Monday, 20 March 2017

Won Over by Thira

I have to admit that I simply love the Schengen countries. Just last year alone I visited three (Spain, Switzerland and Greece) and there are still more I want to visit. I have  Austria, France, Beligium (thanks to Hercule Poirot) and Italy. Talking about Greece, wow some of those stunning pictures that you see on the internet are real. Greece has got this historical charm which I just can't explain and one can't help but be taken in.

My trip to Greece was just after Switzerland. I left Geneva in the morning got to London and caught an afternoon flight to Greece. To be honest I was a bit disappointed when I got off the plane. It was not what I had expected. I was fresh from Switzerland where it is very modern and chic and Thira (better known as Santorini) was well different. I remember getting off the plane onto this small and not very modern airport and thinking 'is this it?' Greece is a historically rich country and the more time I spent there the more I loved it and appreciated it. It is not as developed as Switzerland or UK but it has a different kind of charm which will just steal your heart away. You will see from the pictures which I will share shortly.

When we went it was end of October and everything was closing down. It was some thing we didn't know - they have a time when the tourism business kind of closes down as people in Thira have their own breaks. We were the last guests in the hotel we stayed before they shut down and the restaurant we had dinner in the day we arrived was also serving its last meal. Despite this it was still quite busy and I cannot imagine what it will be like during peak season.

Thira or should I say Santorini is known for producing one of the best wines in the world. I was fascinated by how they grow their grapes - the grapes are made to grow on the ground and not upright as we are used to. Ok here goes - let the pictures do the talking. It is always hard to narrow down pictures to share.
Fresh off the plane. The ladies are ready for some adventures in Santorini.
This a map of the island. If I am not mistaken the length of the main island is just 18 km. 
We stayed in an area called Kamari. The weather wasn't too bad considering were I was coming from.
 Cocktails are a must for any holiday.😂 This cocktail bar was just a street behind were we were staying. 
A street in Kamari. 
After getting our cocktails it was befitting to lounge by the sea. 
There was this persist masseur who would not take no for an answer. He kept insisting that his messages were so good and we had to have one. In the end, with much reluctance Lovely agreed to a 5 minute foot massage. 
We even went night shopping in Fira which is the city centre. 
They do not have shopping malls the way they have in the UK and South Africa. The shops are just all over the place as you walk around the city centre.  
We went on a cruise. We were the only ones booked on the boat so we had the boat all to our selves. Thank God for the end of the busy season😊
Tried to brave getting into the water. I did but I was so scared. Next time I go for such a cruise I will be on point with my swimming. I am determined to learn to swim. 
Look at that view, it was breath taking. This is one of the things which would make anyone fall in love with Thira. I could get used to such sights. 
Of course we had to go to Santo Wines one of the wineries in Thira.
This was our wine tour guide. Check out the background. 
Off we go - the wine tour begins.
In one of the wine cellars. Lovely just had to pose with a bottle of one of the famous wines.
A barrel of the famous Santorini wine called Visanto. It is a desert wine and it was my favorite. 
The older the wine the more expensive. This was one of the 2010 bottles of Visanto. I think we got the 2012 ones instead if I am not mistaken - it was more friendly to the pocket. 
You cannot do the wine tour and then not do the wine tasting. Here we are enjoying the wines and the view. 
We made some friends. They had the 16 wine tasting option and they seemed to be enjoying. 
This must have been day 3 or 4. We decided to get close to the sea. 
A lovely view of the city. 
This is the cute little car we rented o drive around the island. We had to constantly remind each other that we had to be on the right side of the road. Yeah, we made it.  
An octopus hanging out to dry before being cooked at one of the restaurants we went to for lunch. 
All ready for lunch - and you guessed it that octopus was part of what I had. I love love sea food. 
I really loved the idyllic atmosphere in Thira. You could just sit having breakfast, lunch or dinner and see sights like this.  
This was my lunch and it was delicious - even the octopus. 
Just chilling by the bay after lunch. 
One of the things I loved in Thira was the architecture. I liked the different and unique buildings which are so different from what I am used to seeing. 
Sunset by the beach. 
Isn't this a beautiful sunset. I hope that one day I get to live by the sea. 
And now come the random pictures of the views and buildings. 
In parts of the island the buildings are built going down cliffs towards the sea. The views from such places are stunning. 
Lots of cruise ships stop over in Thira. Taking a cruise is on my Life's To Do List.
There are some areas which look desolate.

I guess by now you have realized that Thira is not one of those places were you see a lot of green around. Coming to thnk of it I do not remember seeing a lot of trees and when I did they were not big trees. 
Here is us driving around the island. There are a lot of rocks in Thira because the island is a result of  a repeated sequences of volcanic eruptions.  
There are also awesome wedding venues in Thira. Perhaps this couple was fantasizing about having a wedding here. We were fortunate to witness one wedding were there was a drone taking the video. The sad part of that wedding was that it was only the bride, groom, witness and marriage officer, a few more people would have made it merrier. I didn't take any pictures because I didn't want to intrude.  
See what I mean about the rocks, they are everywhere. 
This was the Red Beach and it is one of the beaches which can be accessed from land. There are some which cannot be accessed from land and you can only get there by boat. 

This picture was taken as we went down the cable cart. 
Although we went to Thira when things were slowing down I am glad we did. We managed to enjoy the island without hordes of other tourists. We learned that during peak times things get really hectic and there will be huge crowds. Thira is a popular tourist destination particularly for the British. I had a bumpy start with Thira but by the time I left I had fallen in love. Indeed first impressions can be deceiving.

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