What Athens in Santorini, Stays in Santorini

When we were first planning our trip to Greece, we had decided that we probably wouldn’t like Santorini a whole heck of a lot and only wanted to spend one night on it. But again, in classic fashion, it turned out to be our favourite island that we visited while we were in Greece.

When you first get there, you’re down at sea level in the port looking up at the massive cliffs, and the only road that gets you down there. It honestly looked like something out of one of the Flintstones movies. To be honest, it kind of made us both a little speechless, which everyone knows NEVER happens! We had to find a shuttle to our hotel that we booked right before we left Ios, and just walked in to one of the first places we found. Something that we would have never done on any of our other trips, but we realized in Europe it really didn’t matter since they don’t barter, and everyone is selling the same service for the same price. Luckily, the first one we walked into was pretty decent and the guy ended up loving us. There were other people in front of us that were being dicks to him so when it came to our turn, we made sure to be extra nice. He gave us a bit of a discount, and gave us a map where he circled his friends bar, wrote free shots, and told us to visit him.

When we got into our van, the temperature gauge said it was 40 degrees outside. We can only imagine how hot it would get in peak summer there. We got to our hotel, Villa Murano, and were a little mind blown by it. The first two things we did were things that we couldn’t do on Ios: rented a quad, and picked out a winery to go too. The girl at our reception told us about Santo Winery and said it was the perfect place to go for sunset. We agreed to go and literally had ten minutes to get ready. When we got there, we somehow managed to snag a very sick spot for sunset, and also ordered a 10 glass wine taster each with a big cheese board – talk about goals. We were told that the shuttle would come back for us at 9:30 and thought that it would give us way too much time, but it honestly almost wasn’t enough.

The next day was the summer solstice and we had decided that we wanted to wake up to watch the first sunrise of summer. We woke up, regretted our decision, got dressed, and headed out to our quad. We literally had no clue where to go since we didn’t have anytime to check anything out except the winery the night before. We took our left over cheeseboard and were off. We managed to find a cool little spot, and just chilled while the sun rose.

We had very big ambitions after that and decided that once we grabbed some coffee, we were going to hop on a tour to some hot springs and a volcano, check out Oia, and hit up some beaches. Buuuuut someone decided to sit out too long the day before and ended up with a touch of heat stroke (not naming any names). We eventually made it out to Oia at around lunch time, and let us tell you, NEVER go out there at that time. We managed to find a place to park only because we had a quad, but just because we had a place to park didn’t mean there was room for us to walk. The streets were ridiculously busy and crowded. We’re talking shoulder to shoulder with people. Which is definitely not our scene. We ended up spending the rest of the day bee bopping around on the quad, refusing to pay to visit different beaches, and finding some tasty treats to eat.

We were planning to stay in Santorini for another day, but our hotel didn’t have any availability left. Before we left, we decided that we would get up for sunrise and head out to Oia again, and hoped that the crowds would be gone. We were right, and had such an amazing morning exploring around the streets and cliffs. We came back with just enough time to return our quad, and head down to the port to get our ferry to Athens!

Athens was our last stop in Greece. As we were heading there, we knew it was going to be a place that we would like. We like hectic, we like crazy, and we like wild. All of which big cities normally embody. The ferry ride there was longer than the others, but we were on our favourite line so it didn’t seem bad at all (side note: not sure if having a favourite ferry line makes us old or what). Once we got off of the ferry, it was extremely easy to find a taxi as there is a queue that you can get directly into. It didn’t feel like we were getting ripped off either which is a nice change for having to take a taxi. (First one we took all trip!)

Our first choice for a hostel was completely booked up, which in part was our fault since we didn’t prebook anything. But, if you were following along, you would have seen how easily our plans kept changing on this trip. And honestly, pre booking stuff stresses us out just as much as not booking things does for other people. We definitely wouldn’t recommend not pre-booking in Greece though, especially come the crazy time in July and August.

We ended up staying at Athenstyle Hostel which had a really great location. We checked in just in time for happy hour and decided to hit the rooftop patio for it after we went to check out our room. Our room was actually in the building next to the reception area and it had a super sketch 2 person elevator to take you up the stairs. We had booked into an 8 bed mixed dorm, but when we got there, there were only two other guys in our room. One was asleep…and one was extremely weird. We picked our bunks, changed our clothes, locked up our valuables (lockers are a huge must have) and ran back next door to get a good spot on the rooftop.

The thing about this trip that differed from previous trips is that we really didn’t drink much. Even at happy hour that night, we casually drank a few beers, that in turn got us a bit more lit than we had expected. We watched the full sunset, offended the weird guy in our room when he came to talk to us (he was trying to trash talk immigrants & refugees), and waited until my skirt was dry to go wander (what? you’ve never sweated through jean before?). Everyone kept telling us of this crazy bar street to go to, but we found the snack street instead. We went for dinner at a cool place on the street and got some delicious food. Who are we kidding? ALL of the food was delicious in Greece and then proceeded to go home and go to bed before midnight.

When we got back to our room, the weird guy we offended earlier was laying in his bed. He had all the lights off and sounded like he was watching either war or shooting videos on his phone. To have power in the room, you need to have a key card inserted at all times. Right before we fell asleep, the room started to get really hot. Tessa and I both had a what the fuck reaction, and were trying to figure out if the air conditinor broke. The weird guy then told us that he took his key out since having the air conditioner on all night would give us colds. We told him he was crazy and replaced his key with one of ours. But, jokes on me because I did in fact wake up with a cold the next day. But having the air con on all night was well worth it.

The next day, we decided that we were going to tackle the city. Outside of our hostel was a main square area, and they had a stop for those double decker tourist busses. We had flashes of Joey and Chandler riding them in Friends and then became determined to go on it. They were actually a pretty good deal considering we paid around 30 Euros each to ride all day, and the taxi we mistakenly took to the Acropolis the next day was 20 Euros (back to being ripped off by taxis). We decided that we wanted to go up to the Acropolis first and sat up top all eager eyed and bushy tailed. Until we realized that we were in the direct sunlight and the temperature was ridiculously hot already. By the time we got to the Acropolis, there was already a ton of people and neither of us really have any patience so we wandered back down a few blocks to the Acropolis museum.

We did find one of the best places for gyros right outside of the Acropolis museum and proceeded to go back there both days for lunch. After that, we wandered and bussed around for the rest of the day. We hit up the temple of Zeus, which we were a little sad to see wasn’t like in Disney’s Hercules, and Zeus did not tell us he was our father and that we were goddesses like we always expected would happen. We hit up Mount Lykavittos and took a tram all of the way to top, where we realized that we were the real pain and panic from Disney’s Hercules, and took another rose break. We also drank a lot of water, barely peed, and lost our hostel for the first time in our lives. We were laughing, but on the inside we both had moments where we though we would never find it again.

We had decided that we wanted to do a trip out to both Delphi and Olympus, but a tour guide sure shot down that idea. We had to choose one since both of them were full day trips away. We chose Delphi, and the next morning we were on a bus out of the city.

Delphi was a few hours away and we only made one stop at a coffee shop before we got there. We soon realized that the mean age of everyone on our tour was 65, and the only reason it was that low was because of us and one other guy. When we got there, we again ditched our tour and trekked along the path on our own. Trying to beat the crowds and find our own little areas to try and take some fun pictures. We made it up to the very top and back down no problem, but it was over 40 degrees so we were definitely drenched in sweat by the time we had to go on the museum part of our tour.

Pro tip: If lunch is offered on a tour for cheap, don’t pass it up! We foolishly decided the night before that we wouldn’t pay the extra five euros for an included lunch and just wander off to get our own food. What we didn’t know was that the bus took us to a restaurant outside of town with nothing else around it. So we ended up probably spending more than 5 euros, but at least we made a new friend! He was the only other person under the age of 70 on the tour and we actually ended up meeting up again once we got back in to Athens that night. On our way back down, we stopped in another town for 15 minutes. It wasn’t long enough to do anything but we learned that it was pretty much their Banff. It was hard to believe that a place that was already breaking 40 degrees by June was their winter ski town.

We finally did make it up to the Acropolis the next day, just an hour or two later than we had planned. It was really busy, but we had already bought a city wide attraction pass (still not sure if worth it or not) and needed to go up to say that we had. Most of it was under construction and the crowds were insane. We’re talking people walking through photos and just straight up into you. There were honestly some way cooler and less touristy things to see, as with most tourist centric places. We weren’t really having any of it and ended up peacing out pretty quickly to go to our favourite gyro shop for one last one before we left to explore more of Europe!

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