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Trip Report Our Trip in Mainland Greece and Santorini

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Day 7. We toured Delphi and I was pleased with the amount of time that we spent at the site. We visited the Sanctuary of Athena and then the ancient Delphi site - Temple of Apollo. The location of Delphi is pretty impressive by itself. It is perched on a steep hill and there are snow capped mountains in the distance. Some people on this forum have sworn that they felt the “aura” of the place. I cannot say that I felt it was sacred ground or whatever but it was majestic. We also toured the museum which I really liked. It was not overwhelming like The National Archeological Museum. Of course, we were all taken by the Charioteer.

After lunch we say goodbye to this tour group, they are headed to Meteora. We are picked up by another tour bus for the return to Athens. We arrived back in Athens at about 7:00 and checked back into the Hotel Attalos. We enjoyed our Key tour excursion and would recommend it to others - even with the Hotel King Iniohos experience. (Sometimes an experience like that is what you have the most fun retelling.) But after four days we were ready to be on our own.

Day 8 After breakfast we caught the metro to the airport. We had a few minutes before our flight and we wandered through the museum part of the airport. Our flight to Santorini with Aegean Air went smoothly and quickly. By noon we were in Santorini. Lava Oia had arranged for a driver to pick us up at the airport. He was waiting on us and we were soon on our way to Oia. The drive to Oia on the cliff side road was beautiful. I hate to use clichés but the sea really was turquoise. Again there are many wildflowers - the fields are covered in marguerites. I know they are not wildflowers but I have never seen such geraniums, they were tremendous.

Lava Oia is a traditional cave house overlooking the caldera. The view from our patio is breath taking, to our left we can see all the white and blue houses stacked on the cliff. Below us there are a few roof tops, patios, and then the caldera. Again, the water is so pretty, there is a white sail boat anchored in the cove. It almost looks like it was placed there for the effect.

Our house is actually a studio, it is fairly spacious. There is an alcove with a kitchenette. A bed at the back of the cave, a sofa in the front. The door and shutters are painted that famous blue. Ms. Petridou, the owner, placed fresh flowers in the room and left us a bottle of Santorini wine.

We walked on the pedestrian road and the view is incredible, we made lots of photographs. That night we wanted to eat at Santorini Mou but it was not open for the season. We walked back to Pizza Edwin to eat and saw a beautiful sunset in the parking lot of Pizza Edwin.

Day 9 Ms. Petridou asked if we wanted to go to church with her. I have forgotten the name of the church. It is a small Greek Orthodox church hanging on the caldera side, it is right off the pedestrian walkway. We were all given a slice of bread that the priest had blessed which we then carried back to the “fellowship hall”. There we enjoyed a meal of “giants” (beans that kinda looked like butter beans) cooked in tomato sauce, olives, and dolmades, and wine. During the middle of this meal, there was a LOUD boom. I jumped and almost said something nasty. I was told that fireworks are a part of their Easter celebration. There were more “cherry bombs” set off in the middle of the hall before we left! We loved this part of our trip, we felt like we got to see a different side of Santorini.

After lunch Ms. Petridou had to go to Fira for a business meeting. She asked if we would like to ride to Fira and catch a bus back to Oia. Of course we did, she took the rode along the coast and gave us a mini-tour of that part of the island. In Fira, we had a drink and walked on the pedestrian walkway. It was pretty but I am so glad we opted to stay in Oia. Fira has too many people, too much traffic, and other than the caldera side, it is not particularly pretty. Thank you, Brotherleelove, for guiding us to Oia instead of Fira!

Hoping to catch another pretty sunset, we went to Kastro’s to eat. The buses were bringing in people who made their way to the walls of the castle ruin. There was a festive air as we waited for the sunset. Unfortunately, the sun started to sink and then was quickly obscured by clouds. So much for the pretty sunset! However the lamb kabobs were good!

Day 10 We have had beautiful sunny spring weather until today. Today it drizzles rain all day long. Again we go to church with Ms. Petridou but we are late. It was Palm Sunday and they are giving out palm fronds woven into crosses. Back at Lava Oia, we are getting cabin fever so we go to Katina’s for an early lunch. It is cold but we eat outside and enjoy the harbor. My husband had the grilled calamari and I had grilled snapper. It was a lovely lunch.

That afternoon we try to find something on TV, the reception is awful and the few channels we do get are in Greek. (duh) We find an internet spot and catch up on email. (I know this sounds awful, that we were bored in Santorini but just for one afternoon! ) That evening we go to dinner with Ms. Petridou at a taverna in a small village just below Oia. Krinaki is in an old winery. There are “pits” in the floor that are covered with glass, the pits were used in the wine making. It was an interesting village and restaurant.

We ordered a little bit of everything and shared. We had fried cheese, eggplant salad, meatballs, Greek salad, pork steak. One dish was capers, caper leaves, and sun dried tomatoes, so salty. The dessert was on the house and it was pretty dreadful to me. My husband loved the dessert and ate his and mine. It was polenta with sugar and cinnamon pressed into this block shape.

Day 11 to Athens - We took a bus from Oia to the airport, flew to Athens, had a close encounter with a band of pickpockets on the metro, checked into Hotel Attalos, and visited the National Archeology Museum.

Day 12 We returned to the airport via the metro (no problem with pickpockets this time) and flew back to JFK, then Atlanta, then home about midnight!

We loved Greece, this was one of the best trips we have made. We had the best of both worlds - part of the trip was with a tour group and part was on our own. Part of the trip was sightseeing of historical sites on the mainland and part was just relaxing in Santorini. I can’t think of anything that we would change. We had booked our flight from Atlanta to Athens first so that it was impossible to fly straight to Santorini if we wanted to go on the four day Monday tour. That would be one thing we might have changed, fly straight to Santorini so that we would not have to back track to Athens. But we had a great time and we would go back to Greece.

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