Leaving Mykonos, we hop on a ferry to Santorini. This was my most anticipated stop in Greece, as I had dreamed about it since reading 'Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.' We made it to our hostel from the port, paying a pretty penny for a taxi ride. We stayed at Caveland, a hostel build from old caves from a winery. Caveland was conveniently located to Fira, the picturesque waterfront city nearby. Santorini is not that big, and can be conquered in a day. Once we rented ATV four-wheelers, it was easy to drive around the island from south to north, all while stopping in between. This island was just spectacular and I know it wasn't my last visit.
Driving towards Akrotiri Lighthouse on the southern tip, we stopped at Raki Restaurant, which had a beautifully located bar facing the cliffs and ocean. Raki is a great way to break up the long and windy drive to Akrotiri.
Once at Akrotiri, all my worries in my life had lifted. Beyond the lighthouse, there are cliffs just asking to be climbed on. It was one of the most peaceful experiences of my life. Looking out beyond these cliffs at absolutely nothing but crashing sea and blue sky was absolutely surreal.
At one point we wandered down a residential cliff towards the black sand beach and into a local store. The old man told me he stomped the grapes for the wine with his own feet. This was the essence of Santorini. Although it had overpopulated areas, it was easy to stumble into an authentic part of the island that was pure Greek; having no show put on for the tourists.
A surprising find in Santorini was Senor Zorba, a Mexican restaurant (of all things) that had incredible food, a well-priced happy hour, and a beautiful deck for sunset. If you don't plan on making it all the way to Ia for sunset, this is the place to come.
On our last night, Alex and I hopped on our little toy and drove about 20 minutes to Ia, the location for the most beautiful sunset in the world, according to most. The drive was on a windy road along the cliffs edge. The scenic view and the wind around me took me out of my head and into a state of pure happiness. It was truly a moment of reflection that I will always hold dear. I was in touch with the beautiful scenery around me that I was simply at peace.
Ia is the town is Santorini that I could explore forever. Eager to evade the crowds and overpriced art galleries, we wandered into bookstores and vacant alleyways, giving us spectacular views and sea-spray air.
I left Santorini with a dream to return one day and a new obsession with the Greek salad.