THE ULTIMATE GRADUATION TRIP | SANTORINI, GREECE

by - April 09, 2018



WARNING: PICTURE SPAM!

I still remember this vividly that few years back, I wrote a post (which has been deleted) on my dream to visit Santorini. I Googled so many photos and information about Santorini, and all I could do then was just to wish and dream. And here I am today back with another post about Santorini, but this time, I witnessed the entire place with my own eyes. 


Day 1

My time in Santorini began with the worst experience any travelers would ever encounter - lost baggage! We were waiting at the baggage collection area for a while and when we started seeing the same bags going round, we both felt something was off and we were right! Everyone else collected their bags and left, leaving only my sister and I, and another couple whom we believed also lost their baggage. 

We then proceeded to the Lost & Found counter to seek for help to be told to fill up a form and wait for a status update which can be tracked online. What made everything more difficult was that no one there could speak English except for the counter lady who could at least converse. And based on the amount of luggages that was surrounding the counter, it seems that lost / delay baggage happens pretty often and it's so common that it doesn't seem like a surprising incident to the locals there. There was nothing else we could do but to hope for the best. 

We then left the airport to meet our driver who provides airport transfer to and fro the hotel. Feeling bumped, upset, angry and all sorts of other negative emotions, I didn't know how should I feel or be happy and excited to explore this beautiful island. The journey to the hotel took us about 15 minutes. Checking in wasn't much of a hassle but again, the language barrier made things a little tougher. The receptionist / owner of the hotel was nice enough to provide us a map and told us where the nearest bus stop is, and also the nearest town to the hotel despite not being able to converse in English. We used a lot of sign language throughout our time in Santorini. 



We were tired and stressed out, and our room was yet to be ready. So we sat at the hotel reception area for a little while to rest up and use the WiFi to contact our parents before heading out to explore a nearby town - Imerovigli. I was feeling so frustrated about the entire situation because Santorini was suppose to be the highlight of my entire trip and it started off so badly. My sister then reminded me that we went all the way there and shouldn't let this affect us too much because it has already happen and it's out of our control. 

The hotel is pretty centrally located as we could walk to 2 towns - Imerovigli and Fira. The nearest bus stop was only a minute walk away and it's where we took the bus to Oia the next day. 




Imerovigli

When I finally saw some familiar view as to what I have always seen online, my mood started to lighten up. Imerovigli is BEAUTIFUL and it's less crowded than Oia and it felt so peaceful. My sister and I were in awe that such place exists! As you can see in the photo, I was wearing my airport outfit because it was the only clothes I have and I was rather unconfident about taking photos because all my makeup was in the luggage that was lost. After a while, I didn't let that bother me as much because if I did, I probably wouldn't have much to look back on and probably wasted the entire trip there. 






Anastasi Church




After spending an hour to two, we started walking towards Fira in hopes to be able to buy some cheap necessities from the local shops there. On the way there, we stopped by a restaurant for lunch called Taverna Simos which is located (diagonally) opposite of our hotel. 



Fira

We surveyed a few places before deciding on which shop should we buy certain things from because everything there is expensive! Even normal dresses cost an average of €50. We were lucky enough to have found a shop which sells clothes for a slightly cheaper price where we bought a dress each that cost us €20 each. 

IF you happen to lost your baggage too (which I hope not), remember to ask for a receipt for the necessities you bought (toiletries, etc) as those are documents that are needed to be submitted for compensation from the airline and insurance. We flew with Vueling to Santorini, and received compensation from both airline and also insurance. #TravelTips We never really appreciated or felt how important buying insurance is until then!

Besides necessity, we bought a loaf of bread, ready to eat cheese and ham which was then our dinner, and another 2 meals the next day. If you're not a heavy eater, this would help you to save up a lot on meals but of course, you may miss out on a few 'must try' around the island. #BudgetTravelTips




After a long first half of the day, we went back to the hotel to get some rest as we both barely slept the night before - 5 hour midnight layover in Rome, Italy. We woke up at about 6pm, a little more well rested and decided to go for a short walk to see if we could catch a glimpse of the sunset around the vicinity.







And I'm glad we did!



Day 2

Our day began with a simple breakfast at the hotel with yet to receive any good news about our luggage. Before we headed out to Oia, we packed some sandwiches for lunch and dinner. 


We then headed to the nearby bus stop to board the bus to Oia. The journey took us about 20 minutes, and the bus fare was only €1.80 per person one way. 


Ekklisia Panagia Platsani


Atlantis Books




Oia






This was our first round at Oia Castle. We weren't looking for it, but as we followed the crowd, we were eventually led here and it wasn't difficult to locate at all. 


View from Oia Castle. Exactly like the search results from Google!




We then found a shaded seat where we rested and had our sandwiches. The weather was scorching hot and never ever forget to apply sunblock! We both didn't apply any and got really really bad sunburn from just a couple of hours walking around the town. 

After lunch, we then continued exploring the town along narrow alleyways and found ourselves with another view of Oia.



The land in Oia is not flat and we took countless of stairs which left us both exhausted - especially when we went so far down to get a better view of the Caldera, we had a rough time climbing back up as we both aren't exactly physically fit. We ended up taking a 45 minutes break at one of the quieter stairs which was shaded, and just enjoyed the view while checking on the status of our baggage, while waiting for time to pass as we wanted to witness the sunset from Oia Castle. 

At about 4pm, we made our way back to Oia Castle, and waited for more than 2 hours just to get a good seat to watch the sunset! 


The wait was rather torturous as our skin was burning very badly from the sun. In the photo, you can see the sunburn on my sister's shoulder! 

Despite all of that, we braved through the heat and IT WAS WORTH IT!


Sunset from Oia Castle





I read it once somewhere, that Santorini may not look as quiet as how we always see in photos. And it's true! If we were to get to Oia Castle later, we wouldn't have been able to get a good spot to watch the sunset because the entire area was just packed with people! And throughout our time around Santorini, it was constantly packed with tourist making it difficult to even browse for souvenirs. 



Before leaving Oia Castle, we checked on the status of our baggage one more time and to our surprise, the status was "In taxi - transfer to hotel". We were both a little in disbelieve yet excited because could this be it? That our luggage isn't lost after all?

We got back to the hotel around 8pm. As soon as we opened our room door, we saw our luggage! To celebrate, we went for another round of walk around Imerovigli and booked a restaurant overlooking the Caldera for dinner the next day!



Day 3

We spent the first half of the day in Perissa for their black beach! To get to Perissa, we had to walk to the main bus station in Fira to board the bus. The ride cost us €2.40 per person one way. 




We then had pizza for lunch in Corner Food & Drinks which is located just right next to the beach. 


Pizza with a view!

After lunch, we took the bus back to Fira, which we had to wait for quite a while. Since the bus stops in Fira, we took the chance to walk around Fira another time since we now have pretty clothes on!








Went back to the hotel to rest up a little (since it was on the way) before dinner in Imerovigli. We had dinner on our last night in Santorini in a restaurant called Pirouni


The view from our table was just amazing! And to be able to witness the sunset while we dine was a dream come true!


Traditional Santorini Balls




Santorini, you've been amazing (minus the baggage issue)!

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Next up: Copenhagen, Denmark

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