25 Jun 2015

Breathtaking Santorini, Greece - Red Beach, Pyrgos, Kamari, Koutsoyannopoulos, Fira


I suppose it's wise to separate the Santorini trip into two posts as there are just too many photos. Oops.





The first thing that I noticed when the ferry from Mykonos boarded at Thira, one of the ports in Santorini, was the view. Not every building is as white as those of Mykonos'. However, I've had high expectations for Santorini as it is rumoured to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.
I guess I deserved as much for not doing research for this trip. Turns out that the postcard photos are all taken at Oia, the northern part of Santorini island (which I will be covering in part 2 of Santorini). Well, some other places in Santorini are worth visiting too, really.



Cliffside view from the bus.





There are a few spots for panoramic views of the caldera on the way from our hotel to our first stop for the day tour which are just spectacular! We decided to stop the bus and take some photos.

I'll sort the photos by towns / tourist destinations then.


Red Beach, Akrotiri







So.. what makes it the Red Beach?



Red rocks, of course! It's actually far from a beach. Again, blaming myself for not doing much research.. I wore sandals there and it was the worst choice I made that day. Ugh.







Nevertheless, the water was a beautiful turquoise under the hot sun, contrasting with the red rocks. There weren't too many tourists around in May and it was not too packed. I couldn't say the same for peak seasons though.


Pyrgos



The beautiful town of Pyrgos requires a little bit of a climb to get to the top..



Okay then, stairs it is.



Up some more stairs..



And MORE stairs..



Turn a right for a donkey ride (no rides for us, unfortunately.. even though Santorini is quite famous for the donkeys).



Down the hobbit hole we go..



Up the stairs into someone else's house..



Seems like we've made it after all! You can see most tiny specks of houses from up top.


Kamari Black Beach



I decided to share the above photo cause it's pretty. LOL





Here we are, at another beach. Me and my perfectly paired sandals were so happy when I saw that this beach is not made up of huge rocks but small pebbles instead. So I tried walking on the beach barefooted.



Welp. Bad decision. The stones were scorching hot! I stopped long enough for some photos and it was back to trusty ol' sandals.





Great place to sunbathe though. I'm not that much of a sunbathing person as I get enough sun back here in Malaysia. Heh.



Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum


After the beach, it was time for some wine tasting at a wine museum that I couldn't pronounce. Somehow European accents are kinda intriguing. And pleasant to my ears, even though I can't make out what they're saying.











They handed out a handheld device (something around the size and appearance of a Nokia 3310) to every one of us. We just have to press the numbers written on the exhibit to find out more about the said exhibit. About wine-making, of course.



And the photo above cause it's pretty. We tasted a few bottles of wine and.. I'm not that person you would ask out for a drink.


Fira



Fira is the capital of Santorini and an awesome town. The items there are not too pricey, and you get decent good food there. Of course, let's not forget the beautiful Aegean Sea!



You could get a wide range of items there, from accessories, to souvenirs, to clothings, and even shoes and bags!







You could shop all day, or just relax and watch the deep blue sea from Fira if you are not afraid of the heat.



"Save water, drink wine"
Thumbs up for creativity.

Part 2 of Santorini coming up within a week. Been busy with school stuff though. And being lazy.


18 Jun 2015

A Trip to Mykonos, Greece


Warning: This is going to be quite a long post with dozens of photos.

I completely abandoned my blog for quite a while now, being a little busy with memorising TV schedules and watching episodes after episodes of NCIS and Castle and whatever movies they are showing on HBO (finale to GoT season 5 included). As the post title suggested, this is not a post on TV shows and me being geeky. Oops.

I've decided to update bout my trip to Greece first instead of Taiwan cause first of all, it's a more recent event and also because a few people requested that I post some pretty Greek photos. Hahah.

So, my aunts and I arrived at Mykonos, Greece after 11 hours on the plane to Istanbul, endured an hour of transit, and took another hour to reach Athens, the capital of Greece. (I'll write a post on our trip to Athens soon. meh.)



So when I first arrived at the port of Mykonos, I was awestruck by the view there (even with the cars in the foreground). It was an okay morning, somewhere about 10am.
I neglected doing some research so I was fascinated by the white cube-like houses there as I didn't see a lot back in Athens when we first arrived.



Look at the number of people queuing for the next ferry. Eep.



It's crazy beautiful, to be honest. The water is clear and not quite polluted as Venice's too.



It was soooo windy there. I like it somehow.



Then, we were greeted by this sign. After spending a little more than a week in Greece, my Greek is still terrible. I could only recognise a few phrases but it's better than nothing, right?







Mykonos is one of the Cyclades island groups. The main part of the island is Mykonos town (Chora Mykonos as to differentiate the two) is quite a popular tourist destination. May wasn't quite the peak season yet, so we could enjoy the city tour and explore the town at our own pace.



The town of Mykonos is full of alleyways and hidden-from-sight passages as the town was built in a way to confuse the pirates back then. It is beautiful in its own way. And surprisingly cooling, as the buildings are all painted white to reflect the sunlight. I swear that the walls of the building are cool to the touch. Of course, having lots of shadows help too.





You can see lots of people selling clothes, accessories, souvenirs, and food. Also, known fashion chains such as Swarovski, Diesel, Puma, Timberland, and Lacoste (I could go on and on) can be found in Chora Mykonos next to local stores.







You could find lots of things tucked in between the alleys of Chora Mykonos, including a pelican! I totally wasn't expecting that.
Apparently, there was an injured pelican found by a fisherman in Mykonos and it decided to stay in Mykonos for good after being cared for. It was adored by the locals. When the pelican passed away in 1986, two pelicans were donated to Mykonos as the whole town was in grief over the loss of their precious pelican. And somehow, another pelican was found wounded and was nursed back to health. Therefore, there are now not one but three pelicans in Mykonos! (And I have no idea which one I met)



I simply love the whites and blues, and those perfectly white stairs. The flowers are a nice touch to it.







Remember what I said about the clear blue sea? Yep. #nofilter



Before this, I thought that the only blue domes are in Santorini. I couldn't be more wrong. The blue domes are orthodox churches and can be found almost everywhere in Greece.



After a while we reached the harbour. It was so happening, with so many boats and seagulls, and of course, tourists enjoying the warm afternoon sunlight. I could spend the whole afternoon there.



The windmills of Mykonos are also famous for their long history. Five windmills are situated in Chora Mykonos and they are accessible from the main town. The sky was clear so no breathtaking clouds for breathtaking photos. Oh well. I was satisfied anyway.





You can get one of the best views of Chora Mykonos here too. Who doesn't like a good hilltop view?



And here I am, in slippers. Oops.



We checked in into our... uhm, respective rooms, unpacked, lazed a little while, and went back to town (hotel update below).





It was about 7pm and the sun started to set, giving the whole town a warm hue.



Wine, wine, and more wine.



After dinner, it was about 9pm(?) and the sky turned completely dark. Mykonos town is then illuminated by the bright lights from the rows of shops. You can see tourists strolling through the streets and alleys, and having their here.





Taverns are found almost everywhere in Greece, usually supplying free Wi-Fi.



Experience the rich nightlife in Mykonos? Checked.

We spent about 2-3 hours there and by then it was freezing cold as I had shorts on. Welp. Rushed back to the hotel in a taxi. Taxis can be found at two different meeting points in Mykonos town. Just ask around.
I feel that the souvenirs sold in Mykonos are more expensive compared to the other tourist destinations. This is most probably because Mykonos is the "playground for the rich", according to most travel journals. It is true though, tourists from China will be coming in during the peak season in July and truth be told, it is one of the more profitable months for Mykonos.

Now, the hotel.
I AM SO IN LOVE WITH THIS PLACE.



First of all, it has a spectacular view of the Aegean Sea and the town of Mykonos from the reception area. And it's a walking distance to Chora Mykonos.







And the exterior of the rooms are painted white and blue, one of the most soothing colour combinations ever. Of course, I love the square-ish designs.





The swimming pools are quite large but not a lot of people were swimming. They were more people sunbathing instead.





View from our room. We received complimentary dessert wine and cookies, which were delicious. I'm not too sure on the wine though. I have to say that I prefer dessert wine as they are sweeter than the average ones. And, of course, more expensive as the weight of grapes used for a bottle of dessert wine is undeniably far more than the average red/white wine.



Sunrise view from the room's balcony. Not exactly the start of the sunrise though. It was about 6am, to be honest. I can't believe I woke up at 6am. Cause of jetlag. Yes, I blame everything on jetlag.



I thought that our room was lovely enough. Until I got into my mom's and aunts' rooms.. with outdoor hot tubs. And a magnificent view. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

Then I found out that not all rooms are the same. Even the interiors could be a little different.



Definitely worth a stay. Wish I could go back there someday.

More on my trip to Greece coming soon!


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