- Travel Topics
Post by Dave with commentary [in italics with brackets by Vicky]
While there are many routes to get to the island of Santorini, Greece from Washington DC, the one we chose was chalk full of modes of transportation, specifically 3 metro rides, 3 buses, 3 planes [we had a layover in both Istanbul and Athens] and 2 tram rides. [D has already left out a whole chunk of the journey - we had an 8 hour layover in Istanbul so we decided to buy our tourist visas (20$ for US citizens) and at least wander around the city and get dinner. We didn't get to see much - all the historic sights were closed but we had a delicious dinner of iskender and doner kebab and at least got to finally stretch our legs]. Thirty-three hours of traveling and we no longer had to be persuaded of Santorini’s beauty, it was land, land we could stay on for 3 full days and that was enough for us.
Still, it would be another 2 bus rides before we reached our hotel. We stood outside the airport waiting anxiously for the bus. 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, we looked to our right at the only other couple that shared our predicament. Russians.
Some smooth talking from V and we agreed that a cab share might be a fiscally sound option, but what did the cabby think?
“How much for 2 people?” the Russians asked.
“Ok, what about for the four of us?”
This cab driver was either beyond shrewd or the idea of a group discount simply hadn’t reached Santorini yet.
No matter, we waited another 10 minutes for the bus and 2 long hours later [all buses routes end at the center of the island so there's no real convenient way to get across the entire island and you lose a great deal of time winding up and down all the mountains] we had arrived on the shores of Perissa [the black sand beach], on the southern coast of Santorini. We asked around if anyone could tell us where our hotel, the Blue Diamond Bay, was located [it didn't have a formal address - just said it was on the beach - which stretched for miles...]. To our dismay, no one had ever heard of it. I began to annoy V with jokes about tech savy 14 year olds boys who design fake hotel websites [during our 7.5 hour layover in Athens D slept on a cafe table while I watched over our belongings so obviously I was in no mood for these so called "jokes"].
Eventually, the help of a restaurant owner pointed us in the right direction [aka he took our printed reservation, called the hotel number and figured it all out for us]. The hotel was cute [absolutely amazing and a steal for the price] and completely adequate for a young couple who just wanted to lay on the beach anyways.
V and I put our things away and hit the beach for the next several hours [dozing in and out of reality while sipping Greek Mythos beers [D had a strawberry milkshake] and lounging around on beach chairs comfortable enough to be beds].
Evening came and we were ready for an adventure – dinner in Valchera [Vlychada is what D means to say]. What was supposed to be a relatively quick walk (estimated time was 25 minutes [-by the hotel waiter who's eyes popped right off of his head when he found out we were trying to walk there]) turned into an hour long excursion [walking along a less than picturesque road]. With blisters on my feet from my new sandals I lagged significantly behind V [as usual]. The view upon arrival, however, was worth it:
We settled in at a quaint restaurant, owned by a local family, called Dimitris. Moussaka and pork souvlaki would be our first introduction to Greek cuisine. In addition to delicious food, the chef offered us some basic language lessons.
“Efharisto – thank you” he instructed.
I had given up on learning Greek a long time ago, so I let V struggle with this one.
As night fell V and I began to dread the hour long walk back to the point that we were ready to settle on a cab, when a stroke of luck that would only happen on an island off the coast of Greece hit us. The restaurant owners explained to us that a cab would take too long and that their friends [the rental car company that operates within the restaurant] would give us a ride home – for free. I tried to think of the last time a waiter at Outback offered me a ride home – Never. [While D was explaining our hotel location the restaurant owner's wife regretfully added that her son had just left and had she known our predicament would have asked him to drop us off - how endearing.] We gladly accepted, simultaneously climbing into the back of our chauffeur’s sports [convertible] car. We zipped home in under 10 minutes [with the driver not even considering buckling his seat belt - as we found to be common in Greece].
Exiting the car, I motioned to V to say “thank you” in Greek, she had forgotten. Oh well, there were still 7 days remaining for her to master the language [it did take me about 4 of those to memorize just the thank you]. The night ended “typically” (for our Greece vacation that is) – Beach, Beer, and the sound of crashing waves in the dark.
Post By D with [commentary in italics in brackets by v]
Want to read more about our trip to Greece?
Day 1: Greece, Santorini – The Arrival and Finding Your Way
Day 2: Greece, Santorini – Volcano Tour and Hot Springs
Day 3: Greece, Santorini – Frolicking Through Fira
Day 4: Greece, Athens – Conquering The Capital
Day 5: Greece, Athens – More Monuments!
Day 6: Greece, Corinth – Making Our Way To Mycenae, Argos And Nafplio
Day 7: Greece, Sparta – This is Sparta! (And Mystras)
Day 8: Greece Kardamyli – First Diros Caves, Then Messene Ruins