We arrived in Santorini via 3 flights. The first from Melbourne to Doha, Doha to Athens & then on to Santorini. It took us 32 hours door to door. Was it worth it? Every single particular moment most definitely was. We fell in love with the place.
We arrived in Mid September. The weather was perfect. There were still many crowds, and we could not help but be grateful not to have arrived in the height of Summer and at the height of the crowds. I feel it would be quite oppressive, but it’s all personal choice.
We stayed in Oia which we all fell in love with. The light and the sea seemed to dance and sparkle together and a different rhythmic dance depending on the time of day. It was beautiful. We stayed in a cave house in the very middle of Oia city centre. As most of you know, we have three daughters. To see their eyes and smiles when we were taken to our little home in Oia is something I hope to remember always. Ava was walking in between Michael & I at the time. She did a small leap at the time and threw an arm each around both of our shoulders as she bought us close to each other and just said ‘Thank you so much, Mum & Dad’. It’s the way she said it with both softness and grateful excitement. I tear up thinking of this moment even now. Looking up at Grace & Ettie and they actually had jaws dropped. The view before us was what you see on postcards and on Instagram. There was no fancy photoshopping. This was real, and it was spectacular.
Of an afternoon and evening, busloads of tourists arrive in Oia from other towns to come to witness a Santorini sunset. Rightly so, of course as it is spectacular. We got used to this, but we have never been fans of big crowds, so of a night, we headed to places that were a little less congested. This is where we stumbled across some of our best finds that in the following days, generous friends from home would share their favourite places with us also. To get to some of these places required a little determination but it was all part of the fun. We headed down quite a few times during our stay, down very steep steps to the side of the old castle (where all gather for the sunset). About a third of the way down, you are away from the crowds and can stop to enjoy the view from there. If you are a little more adventurous and pre-sunset, you can head all the way down the steps to find a small fishing village called Amoudi bay. We knew there was a little swimming spot down here however it is not as easy to spot until you walk a little further. We walked beyond a couple of what we later found to be incredible restaurants, around a corner and were delighted to see others swimming, diving and jumping off big rocks. It was pretty wonderful. On one of the nights, we ate down here at Katina’s. We shared some Greek mezzo which was fabulous and the best fava bean dip …..I have ever enjoyed (huge thanks to Kathy Tsaples for the tip). We also enjoyed red mullet, cooked over hot coals right before us. Grace commenced her obsession with fried cheese. Another night we ate at Amoudi taverna which was really memorable for all the very best reasons.
We had a fabulous family adventure day walking from Oia one morning to the town of Imerglovi. The caldera and the volcano are why Santorini is so unique and so glorious, and this is a great way to experience it. It was definitely a further walk than we had planned. I guess one should factor in the fact that you are walking up and down massive volcanic cliffs, but one didn’t. The girls were awesome and rose to the challenge. We arrived in Imerglovi rather parched, possibly looking a little on the warm and sweaty side but we found the eating place we were heading for and Michael has said this has been one of his favourite moments of the trip. We ate lunch at a restaurant called Imerglovi. Everyone was in such a great ‘happy place’ kinda mood and really, how could we not be? The food was lovely. The service was welcoming & fun and generous. After a couple of wines and trying what we were told was the more gentle of the grappa, we caught a bus home. A five hour round trip may have been asking a little much.
Other places I can highly recommend is Roka in Oia and Athenian house in Imerglovi.
Sunsets and the caldera are what Santorini is most famous for, but one of the most special for me was waking very early and sitting out on our little balcony. We were overlooking the sea, the sun not yet has risen and what struck me always was the silence. Various dogs and cats also seemed to have the right idea. You could spot them on random rooftops dotted across many of the cave houses, merely looking out, being still and perhaps, just like me, thinking to themselves ‘how lucky we all are’.
Below are some highlights from this unforgettable stay.
Thank you Santorini and thank you to all friends and family who shared their treasured places for us to enjoy also. We were and are so grateful to you.
You can catch up on our adventures in Milos here
Get Kathy Tsaples Greek Yemista recipe here