This week the friends discuss their adventures and share tips for traveling to Santorini, Greece.
This week the friends discuss their adventures and share tips for traveling to Santorini, Greece.
Welcome, everyone, to the friends that carry on podcast where we dive deeper into our trips and tactics and everything in between. Now you sit back, relax, and get ready to go on a trip with your favorite refer friends.
Hello, and welcome to this week's podcast of friends to carry on. As you know, we're a group of friends who like to travel the world and the country and then share our experiences. today. The friends in the house and online are Eric Fargo, Tony price, Brian Romano and calling in from Carlisle Pennsylvania we have Terry Hall. Hey everybody. As you know you can catch friends that carry on at our website friendsthatcarryone.com and we're on all the various social media at friends that carry on as well. This week we are going to the Greek island of Santorini. Which right now, in this time of COVID, I couldn't think of a better place to be at right now. So I wish I was there right now. And actually, it was one one year ago right now that we were we were there. So in some of my Facebook feeds and other things, Amazon photos, memories of one year ago, we're coming up with lots of beautiful pictures. So I guess, in one sense, this is a timely, timely podcast. So anyhow, we'll get started here. I wanted to get the everyone's feel when you because it is an island and I know, Tony, Eric and I, we came by ferry. Terry, how did you arrive in Santorini?
We flew in from Athens, Jim.
Okay. Did you fly out also?
Well, originally we planned again, Istanbul. This was back in 2014. It's actually almost six years for us to we went the first week of April. And we figured, well, were over there in Istanbul, we're not that far from Greece. Let's just fly back home from Athens. So we started looking around from Athens to see which Island we want to visit. We had time for a couple days in Athens and about three days in an island so Santorini was what we decided. Okay, so we we flew in, long story short.
So what you're saying is you flew.
Well, what I wanted to know as we all came in by ferry and of course the ferry rods through the islands are beautiful. I mean, we were in the agency it was sunny day, which it is most time in Greece. But want to see what the guys take was, as was we first approached out and what, what caught your eye What was your impression? What was that first take as we as we approached,
I loved the weather. The whole time was just the gorgeous water but coming into Santorini you come in to all the cliffs you know just the whole cliff side and the top and just seeing those beautiful blue you know domed buildings and all the picturesque things you see on postcards and all the movies and things you've seen in for the first time just kind of coming into this nice slow pace on the ferry. It was it was pretty cool to watch
how higher those cliffs Any idea?
1200 feet? Yeah, because what struck me was, you know, Santorini wasn't the first one we stopped off at a couple other islands we pick people up, we drop people off. And as you're approaching those islands, you approach those islands before we approach Santorini. And you notice all the building only happens in the top third of the island. The very top of it, and you're thinking wow, the work that must have gone in to building these must have you know how are I don't know how old are they? The Greek islands where they developed?
developed or just existed?
Everything right you remember everything's on the very top of the tip top.
I understand you're saying we're like Santorini is a volcanic island. So it was created from a volcano. But the,
like 1620 BCE or something like that.
Jim and Eric 4:23
Yeah, cuz I mean, there's the town that they're excavating in alkar. Alkateri. Sorry about that. I think it goes back to 5000 BC. So the
Yeah, it was two, It was 2000 years before they said before Pompei.
Yeah, yep. So anyway, it was kind of neat to see when you came in to see the only the developed part of the island was the very tip top of the eye.
Right, well along those lines, what struck me, obviously the water like Tony said, the beautiful blue skies but then like, as you as you're a little further away. It almost looks like a snow capped mountain as you're approaching because it's all white at the top and then you got the dark mountains below so it's sort of like like a snow capped mountain where it's on top but as you get closer you realize those are the dwellings so just like Eric said, it's the dwellings are up top and obviously you're on a cliff and I guess you have to get to the part that you can actually build on but they're they are all White and bright white. So it really does look like snow as you're approaching it. But then when you get closer, you see see what it is it's still kind of breathtaking to come in that contrast with the bright blue skies.
So do they have ordinances there as far as or restrictions on the types of buildings the height of buildings Any idea? I mean.
they eventually they do.
I can't I don't know. I just know not many went over two or three stories, it seems.
Right so there weren't skyscrapers.
No, not at all.
I bet they do have something like that, Brian, that's how do you keep it like that over all these years. If you don't you know?
Yeah, I don't know
Dont require it.
A lot of it is because of resources there. There's not much there to build with that, besides rock. And a lot of these houses originally were caves that had local fishermen, you know, you dug holes in the, in the walls to make your cave house. And over the years they've evolved into, you know, the house that you see today.
Another couple months of this, and I might be doing the same in shepherdstown.
All right. Well, and and on top of that, the Greece economy has not been exactly thriving over the last decade. And one of the things that stood out once we actually got up on the island, you had a lot of concrete structures that it started so they had the floors and the stairs and all but they were just shells and you know, because the economy bombed out and hadn't come back. You just saw all these starts all over the place, but never finish. So even if they had at least in recent years Thought about bigger commercial development. It just wouldn't happen economic wise and probably can just like Terry said, the resources aren't great. And it's kind of built out on the top parts like in Fira and Thera. It's pretty crowded through there so it's there's only so much space on a three mile and so
that place was beautiful that one
yeah, absolutely gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. And then I was we came in by ferry and I was listening to to another travel podcaster chris chris isn't on the amateur travel.com and he was I was listening to his Santorini episode as you know, prepping for this and just to remind myself same stuff. And he was talking he came in by ferry also. And, and I remember when we got off, and he was a mad rush to find a cab or a shuttle or whatever to get yourself up to because you're at the bottom of these 1200 foot cliffs and it's nothing But swayback rides all the way back up up to the top of the thing of course, we'd never been there before. And he described it the exact same way just to rush and then you had whether you had tour buses or shuttle buses or cab drivers. The lanes are very narrow the sway backs were you know, 90 degree I guess you'd say. And and the drivers were just going by each other with inches to spare as they went by each other. But you know, drove it like champs like there's nothing was happening. So it was pretty interesting and pretty wild as we first got up there. But anyway, I just thought it was interesting. He had the exact same experience we did going through there.
I wonder if he got almost dropped off at the wrong place like Eric did.
Well, I was about to bring that up. Eric, do you want to share that we're all on the same shuttle bus. Eric was at a different hotel, and then Tony, myself and our wives were going to to a separate place. And we had told the guy and of course he speaks Greece and Greek and and I guess English. But whatever Eric told him, you know, he got pulled over. Well, you can take it from there.
Well, yeah, I was staying in a place called hotel liknos. I'm looking at the picture here because I took a picture of it. I always take a picture of where I'm staying in case I forget, need to show your driver where to go.
Thats a good idea.
Well, not not my driver, but myself after I've been out all night. You understand? So I took a photo of it. And when we got in, I had showed him the address. And he looked at me kind of weird, like, and we didn't communicate right that point. And I knew he didn't know where I was staying. I just knew it.
He just nodded his head.
Yeah, yeah. He just nodded his head. And I could tell I'm like, okay, we're going to get to my place and we're going to have problems. And that's exactly what happened because he dropped me off at another place. I said, and I got out and he told me this was the place I'm like, No, I don't think it is. And then he started to take off. I ran back. I'm like, this isn't the place.
You would actually cross the street, busy street.
run across her blow. Wow.
Right. And I'm like, I know This is it. I know, you know, it's just one of those feelings one of those. I just I'm like, No, this isn't right. And I wasn't I got back and we did finally find it and I got dropped off at the correct place.
Yes, a tear you get you came in from the airport. I was just gonna say from from a listener standpoint, the other thing when you get off the ferry, and you're obviously probably going to one of the two villages of Fira or Thera. And so the theory I'd already looked up to say, you know, what we typically do when we travel, it's like, what's a reasonable cab ride fare? Because, you know, you're like fishing a net right? At that point. They're everywhere. They're on you like steak on poo. I mean, the first guy came up was like 50 euros. I was like, No, just now just kept on walking. He kept he was like chasing us.
Oh he was on you.
You got 20 yards deeper. It was 40 euros, you know, another 20 yards. It was 30 euros. I was like Finally I was like when I say like 20-25 euros. He's like, okay, okay, okay. Okay. And then he just like drag us like a half a mile away.
It was a little bit of a hike. It's also probably why I dropped Eric off at the wrong place.
Yeah, that was that was pretty funny then.
Well, that kind of segues into where we stayed that there, Terry, when you all were there? Did you all stay at hotel or do Airbnb or what what did you do?
Uh, we've researched it, Jim. And we found a very cool little boutique Airbnb, Im sorry, boutique hotel, right on top of the that ridge that goes down the middle of the island, where one side overlooks the caldera, and the other side goes down to the other side of the island where the snow population
Was this in Fira?
Was this is Fire
Yes, yes. So we stayed right on On the cordera side of the cliffs,
nice I bet there were some great views.
Well, we flew in late at night, late being about 8pm. So it was dark when we flew in our hotel. The lady running the hotel picked us up at the airport, so we didn't have that hassle about picking up the taxi or anything. But when we got to the hotel, it was completely dark. Yeah. All we saw was a big emptiness out there somewhere. And we knew there was gonna be a fantastic view. We just had to wait 12 hours to see it.
I bet it was awesome though.
Now do you remember the name of that boutique hotel?
Yes, it is the Theoxenia hotel.
if I'm pronouncing that right. But like I said, it's right on the Codera side. We woke up the next morning, we opened the door and boom, there it was right in front of us. It was an amazing experience. Just waking up and seeing that.
if I'm mistaken, that's the one right towards the end where they kind of like the street where you can drive ends right. And then you start the walking part.
It's exactly Tony. It's about two blocks from that parking area. Yeah, you can walk on in
That's where the donkeys come up.
And at this point, my check in experience still isn't over. Yeah. There's more.
There always is with Eric.
I know right
Well, do tell.
before we're there. I'd like to just wrap up with Terry though. So it sounds like everything was was very centrally located there at that hotel.
Yes, Jim. We could walk up and down either way. In fact, we walked almost halfway around the island up to how do you pronounce it? Oia?
yeah, we had this scheduled befor you started.
Jim and Terry 13:56
yeah. We walked half way to Oia to just along the perimeter there along the edge of the the hour.
Nice nice so the foundations were good and you would recommend that that place
Oh yes definitely it was cheap enough given the time of year it was a very reasonable price. Very small hotel but with great views on the rooftop terrace where they serve dinner or breakfast every morning.
Nice Nice. Well Eric, do you want to continue your check in a story or Odyssey especially since we're in Greece your Odyssey
Yes once I got dropped off at the correct place. I go to check in well there's a sign that says please go to such and such an address to check in. We do it boy right so I've got all my bags all this has just happened to me dropped me off almost the wrong place. I get dropped off the correct place I go in and I can't drop my bags. I've got bags, you know these things are heavy.
This the driver knew this. It was all about Cuz Tony only was willing to pay him 20 euros actually right? So it goes back to Tony's fault. Thank you, Brian. We were fine. We had no problem.
We had to take it out on somebody. So I had to walk but wait a minute. I had to walk so that one side of the road there's a hill, the other side of the road. There's, you know, it's like Morgantown, West Virginia. Okay. Right. So this hotel was at the bottom of a hill to check in. And I sit When I got down there. I'm carrying all my bags, you know? And I'm like, how do we get back up to the Don't tell me we're walking? Oh, yeah, we're walking. I'm like, Oh my gosh, I've got to walk back up this hill to go check in the place that I first went to in the first place. So sorry, hotel Ignace I wasn't real happy with you. But that's you know, I didn't know that we
How was the hotel though? Once you got in,
Well it was one of the again I went a little cheap on this route. It was three nights. So it was one of those where it had a bed and a bathroom and the bathroom had just the you know the shower curtain that you pull around you and it always sticks to you when you shower. One of those places but the bed worked it let me sleep so that's all it really mattered
it cut the power off strategic throughout the day,I remember that we walked through like oh they turn the power off occasionally like
but I was right in the heart of everything I could walk out and be right on the main drag and the main drag had a split off that went up the hill and I was very close to all that so you know good location, good
Jim and Eric 16:21
location and what was the name of that again? Hotel Litnos. Hotel Litnos right in the heart of things but Litnow know a bit on the budget side.
And on the budget side if you want to budget it's good for that. Right? You want a real shower, don't go there. Sorry.
Now Tony and I and our wives went to a place called Astro palace. What What were your thoughts on that turning
that place was awesome. I have to admit when we walked in, you just kind of tell when you go in certain places just really cater to people and when they like immediately put take your luggage off to the side. They don't want you touching it. Do you have a similar experience and mikonos earlier but you know the take you off to the side, get your drinks, puts you on the couches, you're chilling, you're just relaxing. They're like, you stay there until we get you all checked in. And then they bring you up to like a little table and they bring out maps and they're like, showing you exactly where you are probably the places you're going to want to walk to, and how you get there and who you need to call if you get lost and all this kind of stuff. You know, then they each get us a guy and takes us out to our places and all the rooms have their own private little pools. You know, it's it's one of those types of places and
where are you Is
it just the place What was the name of this one again? Astro palace,
Astro palace? Yep.
Yeah, it was pretty spectacular.
It was it was it was incredible experience on top of the individual pools you had a normal big sized pool with a pool sidebar. They also had a big spa area. I think Teresa's only one that that took advantage of it but she got a full spa treatment. She says incredible. They took her in first and had the the steam room. So got her you know so just totally fogged out couldn't see anything in the room with so much steam in there then you know took her in to the bath house and and chilled out there then got a really relaxed and actually did the the massage and just said it was the most incredible experience.
Yeah, I mean along the pool they had which a lot of these places have them but the cabanas like with the tented cabanas pool and giant basically beds they're not lounge chairs they're like full kingsize mattresses that you can I mean some people really just flat out snooze and well maybe they were hung over and passed out
that was you, no I wasnt!
but yeah, maybe one day one Yeah, one morning. But yeah, and then they had a fantastic buffet in the morning too.
It really was. Yeah, I was gonna mention that as well. I mean, most buffets you're just thinking of you know, runny scrambled eggs and whatever meat bacon. This thing was was just immaculate I mean from poached egg. So all kinds of different fruit. And various breads and just a great selection very well laid out very neat and tidy is probably not the best way to say it. But it was just a really nice spread.
Was it a large hotel? any sense of how many rooms?
What was really unique about it? Maybe? Yeah, it's hard to say because they less than 50 different buildings. So like, the main building had some, the non I guess, private pool places. So that maybe had 30 more traditional showrooms. And then you walked out the back and there was a nice big pool and the pool bar. And then there was several like stations, you know, of groups of maybe six to eight hotels, rooms kind of built
on a hillside on the hillside. Yeah, I was so impressed with it. I went back and booked it for my daughter for her honeymoon. That's their honeymoon trip but, and I booked the same hotel because it looked like that it looked like a honeymoon type of place or they will be definitely impressed with it.
You know, so Oh yeah, they'll definitely I mean a lot fountains and just all the little extra stuff. One of the things that impressed me with the I guess what the room but just the entire space because in Ayers one it was a row long room so he had a lot of space to begin with big bathroom, big area big canopy bed and and really felt like you had a living room to which I mean you did you had a couch and all that so when you set an enormous amount of space there but then when you went out the door you had a small porch, which is typical for a hotel with some chairs, but then your private pool, just stretched on for another 30-40 feet. And then you had another little cabana on the other side of the pool that was yours with your private chairs and lounge chairs and it was just you just felt I didn't use so much space. Usually you're in a hotel, you're just feel cramped up there. You just get to stretch out and do whatever and just was it was really nice. So it was well worth it. And it was certainly not out in the middle of nowhere but it wasn't right in the middle of Fira. We had To walk up the hill probably a 5-10 minute walk maybe but it wasn't bad at first I thought it was gonna be kind of troublesome. But once we did the walk once I was like, well, you're there in few minutes and no big deal.
Yeah. So, guys, yes sir. You say you had a view? Did you have the view of the cordera? Or did you have it for the of the back of the island?
Jim and Tony 21:20
back the back? Yeah, yeah the back Yeah, it looked down over the valley into the back, whatever that is Bay or you're right.
It was really kind of cool though. When you were in the when the pool because of you're still on the hillside it was before you get down to the flat areas. So when you're in there wasn't really an infinity pool but you'd looked out and just saw water
you're basically up the hill from the airport. You're really it's down at the bottom down by the ocean down by the sea.
Yeah, so definitely highly recommend the Astro palace. And in the What was the name of the your boutique hotel again, Terry. I would repeat it because it sounds great but couldn't remember.
The Theoxeina hotel.
Jim and Tony 21:58
Gotcha. Okay. And then on the budget we can go to Eric's what was that hotel litnos. Litnos. All right well let's let's go into some of the day tours there's lots of activities to do on Santorini though it's a small island there's a lot of stuff going on there. Among them is Terry even mentioned one of the things you can do for free is you can hike all the way from Fira to Oia, Oia, it gets me every time I say it about five different ways. Villages so there's a hiking trail between between those two villages. Also, there's various beaches there, it's volcanic but they I guess the rocks are different colors. So you have a Red Beach, a white beach and a black beach. I'm probably leaving another color out but that I hear they're kind of grain. Kind of Rocky a little bit or small stone but there they are beautiful beaches. There. The Color you left out as nude nude yeah gotcha. Okay cool really shot Okay, so that's not just the type of beach that's the actual name of the beach well that's why they were looking at Eric funny.
Was he nude on the wrong beach
sigh that was a little bit of awkward silence there sorry about that.
And then there's ancient Thero which has views and of the volcano and of course the sea but also the ruins there that was wiped out during the explosion. So we didn't get to do those. We went by some of the beaches on on catamaran tour. It sounds like Terry did part of the hike. Before I get in some of the day trips we did, Terry, what were some of the stuff that that you all did?
Well, we also hit those beaches. The second day, and we Actually the day before we contacted the hotel and asked him to arrange a convertible rental for us. So we decided to just tool around the island in a convertible. So the next morning, the guy brought it out it was a bright red brand new VW Beetle. It was it was beautiful had 3000 miles on it. And he he kept on saying please, please take good care of my car.
Go by the look of the first thing we do is go to a winery.
But we did plan to hit up a couple wineries that day and hit the beaches. So we stopped at the first one. I can't think of the name of it right off. But the second we do a tasting here we're going to take it easy and hit a couple more wineries and hit the beaches. Sant Barnes is a name. Santo. So we go there from the tastings. And luckily, we got there before the tour buses get in. And if you do these tours, that's something you have to think about to beat the crowds before the boats come in, and the day trippers come out, and so on and the buses come because it gets extremely packed. But anyways, my buddies and I were three of us there. And we said, okay, we'll just do one tasting. And the tasting is everyone they sold. Yeah,
that's one and that's more than three guys.
Yes, yeah. I'm looking at the picture here. And there's actually 18 glasses of wine a brought out one, one tray. Oh my god. Yeah, they're tastings are different than our tastings. They bring everything out at one time. They give you a piece of paper and you do it on your own. But these were not tasting size class. is a line a full port of wine?
I'm starting to worry about the Volkswagen.
Needless to say, we decided not to do any more wineries that day. We said look, this is going to end up bad if we continue. So, we had those 18 glasses of wine. We walked around the venue for a while sobered up. And then we proceeded to just hit the black beach, the Red Beach. We had a tremendous grill octopus, grilled squid actually meal at the Red Beach and it was just great day just to rent a car
and so was that us to a restaurant? Along the beach that you stopped?
Yeah, it's just a little mama pop place. I can't find it right now. Oh, here it is. It is Is Melinas. Meli That's either ha or na I can't figure out how they're spelling that it's a fish Tavern right on the beach. It was just incredible little place. We went in the first week of April so there's only one other couple there at the restaurant is all season we basically had the whole south side of the island to ourselves.
Nice that sounds fantastic. Yeah well, we when our tours one that was the first thing we did was we did it was a combo tours a day trip where we went to the Akrotiri ruins and archaeological site which was was fantastic. And then that followed up with a wine tour to three different vineyards. And for the most part we had the same guy leading the tour he dropped us off at Alkortiri which was incredible. If you can do that. That it's great they, this was it sort of a Pompei situation where the volcano erupted and when the ash settled and everything it kind of left everything in place like it was 5000 years ago. And they've been digging it out this the area they had and actually have it under roof. So you go inside, but then it's the dig. It's an ongoing dig. It's only about 10% of the whole city of Alkortiri village Alkortiri. There but you you they carve things out there. They're showing you some original pots and all that were there from then one of the neatest things that I found in that thing. And of course, we come from West Virginia where running water and outhouses are still not totally a thing of the past. But on the third floor is a second or third floor of this the house that that they were showing us at the time they actually had an indoor toilet with running plumbing. On the third floor, obviously it was somebody that had some money at that time or whatever, but to have the technology at 5000 bc to have a running functioning toilet was was pretty incredible. So it was it was a pretty amazing sight. There's a lot of other stuff What were your all's takes on that?
Yeah, they're discovering the city from the top down, obviously. And it's either three or four storeys tall, a lot of it. So it they're uncovering from the roof down to the down to the, you know, the footers, and it's kind of incredible to see unfold that unfortunately, they don't have enough money to keep continue to dig. It's kind of a bad situation.
It was pretty awesome, though. I mean, the just to kind of see some of the cool stuff from that long ago. I just realized that, you know, there there was dark ages, you know, some of that stuff existed way before and all these people thinking they're inventing something like Dude, we did this thousands years ago
or so. is a bit of patent on it. So from there, like I said, we had that there was a part of the same tour. And we actually had a sama Lear who was our leader and we went to the first vineyard. What was interesting is we came through the vineyard grounds. Here we're thinking of the grape vines and up on the, the rails and the lines and spread out up, you know, coming up from the ground and off the ground, you know, three or four or five feet. These look like little cabbage patches. So they're down on the ground and these little round you know, circle around circle of dog nurse. Yeah, like a nest on the ground. And even though it's Santa Santorini is surrounded by water. It is very arid and dry. It rarely gets rain. So the reason they keep them in the nest like is in the morning, mist and due is how he collects water to to feed itself and and that by that arrangement allows water to to accumulate or condensation to accumulate and and feed itself. So I thought that was pretty cool.
Yeah. And also to protect against all the wind
Winds would tear traditional vines and the wiring up because it's pretty windy out there.
So our small a was Angela right. And that's that's right, Angelo, and it was the Santorini wine adventure. So I know that'd be it was a, it was he was awesome.
He was very knowledgeable. A lot of good pairings as far as teaching as acid versus, you know, sweet things like that. And purposely combining wines with bad, you know, food divisions. Yeah, to tell you to teach you how to pair it with good foods. This
where I really learned a lot.
I remember asking a question like, so how did you really get exposure to say, I know that that didn't taste good. It seems like you'd be suprised what I had to eat and put in my mouth. I was like, but yeah, he was good.
He was fancy. So was he part of like a franchise or a group of some sort?
He was just one of the tour guides of for this
company that does.
Yeah. But is the trained Somalia
right as you say he is a certified or trained or whatever the proper credentials are for
you. I think he knew he stuff.
Yeah. It was really good. And we ended up going to a total of three vendors. The second one overlooked. Is that concerned? the caldera there? Yeah, that was Santo wines. Okay, so that was Santos wines.
And just beautiful love we went to, is it? Yes. Yeah, great view. And again, it cracks me up because the difference between those European countries are pretty much anywhere else in the world in America. There'd be 25,000 lawsuits for this place. I mean, it's literally a curb height, you know, four or five inches and then it's down the cliff to the car there.
Jim and Tony 33:01
I know let's open a winery right on the club and not put any fencing up. Perfect. Nice spectacular views though. Right, Terry?
Oh, incredible. Yeah.
Is that where you did the 18 glasses?
Yes. Wow. Okay,
So we sat in the same place. Yeah. Okay. Well, we didn't have 18
Well, we did for like a slacker we probably did throughout the whole day though. Okay, good, big.
Absolutely. So, so that was one of our day trips. The next day, we actually went on a sunset catamaran cruise. Keep in mind sunset, at that time of year was 8:30 or nine, maybe, maybe later, probably nine ish. And it started three or 3:30. So and
We were there till sunset.
We were definitely there till sunset. They grilled for us. They had beer/wine for us the whole time. Music I mean it was it was a really nice setup in a nice cruise course we went around
Brian and Jim 34:10
to the tip you go up to the tip of the right there's a name for it but yeah the tip
Right so but we got to do a lot of other stuff So not only did we provide all that we're seeing some fantastic views of everything little churches up on the cliffs and some great rock rock features to stick it out. But we also got to go snorkeling if you wanted to. We got to go swimming so they anchored and Tony had just gotten a GoPro I think his GoPro seven Yep, seven hero and which is waterproof and also he dove in with that got some great pictures of little fishes underneath the water and whatever else was down there and just made for some interesting videos. So we got to swim for a while got you know, got to refresh ourselves and then we went a little bit further. And there's a hot hot springs, but it's a sulfer spring so it's you know, supposed to be medicinal and all this type of stuff and a lot of the other catamarans were there so you had all these different boats kind of anchored there and then you would swim over and prior to going jumping in and all the the, the crew is telling you Okay, when you get there, it's going to be extremely muddy. Some people like to get the mud all over him, you know, like a mud bath type of thing. So don't do that. It's gonna be it's very difficult to get off and we do not once you get on our boat with all that it was a brand new boat and they did not want to get on there. But we're, where we were anchored, you're looking and they keep pointing over to the land. He sees the land looks like it's 50 yards away. Which that it was, but that's not what that's not where the springs was. So, you know, you jump in, you're swimming over there and you think okay, 50 hours, not that big a deal. But this Then you had to make a left, go another 50-75 yards then a right. And another 50-75 yards all of a sudden it's become a heck of a swim. Yeah. And the places were shallow, the rocks were very jagged and sharp, wasn't necessarily comfortable when you did get when you weren't treading water. But we did eventually get up to the springs. And it was kind of cold just before he got there. And then when you got into it, it was warmer and really did have the, the ground or the the base of instead of saying was this mud, so it was kind of a weird stuff that your feet are going through and all that. So we get up. There's other groups there. And there's just one big guy and he was just wallowing in the mud. He came up and he was totally brown from head to toe. I was like Oh, dude. So anyway, I was pretty cool, though. What were some of your thoughts there at the springs.
I remember just jumping in. And again, not only are you been drinking wine for several hours now. But I'm jumping in there's no life jackets, and I'm also carrying a GoPro. So I'm doing it with like one arm. Wow, that is a long way to swim with just one arm. Like hopefully I make it good.
And I was I mean, I wasn't too worried to on the way back now on the way back there was another boat, it wasn't a catamaran and he had a bunch of people in there and and as we find in almost every country we go to, they started singing in country roads. I mean, we're in the middle of the GNC in this this little Bay alcove and you got a boat full of people saying in almost seven West Virginia. So anyhow, that that inspired me to make it back to the boat. But I had the it wasn't same fear. I wasn't carrying anything. But uh, you know, I'm swimming over there. And then for whatever reason, a little wave or something catches me right in the face and goes down my throat. And each time I come up to try to take a big breath and cough it out. I get hit again. I'm just like, no Oh my god, I'm 20 yards from the boat. And I'm gonna swallow a bunch of waters and sink. Anyhow, obviously made it. Yeah, I did make it. But anyhow, it was it was a great experience. And then when we eventually did get to the sunsets, I mean it was it was really incredible sunsets
and how long was the? How long was the cruise in total hours? Were you out there?
Five - six hours?
Brian and Jim 38:27
at least six hours maybe a little long, I think really kind of lost track of time.
I think they picked us up at two and it was a van to take us down to the dock. And then we were out by like three
3-3:30 And again sunset until dark so it was 9- 9:30 by the time we got back and so it was a long day. And definitely well I mean it was well worth whatever we didn't pay that much. It was well worth whatever we paid. Absolutely. so highly recommended. And now we booked through viator and I went back to look for that I couldn't find the act because there's a lot of different cruises there, right? And I'm not sure what the actual name of the tour operator, I apologize for that. But anyhow, so lots of day trips, but those were some of the ones we, we enjoyed.
Anybody hike up to the monastery?
Brian and Tony 39:18
Was that really I would call that a hike from where we were. You talking about, you know, the blue with the crosses on it and all that Brian, I was just this was in in Thera
You know, to climb up to see ancient thera or it just says it more ambitiously the monastery so it sounded like that might be a kind of a bit more of a hike. All the way up to the views. What was it, Tony is that
he's right there. And in theory, I don't recall. Yeah. Do anything like that. Did you do that, Terry?
Yeah, we did. They were not open to the public when we went there, but we could spot through the windows and it looks very beautiful.
And just like the old days Right, yes, or maybe not so old, I don't know.
And there's also a trip to the volcano cone that's in the middle of that Cadera. That's what we did. Which is another option. Everybody wants to do something like that.
Wow, how was that
Its great. It's about 400 feet high above sea level. And yeah, that cone is still growing it. The volcano, I guess, is considered still active. So the volcano cone in the middle of the island, or their cordera is still growing. But at the time was 400 feet. There's no vegetation on the islands just lava rock, some shrubbery or whatnot. You see the sulfur fumes coming up out of the ground. You can definitely feel the earth beneath you. At least rumble 10 degrees warmer. Oh warmer, this rowdy cool. It's very cool. The island is very small. But from that island, you get the view of all of Santorini, which is pretty nice experience
Did bring any volcanic ash or anything back with you, Terry.
Just in his lungs
Uh that is illegal. We do have a friend that does do stuff like that.
Jim and Eric 41:20
I was gonna say, I brought some pummus home, I think,
yeah, if they catch you with that at the airport. You could get in a lot of trouble.
They were really little pieces of pummus. I mean, really, really little.
Pretty funny. Did you go over to Oia Terry?
Yes. We rented a taxi. And we went there for the sunset. Incredible. That's always one of the top 10 sunsets in the world. Google that. pops up. Did you guys do that also, or you saw?
Yeah, I was gonna say that was just one of the travel recommendations I was gonna make is we decided to do the bus. Because it was really inexpensive, but note to self, if you're in a rush, right, don't take the bus,
take the tax, they take the taxi
and if they were charging out the wazoo on the way back from Oia, because the line we got there just in time because we got there, we end up waiting about 45 minutes probably for the next class. There must have been, what 200 people behind us
It was packed up quick. It was hot. It was afternoon and people want to get back.
But yeah, and when most people think of santorini and they think of sunsets, it's the village of Oia is what they're what they see that's where you see those speckled blue domes and you know that gorgeous gorgeous sunset and yeah, I got some fantastic pictures from you know, that very bottom corner where the sunsets and just, just again, spectacular. We got also there a couple little shops. I got a canvas Another painting that's in the house from there. Yeah, really good. Yeah, absolutely. And I would say from a travel timeframe, because you guys were also in May, weren't you? When you went? Yeah.
We went first of April. I, we did it because it was cheaper then. And there'll be less crowds. But we did get to have use of the polls and, or whatnot. But you got to balance out which one you want to do the most.
Yeah, we kind of did the same thing and that we didn't want to, we want it to be warm because we want to get in the water. But we also didn't want there to be a gazillion people and kind of that last part of May. And then you get to kind of the shoulder seasons, and then that September timeframe was good, but I remember being an Oia and again, it's smaller than Thera as far as like the little walkways and the alleyways and in in May, it was packed it was it was hot. Like I couldn't imagine being on the sidewalks in middle of July when it's 10 degrees warmer, and there's three times as many people. So
Speaking of Oia, we were there. I might have mentioned this to you guys before. And we've talked about meeting people from your same country or same state or whatnot all over the world. We were looking for the Atlantis bookstore in Oia on the way to the sunset. That was one of the top 10 bookstores in the world, if you google some sites, due to the views and whatnot. So I really wanted to see this on this bookstore. But we did not find it on the way through town the first time that gave you see the sunset, so we thought, well, damn, we're going to miss out. But walking right back through the town on the way back, john pointed out like Terry, it's a bookstore you wanted to see, I said oh, yes, it is. We got to go in. So We go inside and there's a, an older couple with their two college aged daughters sitting there. Americans you could tell, and that was it. There's nobody else in the bookstore. The lady behind the counter is very nice. And they serve a food and drink there too. So this family was having a little dinner. And while we were looking around, we started overhearing them saying they lived in Baltimore. So I'd say, Well, at the time I was living in Hagerstown, Maryland, which is for those that don't know, about 60 miles away from Baltimore. Oh, we're all from a small town in West Virginia, called sheperdstown. And sure enough, they said, We know sheperdstown we go to the Mecklenburg inn. We were there visiting friends. Nice. So yeah, here we are. A third of the world away. We find people Go to her hometown. And if we would have found the Atlantic, Atlantis bookstore, the first time through, we probably never would have met this family on the way back through town. So I just thought that was a little neat.
To give the listeners a little bit of, I guess, sense of where we are. We're doing this podcast and if you walk out our front door across the street, that's the Mecklenburg Inn
stone's throw away.
Yeah. Well, speaking of the Mecklenburg inn. Why don't we talk about some of the wining and dining in Santorini. Terry, did you all have any restaurants or you mentioned one with at the Red Beach but any other restaurants that stood out to you all while you were there dining experiences?
Not really, Jim. Yeah, we stopped at a little roadside, stay in twice, nondescript place and a couple of restaurants were View but now we just wandered around and we see a place we just popped in for food.
Well and that's one of the nice things about Santorini itself that you You almost never have a bad view if you're in the right area. And there's a ton of places to get great seafood and also it's kind of hard to go wrong. Now we had we had booked a reservation. I think Shelley had looked it up and and found this restaurant is a place called volcano blue. And this was the first full night we had been there. And we get there and it's overlooking the cliffs I guess you'd say and the the caldera and the water and it just ended up being a fantastic experience. What What were your thoughts on volcano blue?
Yeah, just the two things that stood out to me other than the gorgeous views the whole time you're sitting there, and it was a little hazy that day, but still, I mean, just unbelievable. But the food I think we talked about this a little bit before because this meal is just one of those top meals that I've had. And I know Eric and I both took a video because I got just like the fresh fish of the day, you know, and they just brought it out and filleted it for me right at tableside you know, de-boned it and everything and just served it on the plate. And it was as good as the presentation was, so it was. And again, I think we were there for three hours. Yeah, we were there through sunset. Yeah, there was dark and we laughed after we had desserts and everything. But yeah, it was. It was a great, great evening. Yeah.
Yeah. Now I had a seafood salad and, and when they brought the plate down, I've got pictures of it. And I think it's even been on the website before. You didn't see any lettuce. I mean, it was full of squid and, and scallops and fish and all kinds of different seafood. And it was just, it tasted just as good as it looked. It was absolutely awesome. There may have been some lettuce underneath all that that seafood but it was incredible. But just everything the, the ambience, obviously you got the beauty of the sunset and the water and then you got the great food. I mean it was just an incredible experience all the way around. And then as far as I know, we stopped in a few other places and they were good, but it is you know, it's like Terry could pop in and now different places. Some other places we had thought about going there's a place called 1800. And it's a it's an old captain's house from 1845. And it's located in Oia, and it has all the original furnishings and colors from the 1800s and it's got a rooftop terrace and we wanted to get there we just never never quite got there. But if you ever get a chance 1800s another good place to go for dining. What about we've talked about dining a little bit what about the the wine and dine part of that? Not counting the the wine tours. Terry, Did y'all have any cool bars or experiences that that you found that were good hang outs?
Not really Jim. Being the first of April, like I said, I'd say half the places were closed. Yeah, being off all season. So there was not a whole lot of options for us. In terms for that.
Interesting. Well, there's a couple places, and we're gonna get to a little jazz bar here in a second that we really liked. But there's another place called PK, a cocktail bar year round. It's family owned, incredible views, but they come up with some pretty wild cocktails. So if you're out looking for a place that's that's a good location to go, Tony, do you know any more about that?
Not that one. I was going to mention that saloon bar too. Oh, yeah.
Just to summarize all of these that you're talking about within walking distance of your hotel
Oh, yeah, yeah, this is all in everything's within walking. That's that top of the hill. So like we're Thiro that it's that whole area where and then that donkey street literally is donkey Street and leads down through there and all along though called narrow side but all kinds of little side streets but that whole general area is full of food, shops. I mean, great shopping mean just absolutely great shopping if you'd like linen clothes and kind of that summary island wear man you can find some we spent four or five hours at one day shopping
But the saloon part I just thought was quirky because when you hear saloon, you're thinking more of kind of a true country western, you know, saloon. And that's the case on the first floor. But remember, the second floor was a full on dance club. I mean, it was just so bizarre downstairs, you got the saloon doors and everything up then you go upstairs and it's just (club noises) Right.
It was crazy plus we go in there we'd already been out for dinner and all and already had a cocktail an evening cocktail so to speak. And then the wives were ready to go in so we walked them down and we said come back out. And the downstairs part of the saloon there's few people there you can kind of hear music in the background but it wasn't that crowded but then you kind of knew something's going on upstairs so we walk up this tight spiral staircase and then the door in and then you couldn't move it you couldn't walk in the door there without having to you know work your way through and on then it's like Terry or Tony said the the electric music and all that it was just wall to wall people you couldn't move just a sweatbox
Jim and Eric 52:43
that's not where I met my dance partners is it that was later, Oh Okay.
So but anyhow, but that that as we came back there, well, let me back up. After we had that nice dinner at volcano blue and we walked around, we walked the steps up to the top of Fira there which was alongside the cliff and it was nighttime so all the lights of the cruise ships and all the lights looking back across Fira itself was was just beautiful you know being everything black except for the different color lights. So you get all the way to the top then you kind of start working your way back there's different shops and and all that type of stuff so we didn't really have a plan to go anywhere. But as we're winding our way back through these little little streets, we hear you know a little bit of music sound like a little bit of excitement and it was just a small jazz bar. We're like what that sounds like cool place Let's go check this out. And it was a tiny little place we barely found a table that could seat all five of us and we were booked off in the corner. And anyhow we got a place and the waitress was real friendly. The bartender, seemed real friendly too, kind of hyper but friendly but they served us We had a great Great time the girls had a good time and had a few drinks it was just a really cool atmosphere yeah Texas pretty cool so so we head out like so we go back and then us guys I well you know we can stand another drink or two so we go to the saloon and hung out there for a while had a really good time but now it's getting kind of late I mean we dropped the girls off at 11 -11:30 so it's already late but then when you come back and then have a few more doesn't take long for it gets late late. And so we're cruising through back through Fira to find some place we found some dance clubs for Eric to dance with some people that that went real well,
they did. They didn't like my dancing.
To say the least.
Damn, was it fun
it was it was fun or funny or both
entertaining, I'm sure.
So now it's we're definitely should be home and in bed and all that and we're walking down and we end up going by the jazz bar and it's still open. So yeah, what's one more so we go in there and they just they they lit up when they say lit up and saw was that the same waitress, same bartender and I don't know if he was the owner too, or, or just the bartender, but I mean, he just welcomed us like, I mean, he couldn't have a better welcome. So it was just one of those things now there's only like five other people in there and us. So they just made for a really good good time. Being welcome in there. Any other thoughts from you all on that on the jazz bar?
No, other than I highly suggest it. I mean, it's a great, great, cool place to go and hang out and have a drink or two.
Good atmosphere good drinks and good music. You don't on in a in a great location. Yeah.
Well, weren't you helping her pick? Pick some of the music?
Yeah, I ended. Yes, I did. She showed me her collection.
Nice music. So Jim Scott. What you're saying is always go for the nightcap.
I don't discourage that right. So anyhow, so and there's lots of other good bars are around around the town in Oia there's this Oia vineyard. It's actually holistic Wine Experience is an old traditional home and they have an old then still intact great press and underground and went underground ground. I can't talk today underground wine cellars and courtyards that makes for a real nice you get you can see the sunsets it just makes for a really nice experience there as well. So there's and then there's a beach bar called Katharos lounge in Oia, which is more for beer lovers. But include a beach bar with local brews and once again watching the sunset so there's lots of cool places if you want to have a libation or two while you're in Santorini. So, anything else on wine and dine it up? Forget any any places you would like to mention.
Not that I can think of. I mean, again, it's like one of those things you stop in several places. And they kind of blur together and I hate to say that but they're they're all kind of great through that whole area up there.
So yeah, the food was Yeah, generally good everywhere.
And that's what makes it nice. When you have an area like that it doesn't matter you know, you're probably going to get good food no matter where you go. I know when we were in an Oia and it was just lunchtime we're just trying to find a place but it was more of a cafeteria style place but it was decent and yet a heck of a view of the water and everything else and it was kind of cafeteria style but food was fine and and all that so it's hard to go wrong in a place like that even the food tastes bad. I mean, you got great views and in a great climate so it's it's hard to hard to do wrong there.
Yeah, even though we stopped at some corner, a little place and got gelatos right, inexpensive as can be. But there was something kind of cool about walking on the top of that street. Just down from where Terry's hotel was in and you're walking down and you're looking over the Cadera sun is starting to set and you know, the gelato tastes a lot better that way just sayin.
My mouth is watering well for the most part that wraps up Santorini I do want to say because we exited by airport we flew out even though we took a ferry and the airport is under total reconstruction. There's a obviously a lot more flights coming in and out and they definitely need the expansion. But that was a unique very small airport. That was like being herded like cattle to get from get your flight and whatever and just interesting. Do have any thoughts on on the airport?
No, I like i said i just booked all of this all over again for my daughter and her fiance will be your husband and I had to book those little jumper flights And I use just FYI out there. I used kayak for everything. It seemed to work well, and, you know, it works well for me. And I got pretty good rates. And I just booked those jumper flights maybe a week ago. So I'm finally finished with their entire trip, except for a few little things.
Whoa. And hopefully by October they won't have any problems. I really hope they did they allow for you for a cancellation on those If yes, yes, they did. Okay. Yes, they did.
Now supposedly I haven't checked it was supposed to be done this year. I don't know if the whole COVID thing is putting on delay. But I mean, it was a huge expansion. It was over 100% increase in square footage. I mean, I think the security lines went from like two to eight although
the Yeah, the aiport.
There was increasing departure gates. I mean, everything. It was just literally like doubling the size of the year.
I think they probably got a few more airlines to fly in. Now there are Aegean, Olympic, a couple of others there were very few I mean maybe a handful now there might be a dozen maybe a dozen on a terry you know anything on that?
No Aegean and Olympic they are the Greek airline so they always flew there but as for the other ones Eric I couldn't really tell you
I think they're allowing more
Yeah that was the whole idea of the expansion is to have room for other airlines to come in. So
I mean, they definitely had flights rolling one after the other and that's why was crowded and and you just had to sort of roll through like I said, like a cow on and you're always a pack but you eventually got there and there wasn't a threat to miss the flight but there wasn't any place to stretch out either. Everybody was in the same room when
I flew out. I was actually I went through the airport with you guys. You all flew out like two hours ahead of me. I had to stay there. Two hours be be in that airport and kind of catch up to you do I think I did.
Dude, I have no idea.
Yeah, I think you did.
Yeah, cuz I remember we met at the hotel. And we had a hard time finding the hotel on once we got back to Athens. Gotcha. Gotcha.
All right, be a clusterfuck.
It can literally be
in It's weird. It is. It's really small. There's only there's nowhere you can go. It's just you have to wait for the flight and they operate pretty, pretty regularly. You know? It's just,
just don't stress it.
Yeah, that's important because if you look at it, it could look stressing, because it's like they make a call. Flight 737. Gate A well, there's only eight gate A gate B, there's a slam of people and you can't get through and you can't move. And then but somehow it opens up and the people that need to get through do and
They're not going to leave without you. That's one thing, right?
Yeah, these are usually the aircraft
Thats what they say.
Get off. usually get on these aircraft outdoors and up the stairs.
This one I remember. There's a nice little walk to get through.
But a lot of that was through construction everything else to get out to the airplane.
So I don't know about you guys but I'm ready to book.
Yeah. Oh my god. Absolutely, yeah! Terry you want to go Greece? Sure.
I tell you people out there listening if you ever wanted to go to a destination like that now would be the time to book it
Well I saying that because they just announced that they're opening the doors they're ready to take people
They open up in June I don't know how that is for people coming in and all that but that Greece is ready to open up
well, I will say this my the the flights that I booked for my daughter and her fiance. They did get a notice saying that they're going through Frankfort now. So we had talked about that earlier. It looks like they are taking steps to keep these flights together and going, you know, at this time, so that's a good sign for them. Anyway, it is and everyone else tried
Terry, I don't know if you saw I mean, I don't want to get too sidetracked there. Jim. I know you're trying to wrap up but we were talking about you know, Europe opening up. And looks like a lot of them are trying to open up in June which surprised me to hear that just here in the last week so,
So yeah, hopefully hopefully that means you that the US will be on their list that can come in without going into quarantine and that'll be a big help. And then it's, well the US flows back in. So that'll probably be the biggest question after after Europe opens up. But anyhow, interesting times crazy times. Yeah. Well, I think that wraps it up on Santorini. Any other thoughts that that we've left out guys anything
No, other than you should go. I really do think there's, you know, not that every place in the world isn't on our list and want to go and want to go back multiple times. But that is one of those places to me that is kind of a bucket list is the Greek islands with it's hard to go to the Greek islands without seeing Santorini.
So Alright, sounds like April's a good time to go. Less crowds. May is definitely going to go super blather a little more a little more crowded in May. And as you get on summary, we'll get definitely get more crowded.
Yep, absolutely. So Santorini you go there, you can't go wrong, it would be a great time. Anyhow, thanks for listening this as friends of carry on, catch the friends carry on.com and all the social media things. And we look forward to talking to you soon. Thank you. Thanks, guys.
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai