The Amazing Simple Life: Santorini

The one dream island I’ve always wanted to visit as long as I remember was Santorini. Those amazing postcard images have been stuck in my head for years. My life is no Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but a girl can dream. And so when I was finally able to go, I was determined to make it as unforgettable as possible. I turned thirty last year, and I gifted myself with my own version of the simple life in Santorini.

santorini

Of course, I know that nothing about this trip was simple. But to actually live in a traditional cliffside cave house for a week, was as priceless as it comes. Never mind the daily grueling climb of the stairs which also served as my exercise to burn all the great Greek food I devoured.

The cutest villa and an amazing view.

 Imagine being greeted everyday by the magnificent waters of the Aegean Sea….

Santorini

… you’re welcome.

My Santorini Top Five:

1. The Money Shot – All of Santorini is picturesque, even the locals are a fine view themselves.  Everywhere I look was an opportunity for a photoshoot. Whenever I go on trips, I have this thing where I have to find that one perfect connection with a view or a landscape that will give me the perfect “money shot”. The view has to be breathtaking, of course and most of all, it has to be dramatic and it also has to make me feel like the queen of the world. Enough said.

The money shot.

The money shot.

2. The Coffee – Yes, I’m a coffee snob. An international coffee snob. I would like to think I have traveled extensively enough to judge a city or country by their coffee. And Greek coffee,or the iced cafe specifically did it for me. It has become my obsession during my week-long stay at the island. There must be something in the milk? Or how it was fresh all the time? Whatever it was, it was a great addiction. How did I even start drinking coffee again when I got home in the States?

coffee

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3.  The Donkey – This had to be the highlight of my visit to Fira. It was one of those once in a lifetime experience kind of thing and makes up for a great story. Even though I was starting to have second thoughts after seeing how these animals were treated, we were left with pretty much no other option after the cable car malfunctioned.  OK, maybe there were other options like being stranded at an abandoned old port or walk up the two-inched- donkey pooped- covered stone steps, all 600 of them. I’m all for animal safety, but I’m also all for my safety.

donkey sign

donkey4

donkey2

Who knew donkeys can be so adorable? I bonded with my loyal steed the whole time. I mean, my life depended on him during that whole experience. Stavros, as I called him, could have easily flung me off the cliff. Efharisto, Stavros, for that memorable moment. You will always be remembered in my Santorini stories.

My moment with Stavros.

My moment with Stavros.

4. The Seafood – You’re either a seafood lover or you’re not. There’s nothing in between. As a seafoodie, nothing makes my tummy happier than a plateful of crustaceans. Everytime I see those bulging shrimp eyes and magnificent lobster claws, my heart skips a beat. That is why I am  in love with islands and coastal towns and fishing villages. They all scream one thing. Fresh seafood. And Santorini was a seafoodie’s heaven. Efharisto, Poseidon.

Mussles, check. Octopus, check. Squid, check.

Mussels, check. Octopus, check. Squid, check.

Well, hello there ginormous shrimpies.

Well, hello there ginormous shrimpies.

5. The Sunset and The Stairs – It’s tough to sum up my amazing Santorini experience into top five favorites but I did my best. I couldn’t, however make up my mind between the sunset and the stairs so I gave the number five spot to both.

The Sunset – There are no words to describe the magnificence of the sunset in a breathtaking place like Santorini. It almost made me want to grab a random guy from the sunset-watching crowd just so it can be as romantic as a Hallmark moment.

Sunset at Oia.

Sunset at Oia.

Do blogs use hashtags? #nofilter

sunset drive

I vividly remember the cliff side drive from the airport. I don’t think I’ve slept for twenty-four hours plus I had a grueling Charles de Gaulle airport fiasco of missing a flight and dealing with people with attitude problems. Merci, Air France. But as soon as I drove off into that beautiful Santorini sunset, all was right in the world again and at that moment, I forgot all about the troubles behind.

The Stairs – Ah, the infamous stairs. If you don’t know that Santorini is synonym to stairs, then you need to do more research. It comes from the Greek word “σκάλες” which means “stairmaster”. Kidding. Santorini was named after Santa Irini  but that has absolutely nothing to do with stairs.

stairs2

stairs

I must say that when I left the island for Athens, my legs were longing for that elevation. And to top it off, all that stairmaster walking in Santorini was definitely good for the glutes.  Efharisto, Santa Irini.

Jen is a Chicago-based traveler and a full-time Director of Development for an arts & culture organization. Originally from Connecticut, she created Angel of Wanderlust as a place to share her travel stories and photos with friends and family. Now, it is a place for adventurers, explorers and dreamers. Its purpose is to inspire and encourage people to see the world and achieve a better work-life balance.