Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Santorini, Greece

I couldn't imagine touring the islands of Greece without spending a little time in Santorini. Coming from Naxos the number of tourists was definitely overwhelming, but the scenery made my jaw drop. A a massive volcanic eruption 3600 years ago created the dramatic, 1000ft high cliffs where the main cities are perched. The resulting landscape is distinctively dramatic and beautiful.

My first day on the island was spent getting my bearings in the city of Oia, the oldest settlement on the island. The streets were packed with people shopping, snapping photos and claiming great spots to watch the sunset.

Sunset in Oia is legendary, so tourists start crowding every inch 'sunset view' space hours before the sun actually goes down. Instead of fighting the crowds, I escaped to the adorable Panorama Apartments. It's a bit of the walk from the city, but the view from upstairs is unmatched. The apartments are owned by an old husband and wife who don't speak english, but provide excellent accommodation at a much better price than the resort style hotels in Oia. 

The hike from Oia to Fira was a great way to explore the landscape and experience a variety of views of the caldera (the collapsed center of the volcanic eruption currently filled with water). The sun was merciless, so a hat was crucial for the hike. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Naxos, Greece- Part 2

There's nothing like a day of getting lost in the nooks and crannies of tiny old towns and exploring places I could never google. The island of Naxos offers all kinds of big beautiful towns for tourists to enjoy, but one of my favorite experiences on the island was hiking from the tiny village of Halki to Filoti. The trail was barely marked so it took a couple of wrong turns and some casual encounters with hungry goats before I arrived at my destination. I unexpectedly ran into a couple of locals who invited me into their home for Greek coffee, water and travel advice which left me feeling delighted and refreshed.

To see more of Naxos, see Part 1 of the blog.

I'm not one to fawn over purchasing quirky souvenirs, but Penelope's precious shop in Halki featuring her breathtaking work. She hand weaves every cloth item in her store ranging from bags and totes to stunning runners and tablecloths. Her enthusiasm for her art was clear as she showed me how to work her loom and told stories of her grandparents and great grandparents using the same designs and patterns that she uses today.