Europe Travel Diary, The Ultimate Europe Trip!

Day 22: Exploring Oia, Santorini and Sunset Catamaran Tour

September 20, 2017 – We didn’t let ourselves sleep in too late this morning. I was determined to see this gorgeous place at its quietest! So we got up just as the sun was rising, got ready, and set out to find some of that delicious Greek coffee while taking in the sights.

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View from our balcony at first light
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Same view with the sun up
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The view from our front door
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The infamous blue dome that was surrounded by people during the day

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The island was covered in beautiful flowers
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This is the restaurant our AirBnb hosts owned
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This is a famous bookstore in Oia right around the corner from our AirBnb
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This might be the most photographed sign in all of Oia

We continued down the quiet, abandoned pathways that were clogged with tourists the day before. We knew it was only a matter of time before the bus loads of cruise shippers would descend on the quaint little town again.

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There was no shortage of beautiful blue doors contrasted against pure white walls, most complimented by these gorgeous pink flowers
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This fluffy pupper had a bandanna on that read, “Please do not pet me, I have a temper” It was so tempting, but I followed the wise words of the bandanna.
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This was the Santorini I had dreamed about. Quiet, beautiful, relaxing.
This spot was impossible to get in to during the day. It looked completely untouched in the early morning!
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Everywhere you turn in Santorini reveals another beautiful alleyway or door
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Some of the doors leading to homes had the most spectacular views through them
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The fresh light of the morning made the town look so bright and beautiful
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Another spot that was covered in tourists during the day
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Precious little kitty relaxing out in the open while he could

Luckily, we would be headed off the island in the afternoon for a sunset catamaran tour. I was so excited for this! We booked this tour on a whim with some left over credit card points we had.

Once we had our fill of a quiet and calm Oia, we decided to head back to our AirBnb for breakfast. One thing I forgot to mention about this place was that fresh (warm) bread was delivered to us each morning straight from the family’s restaurant Lotza (pictured above).

We had just returned from our walk when we heard a knock at the door. We opened it and found a lovely blue and white checkered drawstring bag with our warm bread inside.

The fridge in our AirBnb was stocked with water, orange juice, Greek honey, and jam. We grabbed everything we needed and enjoyed our little breakfast on our balcony overlooking the incredible caldera. It was simple, but it was one of the best breakfasts we had on our trip!

We took our time with breakfast and finished up around 10:00am. Then we just relaxed. We had been going non-stop this whole trip; a moment of nothing was extremely rare. We took an hour to just be there in the moment to take it all in. I’m glad we did because I can close my eyes and transport back to that exact moment of pure relaxation and happiness.

We severely underestimated our water need the day before, so we decided we would go grab an early lunch around 11:30am and also stop by the grocery to get more water on our way back. We headed out where the crowds had begun to form again. We took our time, stopping in little shops along the way and tried to harness the peace we had felt earlier whenever someone randomly decided to stop in the middle of a walkway to take a picture with their iPad. I look back and wonder if our entire trip was just one big life lesson on patience.

Can you guess where we ate lunch? Pito Gyros! We couldn’t let it go. Our meal the night before was so good we decided to get it again.

First we went to grab some more water at the grocery store. Then Eric went in to order our food. The line was pretty long, so Eric gave me the bag of groceries and I found us a spot to eat.

Once we finished lunch, we headed back to the Airbnb to get ready for our catamaran trip. They would be picking us up where we were dropped off the day before around 1:30 pm. I decided to not take my nice camera with us just in case. There would be unlimited wine and an ocean involved so you just never know. We packed one backpack with a towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, and our phones.

We walked over and stood in the spot to wait for our bus to take us to the dock. We waited and waited… no bus. There was a couple standing near us, so we asked them if they were waiting for the sunset catamaran tour as well. They said yes and they sounded American! So we stood with them and talked while we waited. They were Billy and Laura from Denver, CO and they were on their honeymoon!

Our bus finally arrived and we all got on. We thought they would be taking us to another part of the island, but we ended up just driving to Amoudi Bay to catch the boat. I think it was less than a 5 minute ride.

Once we got out of the van, we walked down to the check-in station where we were given those ridiculous stickers we saw the cruise ship people wearing. Except ours didn’t have a cruise ship name on them. They were different colors with a big number on them and we were red 3. This told us which catamaran to get on.

Our catamaran arrived and we got in line to get on the boat. The crew welcomed us and helped us walk the gangway to get on the boat. We ended up sticking with Billy and Laura and we all found a place to sit on the boat as well as a place to put our things. The boat started out and one of the crew members started telling us all about our trip. We would be stopping several times and would have the opportunity to jump off the boat and swim at each stop. We would even get to snorkel at some point! I was so excited!

Our first stop was a thermal pool at Nea Kameni. Speaking of the word “Nea” (pronounced NAY-AH) it means “young” in Greek. When we took our tour with George in Athens, the first thing he asked us was if we knew our last name was a Greek word. We had no idea! He said it actually meant “young woman” (I think it had to do with the “s” at the end) but we’ll just go with young.

Once we reached Nea Kameni, We all jumped off and swam over to the “warm” water. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t warm. There was a little bit of a temperature difference, but it was like going from cool water to lukewarm water. We were told to just swim and try not to touch the rocks because the volcanic minerals would stain our skin and our bathing suits red. Guess who touched the rocks? Me. First it was by accident because there were rocks just coming out of the water and it was hard to see them. Then when we got to the “warm” part, it was so shallow I just decided to stand. Well those red rocks were everywhere so my feet got stained. I guess the staff were used to this because when we got back on the boat they made us scrub our feet and rinse off before walking back to the main part.

Once we got back on the boat, we all grabbed a glass of wine and went to hang out on the net at the front of the catamaran. This was SO fun! The ocean was really rough as they were taking us to different parts of the island. We would hit massive waves and the catamaran would go airborne. We got soaked each time, but we were already wet from swimming so we didn’t care.

Yet again, we got so lucky with the people in our tour group (well, two of them anyway). Billy and Laura were (are) such awesome people! After talking for a bit we found out Laura runs a blog of her own called Outdoor Beginner. It is aptly named and focuses on various hikes that she has accomplished as well as tips an tricks for the outdoor beginner. It is an excellent blog!

On the next stop of our Catamaran tour, we got to jump off the boat and snorkel! I saw a few little fish, but nothing crazy. It definitely wasn’t the best snorkeling experience of my life, but it’s not like we did this tour to snorkel. I honestly just enjoyed getting off the boat to swim in the super salty Mediterranean water.

Next, it was time for dinner. The crew set up a buffet of delicious Greek foods and we all got in line. There was Greek salad, kebabs, and some other things I can’t remember. For dessert, we had something covered in honey. All I can remember is the honey tasted like maple syrup; it was so good!

After we finished up dinner, the sun had started to set. We were nearing Amoudi Bay, but stopped to watch the sun go down for a bit. The Santorini sunsets were some of the most incredible sunsets I have ever seen. They almost looked unreal they were so beautiful!

Oia from a different perspective

This is the platform we saw people jumping from the day before
The sky turned the most beautiful colors

We reached the dock and all got off to be taken back up to Oia. We asked Billy and Laura where they were staying and it turns out their AirBnb was just a few steps below ours! We had so much fun with them on the boat, we asked if they would want to continue hanging out. They said absolutely! So we all decided to go change out of our wet clothes and then we would meet them at their AirBnb in a little while.

I did not edit the colors in this picture at all. This is exactly how it looked! This was taken from the van that took us back up to Oia.

After we changed, we grabbed a bottle of wine to share with them and walked over to their place. We thought our AirBnb was nice, but theirs was HUGE! They told us they got an amazing breakfast delivered to them each morning. I was a bit envious, however our AirBnb was incredible too in its own way. You really can’t go wrong in any of the little cave houses in Oia.

We hung out for a few hours and then decided to call it a night. They were leaving to fly back to Athens the next morning. We had absolutely nothing planned for the next day, but we were pretty tired from being in the hot sun earlier. We were so glad we met Billy and Laura! We hope we’ll be able to get to Denver one day to meet up with them again.

Bisous!

Lauryn

If you’re interested in the catamaran tour we did, it was with Sunset Oia. They have a few options, but we thought the sunset cruise was amazing!

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1 thought on “Day 22: Exploring Oia, Santorini and Sunset Catamaran Tour”

  1. HI, Great shots-just as we remembered it. When we meet again, we’ll have to tell you about our flotilla boat trip around the islands. Also, now that you have some friends from Denver, it’s would be great if you could come and visit and see your new found friends also. On another note, we’re leaving at the end of January on a trip which takes us to Tanzania, Mozambique, and Madagascar-it is on a small boat (holds about 100 people) and is with a firm in London which we have used before. These are places we would hesitate to go on our own-Anyway, keep up the logs-we are enjoying them and we must get together and discuss your trips to the various countries. Love, Wally and Paulette >

    Like

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