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Animals of Santorini: The Dogs

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

These cuties, just, ugh! As I stated in my last post, there are a ton of dogs around Oia, and they were the most well-behaved, sweetest dogs! Not one of them barked at us, or anyone for that matter! They were either content with relaxing, or just wanting to play! The dog in picture 3 was our absolute favorite. He hung out around Church of Panagia, and if you're in Santorini, you can probably still see him there! It broke my heart that he didn't have a ball to play with, instead, he had found this broken piece of a building or something from somewhere, and brought it over to us to throw to him to catch! If you're heading to Santorini, bring this cutie a ball! He would literally be the happiest animal ever.

There were also a lot of cats in Oia, although I only got two pictures of these cats when we visited Thirassia, so I'll include them in that post. But the cats were super sweet too. One of the nights we were exploring the side streets of Oia, we came upon a group of cats, and there was this one all-white cat who was one of the most loving cats ever! I spent about 10-15 minutes just petting him, and every time we'd start walking to leave, he'd follow us and purr, just wanting to be pet more!

I don't think many of these dogs and cats were actual pets, but I have no doubt they are well taken care of and loved, by the Greeks and tourists alike. Many of the stores had cat/dog food and water by their entrances, which made me very happy to see.

If you're in Santorini, plan to be charmed by the scenery, the people, and the animals alike. The animals were most certainly a large part of that charm! I hope that my pictures convey some of that. Till next time!

Animals of Santorini: The Donkeys

Monday, June 22, 2015

Going to Santorini I had the intention of getting that amazing portrait of an old Greek grandma or grandpa, smiling widely, toothlessly, or drying the laundry outside, or just slowly walking over to the neighbors house for some Greek coffee. I had several amazing opportunities, but was too shy to ask. So instead, I decided that the next best thing would be portraits of animals! There are sooo many dogs in Santorini, particularly in Oia, just out and about, without owners. So I started taking the dog's portraits whenever we went to Oia, knowing that I'd want to post about the dogs on my blog. 

But, I'm digressing, we're here to talk about the donkeys! When we finally saw the donkeys, I knew that I wanted to make a post about them too! When you think of Santorini, one of the images that comes to mind is a donkey with a Greek grandpa overlooking the cliffs and ocean, right? Well, that's the case for me at least. However, the only place we actually saw donkeys in Santorini was on the trail down to the port in Fira. (Edit: We did also see donkeys on Thirasia). The day we went on our volcano tour, we were running late, and so instead of taking the lift because we thought it would take too long and we'd miss our boat, we ran down like crazies, and lo and behold, finally ran into the donkeys! These cuties just line the trail, patiently waiting to give people rides up and down. My favorite picture has to be the first one, because I also got the Greek grandpa in it! The donkeys are very sweet though, and very well-trained. We didn't ride them because I was personally against riding them considering we can walk just fine, but it certainly would be a cool experience I'm sure! So on your visit to Santorini, if you want to see the donkeys, go down the trail to the port in Fira. The hike back up from the port is a killer though,  (we also walked back up after our tour), so if you just can't go on, there's plenty of donkeys to help you out! 

Life is a Beach: Santorini

Sunday, June 21, 2015

These are pretty much the beaches we hung out at. The water was clear and clean, although bone chillingly cold when you first enter. If you happen to have a wet-suit, I would bring that if you really want to swim around longer than say 10-15 minutes. The rocky sand also gets scorching hot, so I also suggest having water shoes to walk around in. Your feet will thank you! Overall, we loved every moment we spent lounging at these beaches. I can't wait to check out the Mykonos beaches in the future! 

Red Beach. Nestled inside the remnants of a volcanic blast, Red Beach is unlike any other I've ever seen. The red volcanic rock gives this beach an almost other-worldly feel, almost as if you're trekking across Mars, but with the addition of beautiful shades of cool turquoise water. It is a bit of a hike down to the beach, so people with any walking issues would have difficult access to this beach. But, you can still get a great view from where I took this picture, without the hike. 

Vlyhada BeachAnother beach unlike any other. The grooves in the mountains look like the surface of the brain! There weren't many people here, so you can sit back and enjoy the crashing of the waves with this amazing mountain backdrop for as long as you'd like! There is a restaurant right at the entrance just in case you'd like to enjoy a drink, or two! 

Kamari Beach. Dominik's favorite. On this side there are a lot of places to do some epic cliff jumping from. I did an epic cliff jump of about 5 feet. Lol. Because we were there shortly before the tourist season officially began, there were always plenty of beach chairs available. The restaurant staff are hustling on this side to get you to eat at their establishment, but it's all about the same. We enjoyed the food here in all but one restaurant, which I will write about later, where after eating there we both got pretty bad...let's just say stomach aches. ;) But, that was our one and only questionable dining experience there. Otherwise, we enjoyed ever moment! 

Perissa Beach. Located on the opposite side of the mountain from Kamari Beach. My favorite for lounging around. The water seemed gentler on this side. I'd like to give a shoutout to George, our server from the restaurant we always chose the beach chairs from. One of the days we were there it was particularly windy, and Dominik had left to go take care of the bill. A strong gust of wind hit, and the padding from Dominik's beach chair literally flew up and slapped right into my face! The wind was that strong!  I couldn't even push the padding back down because the wind was still going so strong, and the next thing I know George is there to help me out, and he says, "Superman is here to save you!" Haha. It was quite embarrassing to get hit in the face with the beach chair padding, but it would've been hilarious if it had been caught on camera! 

If you've traveled to Santorini, let me know how your beach experiences were! 

Avianto Suites

Sunday, June 7, 2015

After quite a bit of a hiatus, I'm finally back! May was an adventure filled month to say the least; I graduated, traveled to one of the most beautiful places in this world, Santorini, Greece, danced my feet off in Las Vegas, and started preparing for my big-girl job. Now that things have finally settled down somewhat, and after letting everything soak in, I'm ready to reminisce on some amazing memories we created. I want to start off by talking about our hotel in Santorini, Avianto Suites, located in the idyllic village Imerovigli. Imerovigli was the perfect village for us. It's quiet and away from the hordes of tourists that Fira and Oia have. Fira is only a 30 minute walk away, and we walked there several times. I don't know what I can possibly say to describe how amazing this hotel is. The location, the scenery, the food, the staff, the everything, was perfect!

Right when we arrived and Dominik went to check-in, I sat down on one of the sun chairs, and just stared out into the blue haze of water and sky, intermixed with volcanic rock and desert island, in disbelief of the beauty my eyes are so lucky to have seen. It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen. Our room, the Fabulous Suite, looked over this view, and I felt so grateful that this is what we would be waking up to every morning for the next 6 days.

A few things about the hotel. Anyone who's ever traveled to Europe knows to expect that rooms will be small. The room is small, but clean and comfy. The size itself is nothing that bothered either of us. Breakfast was included, and there was an amazing variety of choices to choose from every morning, including Greek omelet, salad, fruit, desert, toast, juice, coffee, champagne- we weren't left wanting for anything more! We also had the choice of what time we wanted breakfast to be set up for us, and the staff was always prompt, and extremely friendly. Finally, I would highly recommend a car for getting around the island. Although there isn't a parking space associated with the hotel, there is a large parking lot right across the street, that costs a mere 2 Euros per day. Even the parking lot has amazing scenery.

I would give this hotel 5/5 stars, and would recommend it to everyone and anyone. If we ever do go back, I would stay there again without a doubt. Let me know if you guys have ever stayed there and what your experiences were!

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