I was not sure if I could get any higher spiritually after my second trip to Paris. I had been traveling for 21 days on another solo travel adventure and was making my final approach. I had three days left of my trip before it was time for me to return to Athens and head back to the States. My vacation had been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride from moments of extreme highs to frustrating lows but I was back on the ascent. Revisiting Paris had been a dream and a spiritual boost but I was anxious to get to one of, if not the most, beautiful places I had ever been to, Santorini, Greece.
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Are we there yet?
I had taken a chance and booked my one-way flight from France to Greece with a European budget airline I had never heard of, Volotea Airlines. The only catch was the fact that I would need to get from Paris to Bordeaux, a 6-hour ride. That was not too much of a problem for me though because in Summer 2016, I traveled throughout Europe via bus and knew that OuiBus was clean and reliable. I knew I would be pushing it a tad with my personal airport arrival comfort zone, but more than likely I would be fine. Well, to my surprise, when I was in my Uber and he asked for my flight information, he told me my flight was retardé, or in English, delayed. I was caught off-guard because there were no alerts in my phone or email but it was showing on the Bordeaux airport website.
Upon arriving at the airport I saw one lengthy line, the Volotea Airlines line I needed to be in, and saw that there was a two-hour delay. In order to compensate for our inconvenience, we had been given a €5 voucher. I had a quick bite, proceeded through security, and looked for a screen to direct me to my gate. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the flight originally scheduled for 8pm was now to depart at midnight and there had not been ONE announcement. Oh, I was pissed at this point. I huffed and puffed to the gate that appeared to be in a satellite building only to find that there were no airline representatives in the terminal. In fact, I had only seen one airport employee and immediately thought about how much of a predicament they placed us in. It was like a cage of drunken and delayed passengers with no answers. Eventually, we did take off around 12:40am and I landed at 5am, but I had officially lost an evening in Santorini. At the end of the day though, I was safe and needed to make up for lost time.
Where I Stayed
The one good thing about landing at 5:00 in the morning was the fact that I was able to watch the sunrise. As per tradition, I always attempt to see the sunrise / sunset if I will be near the beach or a rooftop. It’s almost like a daily check-in with God for me and a reminder of his creativity. Because I was staying in Perissa, I was able to see the sun rearing its head by what looked like a volcano. I couldn’t see too much around me because I was officially delirious but when my taxi dropped me off at my hostel, Anny Studios, I gasped at how close I was to the beach. It was a 90-second walk that I knew I was going to take full advantage of.
The night guard must have known how miserable I was because she simply asked me for my passport and let me know that I could handle the financial matters once I woke up. Thank God for mercy. After arising and checking my room out, I was astonished to see that the all-female dorm meant for 6 women was empty! It was just me, and if you know anything about hostels, you know that this is a God-send and it feels like it’s your birthday. I even had air-conditioning (a luxury) and a kitchen. The icing on the cake was how gracious and friendly the staff were. We had great conversation and they were ready to assist in booking tours and providing suggestions for what to do during my 48 hours in Santorini.
By chance, I met a woman by the name of Brittany while relaxing at the pool bar and our conversation stuck with me. We both had interesting family dynamics- me being adopted, she being estranged from her mother. What got me the most was the fact that she was traveling alone for 6 weeks… in honor of her late husband. She was completing the trip that they wanted to take prior to having kids but decided that she was still going to do it alone. I was incredibly touched and felt like I was supposed to have that conversation with her. We talked a lot about being intentional with our lives… and where I could have some great drinks on the island. Our conversation reminded me about why I loved hostels. I get to meet some fabulous people that I might not have crossed paths with otherwise and they always leave me with a lesson.
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See What Had Happened Was...
Now, I had all intentions of taking Santorini by storm. I wrote down each of the activities I wanted to do in my travel journal and thought I was ready to go… but then I stepped out onto the main street and looked at the beach. I was still fatigued from a full day of traveling and longed to be in the water. I had gone swimming while in Budapest but I had not been to a beach since my birthday, so we know where that went.
What were some of my original plans?
- Rent an ATV and go to the infamous Red Beach
- Visit the Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum (I’ve heard great reviews)
- Take a sunset cruise with
I am sure I would have had an absolutely marvelous time doing these things, but I decided to listen to my body and go with the flow. After all, I had been traveling for 3 weeks and it was winding down. The reason why I chose to spend my 48 hours in Santorini over Mykonos was so I could relax and be a bum without shame. I believe I made the right decision. I already know in my head that I want to return and now I have something to look forward to.
Where I Actually Played During My 48 Hours In Santorini
I would not have forgiven myself had I not taken advantage of residing steps away from the beautiful black sand beach that is Perissa. My hostel friend Brittany highly recommended The Beach Bar and that was my first stop because I was starving and already two drinks in courtesy of my hostel. After enjoying my meal I was able to relax on the beach chairs and continue ordering cold beverages to combat the heat. I splashed around in the pebbly beach and I am almost positive I took a slight nap under the sun.
Later, I knew that I needed to make my way to Oia to observe the famous sunset. I wanted to get there early enough to walk around before the crowds came, and that was a great choice. My favorite part was the fact that I was finally wearing a dress I specifically purchased for Santorini and while I looked like Belle, I felt like Cinderella. While I was basking in the sheer beauty of Oia, I was stopped many times by men and women to compliment me on my dress. I felt like a princess and if I could live in that dress, I would. I kept stopping while walking around Oia because it was just so gorgeous. The flowers, the white-washed walls, the hues of blue, the water’s reflection, I was in heaven. It was probably the most beautiful sight I had been to thus far and after such a journey during the previous three weeks, I was reaping the rewards.
Once the sun had set, I went to Fira to see what all of the buzz was about and Fira was shaking! Perissa was a quieter side of the island but Fira was full of souvenir shops, restaurants, and tourists taking over. I wanted a quick bite to eat and settled upon lamb and pork skewers that satisfied my stomach. It was only a Tuesday night but the streets were alive and so was I. I walked around aimlessly for a bit and saw a sign for €5 long islands and that was enough to get me in to 2 Brothers Bar. Let’s just say while I planned to leave the bar at 10pm, I left around 11:45. In true Cinderella fashion, I had to get on my bus back to Perissa by midnight or I was going to be stuck. However, let me also say that every staff member was gorgeous and one of the bartenders Vasilis was great. I appreciated him taking care of me. I would certainly return. *wink wink*
The next day I felt inclined to continue my relaxation at the Perissa beach even though I knew I only had 48 hours in Santorini. It was my vacation and #IDoWhatIWant. I decided to eat a nearby restaurant, Ramaya Beach. My ego was lifted when the waitress said she recognized me as the woman in the yellow dress and made me a special cocktail. My meal was delicious and I retreated to the beach chairs again. There were hardly any vendors pestering you, unlike the beaches I visited in Cancun or Cartagena so I was truly able to unwind. I don’t even know how long I stayed but I had an enjoyable time in the water and felt accomplished once I had some new tan lines.
What to Know Before You Go to Santorini
Santorini is definitely a manageable island if you plan your time accordingly. In case you plan on going, here are some extra tips.
- The black sand beach is HOT! The pebbles are from volcanic origin and you really want, no NEED, to bring closed toed shoes. I walked without shame in my chucks on the sand while other people were running to and from the water after my learning my lesson the first time.
- You cannot drink the tap water so stock up on bottled water. The heat will serve as your reminder.
- The wine will get you lit quickly, especially if you’re dehydrated so be careful! Don’t be that person getting carried home.
- The bus system is efficient but you might end up standing on it because they pack it like cattle. Cabs are expensive, but that’s probably because a bunch of the vehicles are Mercedes-Benz.
- Don't forget that you are in Europe and topless beaches are a thing. They don't shock me as much anymore but I felt like I should warn you. ;-)
- If you plan on traveling via ferry, book it ASAP! I waited a few hours and ended up paying double, but at least it was a nicer boat.
- Helmets aren’t mandatory for ATV rentals but because the island is steep, I would recommend it.
- All roads lead to Fira! If you plan on staying elsewhere like I did, just know that you will pass through Fira quite a bit.
My Overall Impression of Santorini
Up until this visit, I thought that whenever I got married, I would want to honeymoon in Italy. Change of plans! Santorini wins hands down but I would not mind going again by myself. Gorgeous doesn’t captivate just how stunning it was and I could only wish I would have had more time. In comparison to Paris, the prices were reasonable and the people were gracious. Maybe it is because I looked like a black Cinderella but it was the perfect ending to my trip. I see why so many people fall in love because while I was only able to enjoy Santorini for 48 hours, it became unforgettable.
Have you visited Santorini before? What was on your itinerary?
P.S. Want to read about my 5 best and worst moments from my trip? Check back in on Monday because I’ll be spilling the tea!