater), we hiked back down and took the boat around to the other side of the island, where the steam from the magma created hot springs where the volcano meets the ocean. Even though they weren’t all that hot, we jumped in and got to swim! The water was a strange yellow color because of the sulfuric acid, which is supposedly great for your skin and hair (although I have yet to see proof of this). Warning: your swim suit will definitely change color from the water!
Honestly, this was one of the coolest things I have ever done- it was well worth the ear infection that I developed the next day!
A few days into our stay, we discovered the best thing about Santorini- a tiny restaurant called Salt and Pepper. Honestly, this was the only restaurant we ate at that is worthy of any mention here. It’s owned by an adorable old Greek couple- Costas does the cooking and his wife, Irena, serves the guests. They were the most welcoming, kind people ever- and the food was the best we had on the entire island. In fact, we went back three days in a row because we loved it so much!!
Words cannot describe to you how deliciously simple their food is. Every meal is begun with warm, freshly made bread (yes it’s gluten but I couldn’t help myself) and the most delicious dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) that I’ve ever had. They serve all traditional Greek food- some of my favorites included the lamb chops, lamb souvlaki, and the tomato balls (don’t ask, just try them!). It was one of those places where every single thing on the menu was good- if you go to Santorini, this restaurant is a must! Definitely make a reservation, because this place fills up quickly.
We spent our last day in this beautiful country exploring Athens. We didn’t have that much time, but we spent our one day there visiting the Acropolis (fun fact: students get in free!). I got to create so many fun memories and check so many things off my bucket list this trip- I will forever be grateful for my time spent here! Thanks for the memories ❤