Hydra

Alas, it’s the final post about Greece. And believe me, I saved the best for last.

Hydra is a remote Greek island only reached by boat. It has no cars or automated transportation, so if you want to get from one side of the island to the other, you have to take a horse, donkey, or walk!

Well, I guess there was ONE car in Hydra…

Only Car In Hydra
Only Car In Hydra

Hydra is so magical because of this… I felt like I was on a movie set, or in a made up world. Everything was quaint, authentic, and nothing like I’d ever seen before.

Hydra Local

“Downtown Hydra,” so to speak, is by the port. That’s where you’ll find cute shops, great food, and the most hustle and bustle on the island.

Hydra also has amazing flowers. If you know me, you know that I’m a sucker for a good bloom, so you can imagine I was swooning my entire stay.

In order to explore more of the northern, undeveloped parts of the island, my family decided to go horseback riding. This was so incredible, and I was happy that I got to experience the contrast between Hydra’s “city” surrounding the port, and Hydra’s “country” that lies above.

IMG_5258

After our ride, we ate lunch at a cute, sea-side restaurant. Then we wandered some more along the coast. It was somewhat painful to do this, because all I wanted to do was jump in the beautiful, crystal clear water.

But, we were leaving that afternoon and we had to save time for… BAKLAVA!

Once our plates were licked clean of any remaining crumbs, we hopped on our boat to take us back to Athens. The next day we began our voyage back to Atlanta. It was bittersweet… I was so sad to leave Greece, a place full of character and charm, but I was happy to come home. I hope I’m one day lucky enough to return to the Greek Isles, but I sure am thankful for the time I got to spend there this summer.

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Santorini Pt.2

After two nights in Oia, my family and I packed our bags and headed to Firostefani, another town on the island of Santorini.

For those interested, the progression of major towns along the caldera are Oia, Imerovigli, Firostefani, and finally Fira. Several miles separate Oia and Imerovigli, but the rest of the towns following are relatively close. Imerovigli sits on the highest point of the caldera, and Firostefani is literally just down the beaten path. In greek, “stefani” means crown, which is how Firostefani got it’s name… the town is Fira’s “crown” because it sits right on top of it.

View of Fira
The view of Fira from the path up to Firostefani

Ok, enough with the geography, Wells. Day three consisted of a tour of Santorini, ending in Firostefani. Our lovely tour guide, George, took us to so many local gems that were along the caldera but also inland. I enjoyed this because he showed us authentic parts of Santorini: old villages, roadside wineries, hidden churches, you name it. After being in tourist-laden Oia, it was nice to see Santorini through a native’s eyes.

I also got to meet a very friendly donkey… so friendly that he started to eat my shirt!

That day was so spectacular. I never stopped smiling… as captured by the photo below!

Staying in Firostefani was great because the majority of the people staying on that side of the island stay in Fira, the capital of Santorini. It was nice to walk about 10 minutes to Fira but leave that hustle and bustle when we returned to our hotel. That being said, Fira is great. On Day 4 my family spent the entire day there shopping, eating, and picture-taking. What more could you want?

Day in Fira
That’s Fira behind me!

Our eyes were blessed with a beautiful sunset every evening in Santorini… a perfect ending to perfect days. It was hard to leave the island, but our next stop was Hydra- an island with no cars or automated transportation. Therefore, we definitely had something to look forward to!

Oia

How does one begin writing about an adventure of a lifetime filled with beauty that can’t be captured by camera, relationships that won’t be forgotten, and such glorious bread that leaves taste buds forever changed? I personally don’t know the best way, but it seems as though I’ve got a start.

Oia, zoomed out

I’ve wanted to go to Greece for as long as I can remember. The obsession began in first grade when I learned about Greek Gods and Goddesses, and it continued to grow as I got older. So, you can imagine my excitement when my parents gifted me this trip as a graduation present.

We started in Athens, and while I enjoyed the area of Athens in which our hotel was located, other parts of the city weren’t my favorite. I’m also not a huge history buff, so seeing the various ruins wasn’t as fulfilling as I’d hoped. Nevertheless, I was still amazed by the fact that I was looking at something that was on this earth before Christ… wild.

Therefore, I’m choosing not to post about Athens and cut straight to the meat and potatoes: Santorini.

Santorini is one of the many Greek Isles on the caldera known for its picturesque views, rocky terrain, and of course, donkeys. Santorini is also known for it’s unique architecture, the crux of my obsession for this place. Due to the light paint and soft curves of the buildings, everything looks clean and pretty. Not to mention these structures contrasted with the electric-blue Aegean Sea in the background… definitely a winner in my book.

 

The first half of our “Santorini Leg” of the trip my family stayed in Oia. This little city/ village (not quite sure on the correct terminology here) is on the eastern side of the island, and is one of the more “touristy” sections of Santorini. Therefore, exploring required quick maneuvers around huddles of people and fast walking speeds in order to “beat the crowd” from place to place.

Because we weren’t doing anything too intensive (except, I could argue the stairs in Santorini as a whole are a serious workout… I broke a sweat simply looking at them), I kept my outfits light, comfortable, and cute. The weather was also uncharacteristically cold, windy, and rainy (what a combo) for this time of year, so my single pair of “just-in-case jeans” were worn almost every day the entire trip.

But this Karlie dress did make a cameo! I love the embroidery on it and how easy it was to wear. I barely had to accessorize it (except I did throw on my Bugs), and I felt like the shape of the dress was super flattering.

Karlie Dress in Oia
(linen + folding = not the best combo)

Thankfully the sun made frequent appearances, allowing much needed R&R each afternoon in Oia.

Suntorini

One of my most favorite things we did this portion of the trip was hike from Fira back to Oia. It took about 3 hours to hike one way from one town to the other, and it wasn’t all easy (see picture below of me STRUGGLING up one of the many hills) but it was so rewarding and beyond beautiful. I was so happy to learn more about the caldera side of the island through hiking it.

But, after 2 nights, it was time to leave Oia and go to Fira!

Oia
Seeya, Oia!