Monday, November 21, 2016

Baklava Babymoon: Santorini, our final stop

Santorini is a place I had been dreaming of visiting for years. I can't think of too many other places that look more romantic than this island. It felt like the right place to end our babymoon because there was a chance we would not go on a romantic trip for a while.

A common way to get from mainland Greece to Santorini is by ferry - a long ferry ride. I wasn't going to risk taking a ferry while pregnant to Santorini and getting sea sick for the first time in my life, so we thought it would be best to fly from Athens. Getting from our hotel in Hydra to our Hotel in Santorini took 24 hours. A boat back to the mainland, driving to Athens airport to return the rental car, an overnight stay at an nearby airport hotel, a sunrise flight, followed by a taxi to our hotel made an exhausting trip. Thankfully we were now in the perfect place to relax and recharge.
We took our time driving back to Athens' airport enjoying the scenery that reminded us of California.

Our stay at the Marizan Caves & Villas exceeded everything I had dreamed Oia to be. Crisp white walls, outdoor staircases leading to rooms that cascaded down the hillside, colorful flowers throughout, bright airy rooms, views of the famous Oia sunset from every room's private terrace or hot tub and the most amazing staff I have ever encountered. The staff made us feel like old beloved friends, helped plan our stay, made reservations at restaurants for us, helped arrange all the transpiration, kept us informed of sunset times. On one evening when everyone thought we were going to miss the sunset due to overcast - the staff went around to ever room to inform guests that the skies cleared just in time for a surprise sunset! If the city wasn't so inviting to explore, we could have relaxed at our suite and still have had an awesome vacation.
Our spacious studio apartment at Marizan Caves and Villas.
We were greeted very time we walked of of the apartment to this view.
The property trickled down the hillside to more apartments and sunning terraces.
Crisp white paint and bright potted plants along the outdoor staircases fulfilled my vision of what I imagined Oia to be.
Plus, the hotel had one of the few hot tubs where you could watch the sunset from!
Looking back at the crowds of people watching sunset. Only guests were allowed onto the hotel property.

We were also a bit skeptical of Oia’s beauty. We have all seen the stunning photos of Oia and like many places, we thought these vistas could only be enjoyed from one or two spots. In reality, we found stunning beauty throughout the town. Instead of island hoping to nearby Mykonos for the day, we spent most of our days strolling the streets of Oia soaking in the sunshine and views. These photos do little justice to the beauty of the town.
Oia, Santorini
Along the main walkway in Oia, it's obvious when the cruse-liner tour buses arrive.
Within a few minutes from the main part of city, there are charming and quiet alleys to explore.
The small walkways between homes and hotels are very tempting to venture into for a photo safari.
Our evening walk to the main part of town for dinner.
The 7 month bump.

And like the rest of our Greek trip, the food was wonderful. With the help of our hotel, recommendations from friends, and our own online research, we had numerous memorable meals. I am a big seafood lover and was excited about eating fresh seafood, especially since we now live far from the ocean. Oh but pregnancy was cruel to me. While Q was raving about every fish meal, they all tasted bland to me. The pregnancy must have dulled my senses to fish.
We still couldn't get enough of the Greek salad.
Ouzo along the Agean Sea for Q
A simple bake is all one needs in order to taste excellent when the fish is this fresh.
We become regulars at Skiza for their pastries, iced coffee and Greek breakfast.

We did venture out of Oia for one day of sightseeing. We rented a car and cruised around the island stopping at the Red Sand Beach and Perissa Beach. High season was just around the corner and much of the island was still sleepy or just starting to prepare for the late spring's start of tourist season. Being out on empty roads and with the locals was nice but too lonely for our liking. 
Completely underwhelmed by the Red Sand Beach. Wasn't worth the walk down there to touch the cold water.
It wasn't warm enough at Perissa Beach to lay outside. But from inside, it made for a beautiful view. 

Saying goodbye to Oia and the hotel stay was a little bittersweet. It was the end of my dream babymoon and the end of fast paced travel - at least for a while.
Oh, we are definitely coming back to Greece