Greece! (Santorini – Part II)

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Greece! (Santorini – Part II)

Santorini is one of those places where describing it in words isn’t really possible. Seriously one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. Like, jaw-droppingly gorgeous. And simultaneously one of the most disappointingly touristy places I’ve ever been.

I don’t know why I envisioned it being so remote and self-preserved that no one but me would be there. Kind of like how I imagine Bora Bora to be. Hmmm. I was clearly misguided. Tourists everywhere, and enough souvenir shops to supply a small country with postcards and olive oil for life.

But here’s what did not disappoint: our villa and the view from our villa. (Another Airbnb win.) I loved that we were a tad off the beaten path in Imerovigli, definitely a more local village on the island. The “big” town of Fira was about a 30 minute walk away, so we walked there quite a bit, but our favorite restaurant of the whole trip ended up being right around the corner. (If you go, make sure to eat at Anogi!)


Just like in my Athens post, I can’t really remember what we did on which days, but the next pictures I have to show you are of our hike from Fira to Oia. This was honestly probably my favorite thing. And if you know me, you know exactly how strange it is to hear me say that. But just being outside in the incredible scenery and walking this crazy awesome trail was really serene and perfect. It also helped that I wore proper footwear, unlike Dani who thought Sanuks would be a good idea and wanted to die pretty much from the beginning, and Ashley, who didn’t complain at all but did the entire hike in flip flops. Six miles, people! It was a six mile hike that went up and down and up and down. But the views! Totally worth it!2014-07-28_0058

Every time I see these photos with all the wildflowers, I can’t help but hear Tom Petty singing in my head. In fact, you should listen to that song as you look at these. Kinda perfect.2014-07-28_0060

This was towards the beginning of the hike, right as we got out of our little town of Imerovigli. You can actually see where we ended up because of the horseshoe shape – all the way out on the tip of that point back there. That’s Oia. As you can see, not the flattest hike in the world…
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Even the rocks are pretty in Santorini!
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Churches everywhere along this path! So cool! They were beautiful and picturesque, although I wondered every time, Who goes to church here? Could you even drive? Would you have to hike this every Sunday? You could never wear nice shoes…

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Sometimes we just hoped we were still on the right path, and other times there would be a random marker like this one.

Looking back at the way we had come was often just as pretty as the road ahead. Oh, and there’s Ashley for a little perspective. 🙂2014-07-28_0073

I have so many pictures with Dani’s backside in them because she was usually a million miles ahead of us. Those Sanuks must have had springs in them. Haha. Or been so uncomfortable that she wanted to finish as quickly as possible. I think it was the latter. 
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Even though Ashley thinks “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a terrible book and doesn’t know who Don Quixote is, she does a lot of funny things to make up for it. Like stopping randomly to smell the flowers and sing, “The hills are alive with the sound of music!”

Still having shoe trouble… meanwhile I am waiting at the bottom of the hill in my sneakers.

I mean, really? Why can’t churches look like this in America? This would be perfect for all my photography needs. 2014-07-28_00812014-07-28_00822014-07-28_00832014-07-28_0080

This was something we found along the way. Still no clue what it means.

Finally! We can see civilization! And started to pick up the pace a little bit because we still had to get to the end of the hike by sunset. Can you spot Dani again? It’s like Where’s Waldo in these photos. Ha.

Oia actually looks exactly like it does in all the movies and postcards and photos you see. Too pretty for words.
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We knew already that we wanted to come back another night and take more pictures. We hadn’t quite gotten there early enough for a good spot the first time (there is really only one place to get this view of the cliff with all the buildings) so return to Oia we did! Took a taxi instead of walking the second time around. 🙂 I’ll go ahead and post those now, even if it’s a little out of order. Remarkable how a different sunset made everything look like it had completely changed colors from one day to the next.2014-07-28_0112 2014-07-28_0113

Dani and Ashly staking out our spot as we waited for the sun to go down. This wall was so crowded with people. They sat while I went and got us the most expensive ice cream I’ve ever eaten. It was seriously like 7 Euros for two small scoops.


I have this photo hanging as a triptych in my dining room! It’s really the perfect complement to our bright orange wall. 🙂 
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Soooo worth the wait for twilight!! I think this one’s my fave.

We did other things in Santorini too, other than sunset photos and long walks. Like a volcano and hot springs tour which still makes me mad to think about, and to which I did not bring my big camera. Can I just say it was vastly mislabeled… there are NO hot springs. Instead there is a lot of extremely cold water you have to jump in and swim through to get to the moderately lukewarm springs. Bust. Anyway, one of the other days we did a wine tour, which was way more fun and lived up to its name. Here are Dani and Ash, waiting for the bus to come pick us up:

I learned lots of things about Greek wine, but what I found to be the most interesting is that the grapevines in Greece are twisted and twirled as they mature so that they look kinda like a round basket by harvest time. This way the grapes are protected from the winds and the weather by growing inside the low-to-the-ground circle shape. It’s kind of hard to tell in these photos because the plants were still really young and hadn’t grown enough yet, but the whole concept seemed really smart to me!

Those are tiny little clusters of grapes! And snails. There were snails everywhere in the vines and on the rocks.
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Dani, excited about the impromptu stop our tour group made to a local Santorini brewery. 

Loved it when they gave us snacks with the wine! Actually had some of the best wine/cheese pairings I’ve ever tried on this tour. 

These are our new friends Wisdom and Todd. Okay, so her name is really Sophia… Our tour guide gave us each a Greek name so he could remember them better, but Sophia is already a Greek name meaning wisdom. So we called her Wisdom for the day. I did a small impromptu photo session because come on! look at the background! Couldn’t resist. They were on their honeymoon and the perfect candidates. 🙂

One thing worth mentioning… Greeks don’t flush their toilet paper. Like, at all. I don’t have any photos to complement this interesting fact (that would make this story way better) but just be prepared if you visit to put your used paper in the designated bin. There will probably be a million signs explaining how bad the plumbing is and you will probably still forget even as you sit there reading them. Then you will finally get used to this process by the last day and get really good at opening the trash can with your foot and then feel weird about dropping the toilet paper in the toilet when you use the bathroom back at Dulles airport.

But enough about that. Nobody is probably reading all this text anyway. The next set of photos is from our last night in Greece before flying home to the US. We left Santorini and spent our final evening at a gorgeous house in the middle of nowhere, yet somehow still only 15 mins from the Athens airport. It was literally in between a vineyard, the tiniest church you ever did see, and fields of fruit and pistachio trees. It was incredibly peaceful, at least until Ashley came rushing in yelling “Sheep!!!! Guys, get your cameras! Sheeeeeep!!!!!”

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Oh, and then the power went out. And never came back on. Which made it slightly scary. And then really not fun as we were trying to get ready to leave for the airport at 5 am the next morning in pitch blackness. But up until then it was good.

Speaking of airports, I promised to tell you about Ashley’s expired passport. You know, the one that expired in February (this trip happened in April) that she somehow used to fly into the country from Reagan airport. Oh yes, that happened. To make a long story short, Ashley did not fly back with us from Greece. She instead paid a visit to the US Embassy in Athens (twice, in fact) and after shedding a few tears and dollars, wound up with a temporary passport on a later flight home with Jimmy Carter. You should ask her about it. 

Anyway, to sum up, Greece was awesome and we had a great time. You can read Dani’s thoughts on Santorini here. Part of me wishes I had taken a few more photos on this trip, but I think I was just trying absorb it all with my eyes and felt at a loss as to how to photograph it. The other part of me doubts that I could have done it justice to the way it looked in real life. Sometimes when things are so beautiful you just have to appreciate them in the moment. And sometimes it is nice to put the camera down and live on the other side of the lens.


  1. Anna says:

    These are so amazing!! Literally…they don’t even seem real. Hope you were able to take it all in and enjoy the beauty.

  2. Renee says:

    What a perfect trip!! These images are so beautiful + tell your travel story so well!

  3. tPoz says:

    still so bitter I missed out on this trip! silly weddings….
    What an amazing shoe saga (what the heck are Sanuks!?), a truly stunning sunset/twilight at Oia, and how gross about the toilet paper!? I did burst out laughing as I imagined Ashley yelling about SHEEEEEP in her accent!
    Thank you for sharing your pics – it’s *almost* like I was there! 😉

  4. Lee says:

    Hi Emily, I’m so glad I found this post during my last-minute honeymoon to Santorini (hopefully end of this month) research. Any other tips, advice, or recommendations about Santorini? We’re planning to go end of September to beginning of October but how was the weather when you went in April in case we don’t make it this month. We actually tried to get a room at the 3 stones but it’s been booked up forever. Was there anything you didn’t like about your 3 stones experience? Did you guys have sunset views from the 3 stones balcony? Also, strange question but did you guys have problems with mosquitoes? I’ve read with other bloggers this was an issue. Sorry for the countless questions. It’s hard to find any Greece Tips that’s non tourist book type guide. Thanks!

    • Emily says:

      Hi Lee! Glad you found this post! My bits of random advice: I would definitely say 3-4 days in Santorini is plenty – I would recommend visiting another island (or Athens) with any extra time you might have. Skip the volcano tour/hot springs tour, or just do the volcano part (which is really just hiking up a big huge rock, but I guess it has some nice views.) Pack warmer clothes than you might think if you go in April… it was around the low/mid 60s mostly but pretty windy the whole time. Too cold for swimming, so for sure go later in the year if you want to use any pools or sunbathe. Good walking shoes are a definite must, especially if you stay off the beaten path somewhere like Imerovigli. Taxis are pretty cheap if you need them – I recommend that option as opposed to renting a car. We saw a few people on scooters or ATVs, which I thought would be a good idea before we actually showed up and then saw how that might be rather dangerous… We didn’t really have any mosquito issues at all and I will say they usually love me, so might have been the time of year? Literally the only thing I could complain about with the 3 Stones villa is that they didn’t have any tea in the room for us, but there’s a small grocery right around the corner so that problem was easily solved. 🙂 Hope that helps! Oh, and as I mention in my post, definitely eat at Anogi, which was the best food we found on the island.

  5. Lee says:

    Hi Emily, thanks for the quick response. I’m a click and shoot person and have no clue with manipulating lighting so I know my photos won’t look at stunning as yours. Too bad you weren’t on the island at the same time – pretty hard finding photographers on the island with a certain aesthetic. Thanks again!

  6. Laura H says:

    I LOVED this post, and I LOVED your photos <3

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