Did you really think I was going to write a post completely dedicated to Greece and NOT make a “Mamma Mia” reference?
To think that I almost didn’t go to Greece. In the week or two leading up to going, I was just not as excited for some reason. But, honestly, I’ve been in a weird place lately. So, I think I was just getting myself anxious and paranoid over nothing. But I am SO glad that I went.
I had a long layover in Paris, France, where I had planned on going to Brussels and back. That trip would have made Belgium the 29th country I’ve been to, so Greece would be #30. That did not happen.
After two flights already – Boston to Atlanta, and Atlanta to Paris – I was exhausted. When I got to Paris, and I finally found my way out of the airport, I decided to first stop at my hotel. I desperately needed to take some things out of my bag. Then, I decided to take the train from Charles De Gaulle airport to the station in Paris, where I’d take the train to Brussels. The Universe had other plans, though.
As I walked in, a policeman came up to me and started speaking very quickly and loudly in French. I thought maybe I’d gone in the wrong way, so I asked him if I had done something wrong. He started spouting off in French again, at which point I stopped him and asked if he could say everything he’d just said but in English. It turns out something had happened at baggage claim – right by the train station – and it was “very dangerous,” so they were evacuating. That meant no trains. I looked into taking the bus, but it would have taken forever, and I’d have missed my train. Also, cabs were way too expensive and would still take a long time. So, I decided not to go. (Side note, next time I’m in Paris, I am absolutely taking a Moto Uber).
Instead, I went to Paris for a few hours. Which, I can’t (and won’t) complain about. I didn’t have a plan; I just asked which bus would take me close to something cool and ended up near the Opera House. Fitting, since I love to sing. And there was a little area named “Madeleine” right by it! After that, I went to Sephora (of course) because I needed nail polish to fix my manicure. I walked into some other shops, had dinner, and got some macarons before heading back to my hotel to get some sleep. I had an early flight the next day.
Honestly, being in Paris for the few hours I was there that day reminded me even more of how much I love it. I could see myself doing some “Emily in Paris” type of thing – except, you know, “Madeline in Paris.” To start, even though everyone says French people are rude, I don’t get that. Everyone I encountered was so friendly and helpful. I mean, in the stores, I had some women like push past me, but that happens everywhere.
Also, French guys LOVE me. I have some theories for why that I won’t get into. Still, I can easily say that one French guy made me feel more appreciated, more beautiful, and more understood, and was just generally more romantic than every other guy I’ve been with – combined. So, I like French guys. They like me. It’s a match. What I’m getting at is that I’ve decided I need to marry a French guy, so moving to Paris seems to make sense in making that happen.
But I’m digressing. So, let’s move on to Greece.
After a flight delay with no communication and a 3-hour flight sitting in what was probably the most uncomfortable airplane seat, and the least amount of legroom I have ever experienced, I arrived in Santorini!
I got to my hotel, Petit Palace, and oh my goodness, it was beyond beautiful. Check-in was a breeze, and my room was gorgeous. So spacious, the bathroom was huge, and the view from my balcony was insane. I could not believe that I would get to walk out to that view every morning of my trip!
After a quick late lunch at the hotel, I took the shuttle into Fira, the main town in Santorini. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but it was so fun! It’s filled with cute shops, bars, and restaurants. There were so many stores that sold custom shoes; I was fascinated.
I was already regretting not bringing a good hat on my trip, so I got a cute sun hat, found a place that sells alcohol to-go and had my first Aperol Spritz, and snagged a great spot to watch my first Santorini sunset. It was gorgeous; I took so many photos. After, I went back to my hotel and got some sleep to get ready for my first full day.
My first trip adventure was a vineyard tour and wine tasting that I did with Santorini Wine Tours, and I honestly could not recommend it enough. We visited three local vineyards; there are so many great vineyards there that I think they change it up. I can’t remember the third name, but the first was Art Space Wine, and the second was Artemis Karamolegos. I think the third was Venetsanos, which is one of the most famous ones. At each place, we also had some food like cheese and crackers and things. So many olives, I loved it.
At the last spot, we also had a fantastic view of the caldera too. I was with three couples, and they were all so lovely, we had a wonderful time. I tried different types of Assyrtiko (which I love) and a few other types of wine, I liked them all. Even the dessert one! Nobody else did, but I like the sweet stuff.
After the wine tour, I went back to my hotel and relaxed before walking from Fira to Imerovigli. Google Maps and my hotel told me it would only take 25 minutes, but it took me almost an hour. It was uphill, mostly, and in heeled sandals! Then again, I did go a kind of weird way to avoid this guy from my shuttle who was trying to get me to invite him to hang out with me.
I was able to get a last-minute reservation at The Wine Bar, which was honestly probably one of the best meals I’ve ever had. To drink, I had the Santorini Spritz to drink and the shrimp saganaki. I also had a PRIME view of the sunset. Everyone told me Oia had the best sunsets, but, spoiler alert, Imerovigli was my favorite. It was also probably my favorite town in Santorini, but I was just getting started!
On my second day, I was initially planning on doing a horseback riding tour on one of the black beaches, but I decided to cancel it and spend the morning by the pool instead. I had a visit from a stray dog while I was there! I think she was pregnant. Then, I took the shuttle to Fira and, from there, the bus to Oia.
My first stop was an essential visit to a cafe for an iced coffee, or “frappe.” Then, I wandered around the shops – there are so many! Everyone was so kind and welcoming; I ended up having so many conversations with people. Greek people are great. I wanted to visit Atlantis Books, but sadly it ended up being closed the week I was there. So instead, I started to do a bit of souvenir shopping for my family and eyed some gorgeous jewelry (someday!).
I also walked to the castle overlook and got some perfect shots of the view. Then I wandered some more before I had dinner. I found a place called Thalami, and I was thrilled because they had spanikopita, one of my favorite foods. I tried the Mediterranean pasta – I could honestly eat a whole bowl of their capers. The food there is so fresh and so delicious. I miss it already.
After dinner, I thought about staying for the sunset, but it was just so crowded. So, instead, I found a spot where I could see the start of it and then took the bus back to Fira. I had a glass of wine at Town Bar and chatted with the bartender and another employee for a bit. The bartender told me that she gets solo travelers a lot, but my “story” was that my friend/former roommate was joining me from Greece the next day. But, they confirmed that my name is Greek – which someone the day before told me it wasn’t – and we talked about astrology.
Then, I went back to my hotel to get some sleep! There was one couple from New Jersey and Florida that I ran into almost every time I took the shuttle – isn’t there always that one person/family you see multiple times on a trip? We always had them when we went on cruises. I guess they were the Greece version.