Blogs from Santorini, South Aegean, Greece, Europe

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Europe » Greece » South Aegean » Santorini » Fira August 1st 2021

So, after spending nearly three weeks in Greece, I tried many wines. And I visited several wineries in Santorini, known for their famous Assyrtiko wines. BTW, it is pronounced "us-EAT-teeko" and has a definite "volcanic" taste, in other words, a quite pronounced minerality, for lack of a better term. Karen at Winespeed is spot on about this wine: Assyrtiko, the white wine that brought world attention to the stunningly beautiful volcanic island of Santorini, is made in several styles today. But my favorite has always been the original style—fresh, pure, bone-dry, and made without the merest trace of oak. Santo Wine’s Assyrtiko—from 60- to 80-year-old vines —is exactly that, a wine that captures the lemons-and-salt-air crispness that Assyrtiko is known for. Sparks of minerals and acidity light up the wine, making it extra delicious with seafood. ... read more
An old vineyard
On the cellar tour

Europe » Greece » South Aegean » Santorini June 24th 2021

Leaving Paros on the way back to Santorini for another 2 days before our flight back to Tel Aviv, I was happy to have one final glimpse of lovely Naxos when we stopped briefly in the port. The heatwave had also followed us back to Santorini and we were surprised that after barely 2 weeks, there were a lot more people. We decided not to hire a car and to stay around our hotel. We also had to start thinking about covid again, to get a PCR test and to fill in some online forms. We stayed in Fira this time at a 3-star hotel behind the town, facing the sunrise. It was old and very basic and the room we chose faced the street with a lot of noise from passing bikes. (The ATVs are ... read more
Sunset Fira
Sunset Fira
Fira cave houses

Europe » Greece » South Aegean » Santorini June 10th 2021

Our last trip overseas was in the Peloponnese in October 2019. It seemed fitting that our first trip away post-Covid should also be to Greece. I hardly believed we were going until we were actually on the way, flying to the Greek islands -- first stop Santorini, a place I never expected to see. It's a dream destination for many but is usually overrun with tourists. A visit now seemed like a once in a lifetime opportunity. Did we beat the crowds? Not exactly. We weren't alone, the Americans and French were already there but in numbers much less than usual. Usually there are a few cruise ships anchored offshore. Sometimes three or four of them at the same time. That means about 10,000 people deposited on this small island all at once. Unbelievable! When you ... read more
Photoshoot Oia
Sunrise Oia
Sunset Oia

Europe » Greece » South Aegean » Santorini May 21st 2021

Almost everything here is affected by the volcanic soil, from the beaches to the crops, to the appearance of the geography. But perhaps, other than the famous Santorini wines, the food here takes on a distinct volcanic influence. Starting with vegetables, the unique aubergine or white eggplant is synonymous with Santorini. Though it is a little early for the white eggplant, the more familiar purple is used interchangeably. Other vegetables grown here include capers, cherry tomatoes, and favas, yellow split peas similar to lentils. My fava last night was served hot, more like a soup, with pickled capers, and some herbs. It was quite good and reminded me of hummus. The tiny tomatoes here are very sweet, and much tastier than the larger tomato varieties. Thie cherry tomatoes are made into tomato paste with capers, olive ... read more
Grilled fish
Lamb ribs
Greek yogurt with kidoni

Europe » Greece » South Aegean » Santorini May 20th 2021

As I first began my research for visiting Santorini, one feature sang out to me. It was the fabulous wines of Santorini. Most of us drank some cheap retsina in college. And I had the benefit of learning about Mavrodaphne from my friends at Lola in Seattle. In fact, I have a few bottles of Mavro here at home. But I am learning that Santorini is perhaps one of the best wine growing regions in Greece, and the greater Mediterranean region. Some go so far as to say it is the Greek version of Napa Valley! After all, the Greeks have been making wine here for over 3000 years. Santorini has about forty native varieties of wines. And rather uniquely, the vines lay low to the ground, in round baskets made from the canes, to protect ... read more
Vinsanto, a sweet dessert wine
Argyros Winery, my favorite

Europe » Greece » South Aegean » Santorini May 20th 2021

The sunsets in Oia are described as showstoppers. Oia is on the northernmost tip of the island of Santorini. It was once a center of trade in antiquity. The big earthquake of 1956 changed everything here. Restoration work has restored the beauty of the town and area. The downside to Oia is the cruise ships, which hopefully will not show up until I am back home. They say the sunsets draw people to Oia like a magnet. But I also hear the village is cute, and the food is superb. Buses leave my hotel area, Fira, twice every hour for the 15 minute drive to Oia. But it is a three hour walk if anyone chooses. Not me! The 5 minute drive to Fira village is free on the hotel bus, but 10 Euro in a ... read more
Purple sunset
More sunset

Europe » Greece » South Aegean » Santorini May 19th 2021

Before taking this trip, it seems almost everyone is an expert on Santorini. After all, it is a small island in the Aegean, though inhabited by less than 16,000 residents.Traveler 365 has an interesting list:Santorini receives over 2.2 million tourists a year, though the last year was hardly negligible.There are more churches than houses here, though many of the churches are small and private.Wine is more plentiful than water here, due to the dry climate.Santorini is the only inhabited caldera in the world.I like this, over 100 varietals of grapes are... read more
Santo Wines
Another sunset
Apostolos, owner of Stamna in Fira!

Europe » Greece » South Aegean » Santorini » Fira May 18th 2021

Much like other tourist hot spots, location is often the key to meeting your tourist and sightseeing needs. Here on Santorini, the question comes down to Oia or Fira. Stay in Fira for nightclubs, restaurants and shopping. Fira is nonstop tourists, cruise shippers, and partiers. And amazing views. Fira has cheaper places to eat. Stay in Oia for a quieter, more artistic atmosphere, that will be super crowded at sunset for the hordes of viewers. Oia is fairly quiet the remainder of the day. Oia is more romantic. Guess which one I selected? That's right, Fira, in the heart of the action, of course. Both have great views. Tours leave from both places. Renting a car for wine tasting is easier in Fira. The airport is only 10 minutes away. Fira is more central, and easier ... read more
One of two pools
Sunset
Yes, the water

Europe » Greece » South Aegean » Santorini July 19th 2019

Sorry for the delayed travel blog. I planned on writing about Santorini when I departed the island and was on the ferry to Milos, however, a great lesson learnt from travelling is, you can’t plan everything, you have to go with the flow. With the flow I did go! The winds were very strong the day I left and the ferry company I went with was called Seajets. That was exactly was it was a simple jet on the sea, nothing like the cruise liner I caught to Mykonos or to Santorini from Naxos with Blue Star. Side note for a moment, now the cat is out of the bag my two friends I met up with in Mykonos got engaged the day before I met them. When they told me, I cried with happiness! How ... read more
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Europe » Greece » South Aegean » Santorini June 6th 2019

I was very fortunate to visit Greece. I didn't want to go to Athens, Greece because I've visited a lot of places that looked similar to Athens, Greece! Plus I go to visit the beach while driving on the scooter. I was way behind Greece's traffic system because my scooter didn't compete with the car's speed. The scooter was much slower than that. This was the second Mediterrean country I visited behind Spain. I did go on a cruise to Greece but I flew to Santorini, Greece from Barcelona, Spain on June 6th,2019. I enjoyed seeing the Orthodox Churches but they were closed while I was there. Luckily, I went to Greece because I had a car accident and almost had to do surgery. If it was surgery, then I wouldn't be able to go to ... read more
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