Monday, April 18, 2016

Santorini, Greece

Images of Santorini, the stuff honeymoons and wall calendars are made of. It is on many people's bucket list. It is a destination you save up for, you know, that unforgettable trip to the Greek Islands that you come back in debt from. We were prepared to drop our daughter's college fund on some fun in the sun. And what we discovered was you can get along pretty well on a shoestring budget. We rented a car, stayed in a highly rated hotel, and ate fairly well for a lot less of what we would have spent and any city in America for the same amenities...and it helps both the wallet and mentally to travel right at the beginning of the season. 

We'll let the photos speak for themselves.

One of the advantages of a 5 am flight is arriving during sunrise.
While Ana and family was camping out waiting for our hotel to open, I snuck off with a camera to capture a couple of shots.
Couldn't have asked for better weather.
And I thought there were a lot of mosques in Egypt.
The first day was spent walking around Fira.
One of the advantages of renting a car was the ability to drive to one of the many rock covered beaches.
A wedding/honeymoon destination for sure.
A top view of a couple of cave houses.
Workers were out in full force preparing for the onslaught of the season. We thought it was pretty manageable, people wise. I did imagine a game show with me on how long I could last during high season. Ana doesn't think I would last a week. She is probably right.
All steps lead to something good.
One of my money shots of Oia.
Keeping the theme of Greek dogs going.
Ximena is thinking of becoming a nun.
It really is inviting.

At the edge of Oia.
It was obligatory to taste wine. One of the more interesting wineries is Art Space. You get to sample both art and wine within a cave setting. The owner let us taste his products. We left with a bottle of Nychteri (Nychta translates to night) a blended dry white wine that gets its name from the grapes being harvested at night. The plan was to take the bottle back to Egypt. That idea lasted less than four hours. By 5 pm we were on the balcony of our hotel with the open bottle and a plate of cheese and olives. Maybe not the ideal pairing, but it worked for us.   

Vinsanto is a Santorini original that was co-opted by Italy. Raisin wine, tasty raisin wine at that. Grapes are harvested late in the season and sundried. An insane amount of grapes go into one bottle. I sampled several vinsantos and decided on a bottle from Venetsanos Winery. A mere 1400 bottles were produced though this label reads: 1403/1400...overproduction on an excellent vintage isn't such a bad thing.
The other money shot of Oia.
One of the best finds on Santorini was spotting a sight for the Industrial Tomato Museum. We followed it, paid our admission fee, and learned about the history of Santorini tomamto canning.
In 1952, the original factory contents were swept to sea after a series of heavy rains.
Because of the soil, Santorini tomatoes are extra salty.
One of the perks of visiting the museum is the staff will start a couple of the machines to enhance the moment.
View of the ferry port.
Look, another church!
Nothing makes a child happier than freshly washed stuffed animals.
The Fira view.
Donkeys are highly regarded in Santorini.
For sale.
The results of taking an unmarked road.
Big birds. A different kind of Swan Lake.
Already giving me attitude.
Getting ready for the sunset.
No filters.
I like these.
Might be unusual to live in one.
With Greek dogs, come Orlando featuring chunks in gravy.
Some more wine tasting. This little cellar was just off the road and for a couple of Euros you can taste just about everything. If you have your own bottle, bring it! They will fill it up for you.
Another game of follow the dirt road leading to a beach.
View of the island as we left on a ferry to Naxos.

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