This morning we were up very early to check out of our hotel and catch our bus to the Santorini Airport. We took off around 7:00 AM for our flight to Athens.
Our second flight was from Athens to JFK airport in New York City. It was almost an 11 hour flight. It seemed to go by faster than we expected. Of course we watched movies and read! The flight was smooth and no issues occurred. People kept their masks on and the flight attendants didn’t have to deal with unruly passengers.
On a side note, a gluten free meal that is made by the European crews are so much better than the gluten free meals made in the United States.
Looking out the airplane window we watched the sunset as we descended for landing in New York City.
Our last flight of the day was to our home airport in Columbus. Our plane left on time and we had a fantastic trip with the Hilliard Chamber of Commerce in Greece but it’s always good to get home! We can’t wait for our next adventure as long as COVID doesn’t shut down much of the world again!
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!
This morning we checked out of our hotel in Kinetta and headed for the Athens airport. We had a morning flight to Santorini, Greece. This volcanic island is the southernmost of the Cyclades Islands in the Aegean Sea. It is also the most visited of the Greek Islands. There are more churches than houses on the island but most of the churches are very small and private.
The landing strip wasn’t very long at the Santorini airport!
The Santorini tour director met us at the airport and we boarded buses for the Splendour Resort. Our hotel wasn’t too far from the airport. Our hotel was beautiful and we had a great view from our patio!
Once we had our luggage we went exploring for a place to have lunch. Keep in mind that Santorini has steep hills. We first started down the hill from our hotel and when we didn’t see any open cafes or restaurants we turned around and headed up the hill along the footpath.
We finally reached our destination at the top of the hill and the restaurant was closed! So we walked down the hill along the road and found a cafe/market where we had a delicious lunch and also ran into several groups from our tour! After eating we walked back to our hotel and got in line to take our PCR COVID test. We needed to have a negative result to get on the plane and into the United States. After getting swabbed we took a cab up to Oia which is famous for its sunsets and the blue dome churches. It is located on the northwestern tip of Santorini and overlooks the caldera filled with water. The weather was good so we decided to spend the evening there.
The sunset was beautiful and we were mesmerized watching the sun go down.
When we got back to the hotel we relaxed for the rest of the evening because we were tired from the early morning flight and all of the walking up and down hills. Tomorrow we will tour the island!
Today we visited the Acropolis Museum. It was really interesting because when the city excavated the land they found an entire neighborhood beneath the museum.
From the second floor of the museum you can see the Acropolis.
We weren’t permitted to take pictures of the Archaic Acropolis Gallery in the museum. You can look up this gallery online and see photos of the collection.
In the background of the picture below are pieces of the Parthenon from the archaic period.
A pair of Nikes from the 3rd century AD. In ancient Greek religion Nike was the goddess of victory.
The Statue of Papposilenus is carrying the infant Dionysos, the god of wine and theater. It was discovered in 1832 at the Theater of Dionysos. It was made of marble and sculpted in the 2nd century BC. Papposilenus was considered to be the wisest of the Sileni (mythical demons that followed Dionysos) and tutor of Dionysos.
The Caryatids, female columns from the Erechtheion on the Acropolis of Athens. The Erechteion is an ancient Greek Temple and has also been referred to as the Temple of Athens.
A reconstruction of the west pediment of the Parthenon is pictured below.
Metopes are rectangular plaques. Fourteen metopes decorated the east side of the Parthenon.
Below are original metopes and recreated as to what they believe the original ones looked like. It gives you an idea of how colorful the temples once were!
After the museum we walked in the Platka for lunch and to shop! The Plaka is the oldest section of Athens. Most of the area is pedestrian only! It is filled with restaurants, jewelry stores, tourist shops and cafes.
The monument to Lysicrates was erected by a wealthy patron of musical performances in the Theater of Dionysus.