Friday, May 8, 2009


It is said in Santorini there are "more churches than houses, more donkeys than people and more wine than (usable) water" --- definitely our kind of place!
My parents traveled to Santorini on a Greek cruise a decade ago. I remember my mom's glow about the entire experience and especially how she LOVED Santorini. I remember thinking way back then - I just must find a way to get there one day. It was a highlight of our trip and indeed one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
The gleaming white buildings juxtaposing the deep blue church domes were just as I had imagined they would be. Although I really never dreamed how perched atop the cliffs the cities of Santorini would be.
When we arrived via early morning flight from Athens we shared a cab and had the driver, Marco, take us on a taxi tour of the island. It was a bit of a splurge, but definitely got us excited about our destination and more reasonably priced when halved with the Proctors. For anyone reading this and staying overnight in Santorini, if I had to redo the experience we would probably have rented a car instead of taxi-ing everywhere --- it adds up quickly. We did try to take the public bus but it was very unreliable and infrequent. Just a tip! But Marco took us from one end of the island to the other...from the picturesque town of Oia to the Red Sand Beach and through Fira. It took ~2 hours; Santorini is remarkably large. We were probably 5-10 minutes ahead of the cruise boat crowds on our taxi tour so that was helpful.
In the afternoon we relaxed in our hotel - Sunny Villas - in Imerovigli. It was perfect for our two families as the two rooms shared a common public courtyard entrance and large sun patio overlooking the ocean. We put the kids down for their naps and went out on the porch to read books during a rare peaceful moment without toddlers. It was terrific - until Connor crawled out of her crib onto the tile floor (miraculously she was fine, just a small bump on her forehead and a scared ego - we pray she learned her lesson) and Brady couldn't get to sleep. Oh well. Hard to complain about interrupted naptimes when you are in paradise!
That night we went back to Oia and had a scrumptious dinner at a restaurant called Ambrosia and Nectar. There is a sister restaurant down the street called Ambrosia. But Ambrosia and Nectar is a little less fancy and more affordable. We had the best waiter I have had in Europe. Christos fell hard for Connor and she was enchanted by him too. They made quite the flirtatious pair! Even though we hadn't ordered it, Christos brought us a free appetizer of warm feta cheese wrapped in phylo dough. It melted in our mouths. Yum!!! The combination of delicious food, overlooking sunset on the Aegean Sea in Santorini, well-behaved children, and classy service was a home run. Plus it was pretty inexpensive on top of all of that. Three cheers for Ambrosia and Nectar!
Overnight we were pretty chilly in our rooms. The island really cools off in the evening. And somehow we couldn't figure out how to work the heat. So we shivered, but they delivered breakfast to us in the morning on our sun porch so that made up for it!
I would say that even though Santorini is gorgeous, it is not the easiest place with little kids given all the stairs everywhere and very little space for kids to RUN and get the energy out. It was not that the kids detracted from our experience, it is just probably that much better as an 'adults-only' spot.

We walked around Fira and had lunch overlooking the donkey path up from the cruise ship port. Definitely a more commercialized area of the island, but that is sometimes interesting too. We had hoped to go to the Santos winery but just couldn't seem to get the public bus system to work for us so we gave up - not wanting to spend any more on taxi rides.
That evening we bid our goodbyes to Santorini and sped away on high speed ferry to the island of Crete. Poor Karen and Brady got very sea sick on the ferry, so maybe these early photos of Brady and Connor laughing and teasing each other before the nausea won't bring back happy memories....but it was an experience nonetheless!Click here for more photos of our fun in beautiful Santorini (full album)

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