Santorini & Crete, Greece (Part 1 of 2)

I can’t believe we are nearing the end of 2019 already, and that I’ve somehow managed to procrastinate writing. I’m trying my best to make time to get at least this post up before my next 2-week trip coming up soon. So here. we. go!

We last left off with our trip to Porto, Portugal in May 2019. Within the same month, we also made a trip to Greece! I’ve always wanted to visit Greece… how could I not after all those IG photos that I’ve been spammed with over the past few years? In Greece we went to 2 different islands — 4 days in Santorini and 3 days in Crete.

On Thursday, May 23, 2019 at 3:51AM we took a the train to the Geneva airport to catch our 6:29AM flight to Santorini. Yes, I started my day at 3AM. You can only imagine how my husband feels when I drag him around on my schedule~

After arriving at the small Santorini airport, we hop on a 10 minute taxi ride and arrive at our stay by 10:20AM. We stayed at Nonis Apartment, located in Fira. I would definitely recommend this location if not for the convenience, for the gorgeous view.

Here’s a shot of the pool just outside of our bedroom and bathroom window overlooking the volcano.

Literally the view from our room. No complaints here!

This apartment could have used some minor maintenance, but overall not anything serious like some of the other places that we’ve stayed at more recently this year. For the price, this spot is excellent!

We worked remote this Thursday. Mostly a mixture of indoors and outdoors to enjoy the different views. I made sure to pick a place with great wifi so that I could take meetings without issue.

These are the buildings surrounding where we stayed. It’s so white. We even saw workers repainting walls white to make sure that the structures remained clean.

For lunch we ate at Ladokolla and got a greek salad, this meat platter, and a variety of sides as an appetizer.

After lunch we went back to work. Eventually, it started getting darker and pretty in another way as the sun began to set. These are the steps that lead to our stay reception. I’ve caught so many people taking selfies of themselves on these stairs.

Isn’t the view amazing?

By now, it was about half past 7PM and I finally got to a place in my work where I felt good to sign off for the night. In hopes of catching the last bit of sun, we took our first stroll around Fira, just in time to catch the last glimpse of the sunset.

This is a shot of the sunset, taken in front of the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral. It’s really a great spot to catch the sunset, but also a very popular location as well.

If you’re looking for something a bit more intimate, I’m sure there are plenty of other hidden away nooks.

Once the sun had set, we continued to walk around and explore the small streets of Fira. Mostly everything were just shops and restaurants. Nothing too eye catching in my opinion, just mostly “nice” junk for tourist.

We ended up eating at Meat Corner Grill for dinner. It’s super cheap and really great food! I think we actually went back a couple of times too.

For dessert, Erick got some frozen yogurt from Chillbox. I think I’ve actually seen this establishment in another country, or at least the same idea…

On the way back to our stay after eating, we walked past this beautiful view of the island at night with all the lights. It’s a nice reminder that we are just surrounded by a mass of ocean. I like that feeling.

 


 

Day 2 in Santorini was just another Friday working remote. We did the same thing as Thursday, working both indoors and outdoors depending on how we felt throughout the morning.

For lunch, we grabbed a quick salad and wrap from Lucky’s Souvlakis. This place cost more than the other place, but it’s got some kinda charm to it.

We literally just went back to work after lunch until our 6:30PM reservation at Metropolis Str. This was the view from our table. I kind of screwed up though, because I booked the table too early and we finished eating before the sunset! Oops.

The food was good. Wish I could have ordered a lot more though! But we weren’t so hungry, and Erick caught a bad mood because the server ordered him the wrong dish, haha.

We didn’t stay for the sunset again this time around. I had to head back to our room due to a work emergency. I ended up working until past midnight that night @-@.

At least the sunset from our room was nice, and we managed to sneak in another quick late night snack and beer!! We even ate dessert in bed.

 


 

Today is the day that we got to explore!

Day 3 was Saturday. I woke up really early to wrap up my work and got it to a place where I could sign off for the weekend.

The plan for the day was to walk over to see the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church-Three Bells of Fira. There was construction going on at the church, so the front entrance wasn’t open. It caused a lot of confusion for tourist to try and figure out how to get to the backside of the church.

On the way while we were lost, we did stumble upon this breathtaking view.

We decided to hang out a bit longer at the nearby cafe, Volkan on the Rocks. I’d highly recommend this place for breakfast. The food was spectacular, they’ve got the views, and even their own brewed beer! What more can you ask for?

I miss the food already just looking at the photos *drool*.

Now that was a lot of carbs and sugar for one breakfast. It was tempting to just stay there the rest of the day trying all of their beers, but we still hadn’t seen the church!

Eventually we made it to the church. It wasn’t anything special. In fact it was so unspecial that I didn’t even edit the photos of it to add to this blog post, haha.

We snapped a few photos and headed back.

Later that day, we got picked up from a nearby tour shop. The van drove us to the southern side of the island in Vlichada.

There we got on a boat and went on a sunset cruise around the island. We looked at a red sand beach, black sand beach, then continued around to look at a the Akrotiri Lighthouse.

It was a bit upsetting because the tour made it sound like we would actually dock and get off the boat to enjoy each of these different parts of the island. But instead, we just stayed on the boat and looked from afar.

There were unlimited drinks and dinner served on the boat. The dinner wasn’t anything special, and I probably had too much too drink. Too much sun plus alcohol never seems to mix very well for me.

The sunset over the water was nice though. By the time we got back home, I was so tired that I just passed out.

 


 

The next day, we had an early lunch at a Chinese restaurant believe it or not. There was a surprisingly decent variety of foods on Santorini, more than Crete. We got beef noodle soup from a restaurant called Asia Club. Horrible name, but okay food.

After lunch, it was time to check out of our stay. We decided to take the day easy, so instead of sightseeing Oia, we skipped it to just head over to the port in Thira early. Boy was that a mistake. The port was not a nice place to hang out. It was under construction, extremely dusty, loud, and run down. There wasn’t many options for where to hang out, so we just sat out of a cafe. Considering how popular of a tourist destination Santorini is, I really had high expectations!

But all in all, Santorini was a great time (minius all of the fires that had to be put out at work).

From Santorini, we took a ferry via Seajets to Heraklion port. The ride was about 2 hours long. From there, we had a rental car delivered to us at the port and drove it about 2.5 hours to our hotel. Now that was a bad idea! This is why it’s good to do research before booking things, haha, oh well. No regrets.

We ended up getting to our hotel at Kavos Beach Apartments & Studios just after 10PM.

 


 

The funny thing about our drive is that we couldn’t see anything. It was so dark everywhere! We literally drove through half of Crete and had no clue what any of the island looked like. So the next morning when we woke up, we were really surprised to walk around and see how beautiful it really was.

We had 3 days to spend however we wanted in Crete. I even took PTO off for it, too!

Btw, notice the snow on the mountains in a distance? Yea, this is a big island alright.

Our hotel had breakfast included everyday, which was a nice treat since there really wasn’t anything else around us in walking distance. The closest places were at least a 15 minute drive away.

But at least they had a nice pool, pool side service, and the ocean surrounding us. Plus we were super close to some tide pools.

As a first stop in Crete, we visited the Agia Triada Tzagaroli Monastery. This was such a beautiful monastery, and actually my favorite of the 3 that we saw in Crete.

There is an entry fee to enter, like most of the other places that we went to around Crete, but the fee was small — no more than 3 Euros per person. We spoke to a few different workers and learned more about the monastery.

All of the monks are getting older, and there aren’t really any new ones, just one apprentice who was raised by the monks as a young child. So besides the entry fees, they survive off of donations, their farmlands, and believe it or not, their vineyards! Yes, they make wines, and good ones too! Your entry fee includes a free wine and bread & oil tasting.

Inside of the monastery, I noticed there were lots of cats. It’s hard to not want to take photos of them.

There are so many stunning views within the monastery grounds. It’s hard not to go photo crazy.

This is the back side of the actual church.

And more cordoors that evoke some sort of feeling inside of me.

Just outside the entrance, we found these kittens playing within the vines of a plant.

Wish I could have taken them all home!

The mom caught us with her four kittens and came walking over from across the parking lot like a queen. At first I was worried that she would be protective of her babies, but she was just there to monitor the situation.

The next stop after the monastery was port city of Chania. It’s the largest city near where were staying, which was roughly a 30 minute drive.

We started off near the Old Chania Market. From there we walked over to Pitses Mple for lunch and ordered some pasta, pizza, and salad to share. Then we made our way over towards the port.

Here’s a shot of the Lighthouse that’s located across the water from the maritime museum, neither of which we visited.

The Old Venetian Harbour was nice however.

There were tons of restaurants that lined the water. Closer inland, the water had a stinky smell, but it got a lot better as you walked out towards the sea.

It was nice walking around. We didn’t really have too much planned, but I enjoyed taking in the sights and observing people.

Before heading back, we swang by the market for some snacks. Back at our hotel, we grabbed a drink and then headed over to check out the local tide pools. It was a fun little adventure, but actually quite dangerous considering how sharp the rocks were.

To wrap up the night, we went out for dinner at Boy’s Taverna (To Steki), just a 15 minute drive from our hotel. The food was good! At the end of your meal, they also give you a dessert and several shots to finish. This was a nice way to end our Monday night.

 


 

Alright, that’s it for now. Part 2 of this post is coming soon, I promise! Until then~

x Sarah

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