Monday, November 15, 2021
We were awake early and watched the sunrise from the balcony of our room. It was beautiful.
Our first stop today was the Prophet Elias Monastery which was located on the highest peak of Santorini. We had gorgeous views of the island. The Monastery was built in 1712. It suffered a lot of damage from an earthquake in 1956.
The views of Santorini from the summit of Mount Profitis Ilias.
Santorini produces wine and it is considered to be the best in all of Greece. They say it is because of the mineral content of the volcanic soil! Ancient grape seeds were discovered and the people of Santorini have been wine makers for at least 3,500 years.
The grapevines here are twisted into a round shape and the grapes are tucked inside to protect them. It looks like a grapevine basket. You do not see the vines growing up along fencing. It is definitely very different. This technique called kouloura protects the grapes from the wind and hot sun.
We walked through the village of Pyrgos which is located at the foothills of Mount Profitis Ilias. Pyrgos is the largest preserved village on Santorini and it is pretty much ignored by the tourist industry and the villagers are glad.
Our next stop was Agios Georgios which is known for its black sandy beach along the Aegean Sea! We had lunch at the Demilmar Restaurant Beach Bar. Our lunch was very good and we enjoyed the view.
Near the restaurant we found the ruins of an early Christian Basilica of Ayia Eirini from the 5th century AD. Ayia is the Greek word for Saint and Eirini means Irene. It is believed that Santorini’s name came from this.
Our next stop was the wine museum and wine tasting at Koutsoyannopoulos Winery. We only had time to walk through the museum because part of our group was late because one of the restaurants was slow getting the food prepared and served! Below are a few pictures from the museum.
Some of the oldest producing vines on the island are around 400 years old! Before we tasted each wine, one of the employees explained about each wine and its pairing with food. We tried four different varieties. The Koutsoyannopoulos Winery was founded in the late 19th century and is family owned through four generations. We enjoyed our tasting! Our first white wine was a dry wine made from the assyrtiko grape which is indigenous to the island of Santorini. The second wine was another white wine called, Experimental Orange wine. Next was a red wine aged in an oak barrel, Ambelones. Our last wine was a 2006 Dessert wine, Kamaritis.
After we left the winery our bus dropped us off in Oia to walk around and watch the sunset. The sky was displaying many colors, from pink, yellow, and orange, as we experienced another gorgeous sunset!
When we returned to the hotel we were ready for dinner. We walked close to a mile to a restaurant that was suggested for us to try but it wasn’t opened yet so we walked a little farther and found Cacio e Pepe restaurant. It was Italian cuisine and the food was delicious!
After dinner it was back to the hotel to do our paperwork for “Fly Ready” with Delta. We needed to upload our negative PCR result with the QR code, our fully vaccinated card and our passport. After several tries we received an email that we were set. We did our final packing because our luggage had to be outside our room very early in the morning. We will hate to say goodbye to Greece!