Monday, June 27, 2011

Santorini - maybe the most fantastic place!

After spending a few lovely days in Crete we took the ferry from Heraklion to Santorini!  We were greeted by a representative of the travel agency who found us our driver and we were off to our hotel, Suites of the Gods, which happened to be right above the port and had the most beautiful view of the caldera. 

View from our balcony
Sea and the volcano
After settling into our rooms and enjoying a bit of lunch on the balcony (how can you not just stare at the view?) we enjoyed a little poolside relaxation and tried to figure out what to do for dinner that night.  Our hotel was actually not in either of the two main towns of Fira or Oia, but the former was a short cab ride away.
After we got our acts together we headed to Fira to wander the streets and have some dinner.  Fira was exactly like the pictures that come to mind when you think of the Greek islands - white washed buildings accented with blue.  Even better, the whole town is built into the side of the caldera so everywhere you look you could see the water and, later, the sun set.

After wandering, through the southern side of the town we found Ellis Restaurant where the menu looked good and the view looked even better, so we went right in.  We settled in and ordered, once again not really holding back, and got some appetizers and entrees.

Straying away from the Greek salad, Nick got a Santorini salad with all sorts of goodies in it, like anchovies, hard boiled eggs, and olives.

Santorini Salad
Continuing with our Greek meals Nick got the grilled calamari that was stuffed with mashed fava bean.  I had only ever eaten fried calamari before and was really surprised at how much I enjoyed the grilled version.  I think this is something more US restaurants need to serve.

Grilled Calamari
This was also the first restaurant we had the meals in the clay bowls.  It was almost a stew of either lamb or veal.  Erica S. and I both decided these looked like great options.

Veal in a clay pot
Lamb in a clay pot
Cooking the meat in the clay pot made it so tender and delicious, and so full of amazing flavor.  Of course they used a Greek local cheese in my lamb pot -  a great salty cheese that worked well with the other flavors.  Mike went with the veal, but actually the veal stew - no clay pot.  The veal was still tender, but the clay pot gave the veal a bit of something extra.

During dinner we saw the sun set over the water and watched Fira light up.  The views in Santorini just kept getting better!

Fira at night...
The following morning before our excursion all 4 of us got on an extremely crowded city bus (actualy a coach bus than you standard city public transit) and headed to the tip of Santorini to see the town of Oia - the home of all the blue dome churches.

Blue Domes!
There really is nothing like seeing these in person - you really feel like you are in the middle of a postcard.  Oia is beautiful, with loads of winding alleys, shops of all types and views everywhere. 

Oia is the place where everyone goes to get the beautiful sunset pictures.  People go and stake out a spot during the sunset to take the quintessential sunset photo from the Greek islands. 

Sunset Look Our Point
The town is literally built on a cliff so you are climbing up and down the stairs at every turn.  Towards the end of our visit I started to get a bit tired!

Nick Climbing the Stairs
 Another blue dome with the little islands in the back ground - they really were amazing.

Blue domes!
Here's another view of Oia looking back from the point - its hard to believe how the city is set into the cliffs!  You can still see the blue domes!

At the end our morning trip to Oia we finally able to enjoy the amazingness of gyros....pork, onion, french fries and tzatziki all on a freshly grilled pita, for a total of about $3.50 USD - Greek street food!

Gyro Meat!
The meat that has been cooking on a rotisserie stick forever just is so tender and juicy and has so much delicious flavor!  This is definitely a new favorite food!, and I'm now on the lookout for a good Gyro place in Boston (Anyone out there have have one?  Please pass along any leads!)

Here's Nick enjoying his gyro!
We jumped on another extremely crowded city coach bus to head back to our hotel just in time to get ready for our afternoon excursion to the volcano and hot springs - more on that soon!


  1. love the photos! I'd give anything to be back there!!

  2. Those are some gorgeous views! Hope you guys are having fun!


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