When some flights from Texas to Greece popped up for less then $400 round trip, I knew it was a sign to eat some gyros and gaze at some sunsets for Brett's birthday.
He also got the most amazing neck pillow, but I stole that because sister needs her sleep.
And, while we're talking about amazing things we brought - bless Paula's Choice. My favorite skincare line (seriously, my whole family swears by it) offers almost every single one of her products in sample size, so before a trip I load up because my skin royally freaks out after airplane travel.
Now, before we begin, you should know that Brett gained twelve pounds in the short time we were in Greece. If that's not a sign of a good trip, then I don't know what is. Just so you know.
Side note: We were supposed to get to Athens earlier than we did, but due to some flight delays, we didn't get to Athens until dinner. We had the best meal at Lithos, recommended by our amazing hotel O&B Athens Boutique Hotel. Our transfer to and from the hotel was arranged through the hotel, and since we left too early the next day to enjoy their free breakfast, they sent a breakfast box with us. Also, their bathroom was huge, which I feel is worth mentioning for some European rooms. Can't recommend them enough.
After a night in Athens, we flew a quick 45-minute flight on Olympic Air to Santorini. We were only in Greece for such a relatively short time, that we thought it worth it to fly rather than take a ferry.
Upon arriving, our delightful hotel Prekas Apartments picked us up from the airport. I'm so happy we stayed here - the village of Imerovigli is tranquil and beautiful. If you learn nothing else from this post, please remember Imerovigli. And remember Prekas Apartments - the owner is one of the most personable people I've ever met, the entire hotel had such stunning views, and each morning the most delightful breakfast tray would appear on our balcony.
Also, you should be warned - you can't flush toilet paper in Greece. But once you're over that, everything is a delight.
Also, going in October was such a good idea. I had read that October - the shoulder season - is perfect weather (hi, 70s!) and the island is only at 60% capacity...whereas in the high season, the island is at 100%. I cannot imagine.
After lots of, "Oh my word, can you believe this view?" Brett got the recommendation for the best gyros on the island. So off to Lucky's Souvlakis in Fira (about a 30 minute walk from Imerovigli) we went.
Also, I like to collect ornaments (hi, so does everyone else, I KNOW - but I love that our tree is ONLY ornaments from places we've been together) on our trips, as well as blue and white dishware. The villages of Fira and Oia hooked us up.
Whenever we go somewhere, we love to take a cooking class or a wine tour. Santorini Wine Tours was incredible. I feel like Brett and I have been to our fair share of wineries, and this was easily one of the most informative tours we've ever been on. Oh my WORD.
If you're especially into the whites like Pinot Grigio, you'll just adore Greece. But, I'm a reds-only gal and I still had the best time. I know I've read that people are like, "Greece has horrible red wine!" but I totally thought they had some of the best table reds I've ever had. But maybe my palette isn't refined enough.
That's definitely a possibility. #margaritapalette
Our tour guide, Michael, was the best. He used to be a sommelier for a restaurant, so instead of just teaching us about how Santorini gets four inches of rain a year, how the soil is volcanic, how the vines are nurtured to grow like baskets so that they're low to the ground and protected from the wind (which was all SO interesting), he was also able to comprehensively teach us about identifying flavor notes, wine pairings, and how to fool a sommelier into thinking you're a true wine snob. It was the best.
And, I don't want to brag, but I totally got a 99 on my Can-You-Fool-a-Sommelier demonstration. Just throwing that out there.
Also before you're like, "Is everything really THE best? It seems that everything is THE best on this." Know that I read THE worst books on this trip. Like, I literally cannot recommend a single one. So, don't worry - I'm only writing about the events that I want to remember and whole-heartedly recommend.
Speaking of, if you go to Santorini, you have to do a sunset caldera cruise. It was one of Brett's wedding gifts to me and although I was feeling a little seasick, it was the most magical time. I'd go back to Greece just to snorkel in the sea and eat fried, fresh fish on a boat.
But if really pressed, Brett and I would both agree the highlight of the trip (although it is really, really difficult to choose) would be renting an ATV from Makis Rental and driving all over the island.
Brett and I were in Santorini for three nights. We decided we could have stayed one more night, at most - but otherwise it was a perfect length. Had we been there for a little longer, we would have visited Perissa for the Black Sand Beach and Amoudi Bay for a traditional fish tavern. Brett would have probably also liked to hike Skaros Rock.
We flew back to Athens and, per Santorini Dave's recommendation, stayed at the Sofitel Athens Airport since our flight the next day back home was very, very early. We loved this hotel - the shower was huge, it was a few minutes walk to the airport, and we just took the nearby metro into Athens to see the Acropolis and eat at the most delightful locally-recommended restaurant.
We had intentions of doing one of Rick Steves' free walking tours of Athens, but I forgot my headphones in the hotel.