Santorini, Greece August 2017    Pat has been working as a consultant at a mine in Namibia.  It was two days of travel to get back to Mexico, so this time we have decided to meet in Europe.  It's our first time in Greece, and for his short time off, we met on the island of Santorini, a remnant of a volcanic caldera.  The weather was great, very warm with a breeze during the day, and cool at night. We stayed at Hotel Ira just outside of the town of Fira.  It was amazing to see dramatic scenery and the beautiful white and blue colors throughout the island.

 

 

The village of Fira consists of a winding path along the top of the island, along with alleyways filled with restaurants and shops.   The Mediterranean food we ate was delicious....fresh seafood, lamb with herbs, olives, and more.  There were plenty of places to stop to drink or eat, and enjoy the fabulous view!

 

We did the hike from Fira to Ammoudi Bay.  The entire hike took us over 3 1/2 hours.  The views from the trail were spectacular.  We began the hike at 9:15 am, and we arrived in Ammoudi Bay just before 1:00 pm.  It was a bit challenging (my walking sandals were not appropriate) and it was hot.  We're glad we did it; it will be a hike we will always remember.

The village of Oia is just above Ammoudi Bay.  We walked through the town; there's upscale shopping here and many restaurants.  Although not as large as Fira, it was charming.

It's a steep walk down to Ammoudi Bay.  We had an excellent fish lunch at the Fish Tavern, yum.  We picked out our fish from the catch of the day.  Some people rent small horses or donkeys for the climb back up the hill, but after our exhausting hike, we took a taxi!

Santorini has some wineries, some better than others.  The white wines are the best, and we visited two wineries.  The first was Domaine Sigalas in the valley below Oia.  we enjoyed a 12 glass tasting (!) with a greek salad and tapenade.  It was nice to be in a quiet and relaxing environment, away from the crowds.

 

The second winery was Santos Winery.  It is the island's largest winery that caters to the crowds.  The upside to our visit was the stunning view....and the 12 glass wine tasting!

We visited the ancient ruins of Akrotini which was a settlement during the Bronze Age.  It was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1627 B.C.   Although some finds were discovered earlier,  Greek archaeologist Marinatos began modern excavation in 1967, revealing a city.  We were told by our guide that he died by a collapsing wall at the site, and his remains are buried there.   In 2016, Russian billionaire Kaspersky began more excavation at the site, as he has a keen interest in the ruins.

We took the bus to Pyrgos, originally a fortress settlement of the Cyclades.  The village is situated at highest point of Santorini, and there are the ruins of Kasteli castle.  The winding passage ways offer stunning views of the island.  We had a delicious lunch at Rosemary Restaurant, enjoying the grilled octopus, and lamb cutlets and the views!  Truly magical ....it was a highlight of our visit.

Last, but not least, a few of the colorful doors of Pyrgos.....

A truly memorable trip.....lovely Santorini!

Pat's work in Namibia has come to a close.  While he was there, he visited Etosha National Park, Namibia's greatest wildlife sanctuary covering 20,000 sq. km.  He stayed at a lodge in the park, and did a self drive tour of the park with his work colleague in a vehicle.  He was thrilled to view the abundance and variety animals in the park, up close and personal.  There were zebras, giraffes, hyenas, elephants, springboks,  gemsboks, boars, baboons, rhinoceros and more.  The animals were frequently seen the watering holes.  

 

A once in a lifetime experience!!

 

 

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