For as long as I can remember I have wanted to live out my Mamma Mia moment in Greece – I mean, who hasn’t dreamed of it? I thought this dream would become a reality spring of 2020 when I was studying abroad in Torino, Italy, but unfortunately COVID canceled our plans. But nonetheless, a young girl named Donna once said “Life is short, the world is wide. I want to make some memories." Which is why I decided to study abroad again in Rome with CEA, and this time Greece was at the top of my bucket list.
With my birthday fast approaching, I needed to take an epic trip. The stars were aligning and they were all leading toward Santorini, Greece. Before we book anything I like to check the travel requirements for each country, which is super important in this new COVID world we are living in.
And soon enough, we were on our way. Our first night in Santorini we stayed in Kamari, which is close to the black sand beach. (Although I learned that all the beaches on Santorini are black from the volcano.) Our Airbnb was right across from the beach, with a rooftop pool and the cutest baby kittens roaming around the property. After checking in, we headed into Fira to watch the sunset, which was of course nothing but spectacular.
After watching the sky turn all different hues of yellow, pink, and orange, we headed over to the restaurant Naoussa, which has a breathtaking view over the water. When we arrived we were eagerly greeted with a glass of the house white wine. We enjoyed some pita and tzatziki (highly recommended), the chicken souvlaki, moussaka, greek salad, and of course the homemade baklava. In between our dishes we heard some glass break and didn’t think too much about it. But soon enough the owner of the restaurant came out and began throwing ceramic plates everywhere, becoming the center of attention. I soon learned that Greeks smash plates to ward off evil spirits and express abundance. He certainly made our trip to his restaurant memorable and was everyone’s entertainment for the night.
We decided to walk around Fira after dinner to explore all the local shops and bars and stopped to get some souvenirs along the way. One of the shops we ran into had the fish pedicures and because it was so cheap, we decided we had to try it. It was a little ticklish at first, but my feet were definitely feeling softer after. We decided to get a nightcap at one of the local rooftop bars which had the best mojitos. Not too long after, we headed back to our Airbnb for a late-night swim and gyro, and then hit the hay.
The next morning we woke up at 6 a.m. to do a sunrise swim at the black sand beach by our Airbnb. The water was absolutely freezing, but it definitely wakes you up quickly. We had booked a 5-hour catamaran tour around the island through our Airbnb host, and it was nothing short of amazing. We got to see the red and white sand beaches, snorkel around the different islands, and enjoy the all-you-can-eat buffet. We had the best time and got to see so much of the island and learn about the history.
After our boat tour, we checked into our new hotel, the Dana Villas and Infinity Suites. The view from this hotel is literally to die for. We were greeted with some lemon juice, which sounds weird but was actually not as sour as you might think. We explored the property before we headed into Oia, which is known for having the best sunset in the world, and let me tell you they are not wrong. Although the Oia Castle is always pretty packed, try to find a place to sit down and enjoy the sunset because it is worth it. We ended our night in Oia with some kebabs and gyros at Pitogyro, which also has some really yummy fried cheese.
On our way back from Oia, we stopped in Fira for some gelato before we headed back to the hotel for another late-night swim. The next morning, we had breakfast brought to us so we could enjoy it out on our balcony before we headed home.
The weekend in Santorini may have been short, but it was nonetheless the most perfect trip ever, and the best way to spend a birthday. I cannot recommend Greece (specifically Santorini) enough, especially in the summer or early fall (when there are fewer tourists). The people are incredibly nice, the food is amazing, and the views are to die for.
Adaline Lee is a CEA Mobile Journalist spending the Fall 2021 semester in Rome, Italy. She is currently a student at Colorado State University.
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