Katrina has flown over from Perth for a month long visit to the UK, Greece, Turkey and Croatia. She accompanied me on my way over to the UK over 3 years ago so it seems fitting that she is here for my last European adventure before I move back to Australia.
Our first stop is Santorini, reputedly the most beautiful of the Greek Islands. Katrina, Jess and I flew into Thira, the main town where we met up with Rebecca who had been in Greece since we parted ways in Sofia.
We were looking forward to some sunshine but was surprised by how windy it was. One of our main aims was to eat as much seafood as we could so we started on this with relish.
Katrina and I had grilled octopus, Rebecca had grilled red snapper, Jess had grilled prawns and we shared two fresh salads.
Santorini is very beautiful and idyllic. I managed to take the perfect postcard shot.
Santorini is one of the largest in the Cyclades group of islands and is the remnants of one of the largest volcano eruptions in history. Thira clings to the top of a cliff looking down on a lagoon.
I loved the cafes and restaurants that had alfresco dining areas that overlooked the bay.
The architecture of Santorini is similar to that of other Cyclades islands, with low-lying cubical houses, made of local stone and whitewashed or limewash with various volcanic ashes used as colours.
The clear blue skies made for a stunning backdrop for the whitewashed walls of the buildings.
The cobblestone streets were twisted and narrow, adorned with shops and cafes.
At night when lit up, Thira resembled Dubrovnik despite the two cities looking very different during the day.
While Rebecca went on a sunset cruise and a visit to a volcano crater, we spent a lazy afternoon wandering the streets of Thira and enjoying a long lunch.
The water was a deep blue colour though choppy with waves.
While there were plenty of restaurants selling souvlaki and gyros, we were determined not to stray from seafood. There will be plenty of opportunities to try some moussaka later.
We caught a cable car down to the old port.
It cost 4 euro and took under three minutes to get to the bottom.
At the old port the water looked even nicer.
The old port was small with not much to see and do so instead of catching the cable car back up, we opted for a donkey ride.
The donkey ride takes 10 minutes to get to the top and costs 5 euro.
It is slow going and rickety but quite a fun ride up
We took some more postcard photos before dinner.
On our third day in Santorini, Rebecca went on a bus tour of the island while the 3 of us slept till 3pm. I can’t believe how much I slept without consuming alcohol the night before. The past six months of travelling and living out of a suitcase/backpack have finally caught up to me.
Despite us not doing much, it was exactly the kind of lazy holiday that I needed to rest up and recharge for my remaining two months of travelling.
We went to the Ellis restaurant for our last dinner in Santorini.
The restaurant has amazing views of Thira and the bay.
The food in the restaurant was excellent.
We had stuffed grilled calamari and grilled sea bream, complete with dolmades and tzaziki to start.
Katrina and Rebecca were game enough to drink ouzo.
They didn’t like it with ice so they eventually changed to shot glasses.
One of my favourite things about the restaurant was their complimentary dessert.
In the end, the only way they could finish the ouzo was by shooting it down.
The restaurant gave us amazing views of the sunset.
We stopped in Athens for a couple of nights before heading to Turkey.
The biggest attraction and most significant monument in Athens is the Acropolis.
Its construction is said to have commenced in the fifth century BC.
It was a national holiday so entry (normal 12 euro) was free.
The Acropolis is on a rocky hill overlooking the city.
We climbed up through the Propylaea which are the monumental entrances to the sacred area dedicated to Athena, the patron goddess of the city.
It was a great temperature for sightseeing though a stronger breeze would have been most welcome.
The girls really enjoyed walking through the ruins.
At night, The Acropolis looked even more grand.
It was fortunate we were only in Athens for a brief sojourn as we seemed to have found the flashiest, most luxurious accommodation to stay in.
It was definitely a far cry from our lovely apartments in Santorini.
What else could we do besides console ourselves with food?
Hopefully we’ll have better luck in Turkey and Egypt.