August 1, 2014

Lounging in Santorini

When Bre and I arrived in Santorini, there were clouds in the sky and sprinkles of rain falling. We were a bit dismayed by this weather, but quickly perked up as we arrived at our quaint Grecian retreat. 

Villa Manos is the perfect homey island escape destination (on a budget). For just $12 a night each, Bre and I got a large room to ourselves, with the added bonus of the nicest hotel staff in history. The woman who runs Villa Manos, Poppy, is about the sweetest lady on the planet, and essentially the greek mama you never had. Her and her husband run a pristine hotel, and are always willing to help you with any of your island needs. Bre and I went running to Poppy on more than one occasion over our 7 days stay trying to figure out how the hecky to get around the island.

Being a family-run establishment, Villa Manos was bound to have quirks. The villa is not only ran as a hotel, but also a hostel, so there are rooms fit for many occupants. Since Bre and I arrived in off season, and had requested a private room, we were given a six bed (empty) hostel room. It wasn't really inconvenient, just hilarious, to have a giant room, chalk full of beds. 

We had the option to take the bus to and from the hotel to the nearby town of Fira, but didn't really mind the fifteen minute walk, which by the end of day 7 we were quite accustomed to.  

Up the hill, and past the little Orthodox cemetery. 

Down the long road, past the lamp store.

Turning the corner at the highlight of the walk, the cutest little fella on the island. 

Stop and smell the flowers at the tiny apartment complex.

Finally arriving into center town, when you pass Nick the Grill, my personal favorite named restaurant. 

Our first night in Fira, we had not a clue where to go, but were ravenous after our donut-packed 8 hour ferry ride. We wandered around trying to find something that looked a bit more authentic than Nick the Grill. 

We settled on a restaurant I don't have the keys on my keyboard to spell (though I did find a tripadvisor link here), ushered in by a funny, and very enthusiastic waiter.

We started with an order of fava beans, which is a Santorini speciality, a little like hummus, only...wait for it...better. I know, I didn't think it was possible either. For dinner, I wanted to try something Greek and that I had never had before, so I went for moussaka on Bre's recommendation that, "it is basically Greek lasagna."

To be fair, it was actually lasagna-like. It layers beef, noodles, and a milk-based potato-like cream on top, dusted with cinnamon, that really is what makes the red sauce so unusual. Are you hungry now? Because all of a sudden I'm starving, and also ready to return to Santorini. 

If the food didn't steal my heart, the view sure did. 

We literally dropped ourselves into the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, though unfortunately, even with the blue roofed buildings, Kostas was no where in sight. 

Kostas???! Where are you? 

The next morning, we walked up to the bus stop, pleased by the blue skies, but blinded by the Grecian sun, which seems to saturate every inch of the island. 

We boarded what was the second wildest bus ride I had ever been on, ranking right below my wild ride on the Amalfi Coast. These provincial seaside oases really know how to keep your adrenaline going during transport. 

By some miracle, we arrived safely to Kamari, a little seaside beach town. Could it be any more picturesque? 

It was an incredibly sunny day, with just the slightest of faultless breezes (that would inevitably keep us cool enough to think we weren't getting sunburt. False. That was a false assumption on our part). 

For those who opt out of the 8 hour ferry ride, there is in fact a teeny airport on Santorini, and from Kamari you can watch the planes get precariously close to the water as they come in for landing. 

I love the beach, which really made Greece the perfect vacation spot. Kamari was only the first of the many beaches Bre and I visited throughout the week. 

By the time we realized we were getting crispy (despite sunscreen), it was a little too late. So we decided to drown our sunburnt sorrows in Piña Coladas, while obviously singing, "something 'bout piña coladas, getting lost in the rain..." on loop because we only knew that one verse. 

We finished up in Kamari, and headed over to the bus stop to catch the sketchy vehicle back to Fira for dinner.

We happened upon Dionysos, which promised a view out to the sea. 

This time we started with a feta cheese dip, with just a hint of spice. I also sampled the wine of Santorini, which was just a little fruity and divinely light in the evening sun. 

Bre and I then split an interesting Greek take on a Eggplant parmigiana, which was instead a baked eggplant feta. 

When the next day arrived we decide it was absolutely essential that we take advantage of our villa pool.  

We sunbathed by the side of the pool in the dazzling morning light (and by sunbathed, I mean hid beneath the palm trees from the sun). 

Another perk of Villa Manos is their convenient book exchange basket where I snagged Divergent, for my beach read of the week. 

After this little pool time Bre and I went on a real adventure around the island, but I'll save that for tomorrow. 

Yours, Kenna 

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