Having missed the sunrise on Kamari Beach the previous day, I vowed I would not miss it on my final morning in Kamari. I set my alarm the night before and got all my GoPro stuff ready so I could experiment with time lapse. When my alarm went off, I hopped right up and headed to the beach.
Surprisingly, there were other people out and about. Like me, some were there to watch and photograph the sunrise, but some were actually out for a morning swim! It was a brisk morning, and watching people jumping into the cold sea, made me even colder than I already was! Crazy people!
I set up my tripod and set my GoPro to start filming. Then I wrapped up in my Sand Cloud towel and laid back into the beach chair to enjoy the peaceful morning.
Once the sun was up, I stopped the GoPro. After watching the video, I should have waited for the sun to rise a little higher, but I was still pleased with the video for it being my first shot at it!
I went back to Blue Waves Hotel and grabbed some breakfast before packing and heading on to Imerovigli.
I’d had a brief introduction to Imerovigli on the day of the photo shoot, but I didn’t realize how unbelievably gorgeous the view was until I was checked into my new hotel, Tholos Resort.
My balcony was perfectly placed, or perhaps my hotel selection was on point the day I booked it. I will say, Tholos Resort is the most expensive accommodation for my entire trip, and while the room was nothing special, the view was completely worth it. Skaros Rock, pictured above, was right off my balcony, while a slight turn to the right would allow me a perfect view of the sunset. No crowds. No noise. Just God’s beauty in complete peace.
I sat on my balcony while eating a late lunch/early dinner, and watching another gorgeous sunset. Given my newly acquired GoPro time-lapse skills, I tried it again, and was even more pleased than at sunrise!
Following sunset, I decided to go down to the pool bar below and get a glass of wine. The plan was to lay in bed, drink my glass of wine, catch up on my blog and go to bed early so I could make the most of the next day. As I am writing this 6 days behind, I don’t have to tell you that didn’t happen. In fact, what did happen has been one of the highlights of this trip!
I went down to the pool and ordered the wine… on schedule at this point, but that’s where my plan was thwarted. There was an American family sitting in chairs at the pool and as I passed by, I stopped and asked where they are from. Truth be known, I’m always looking for an opportunity to bring up how awesome the Royals are with hopes they’ll share my sentiment. In this case, the girl I struck up a conversation with was not a baseball fan, but she was super cool and we chatted for about 45 minutes. Her name was Noel, and she was there with her parents, younger brother, and her husband. She is originally from California, but spent several years in New York City before moving to Istanbul with her Turkish husband. As you can imagine, this sparked additional discussion related to such a big move in such a dangerous place, and how her parents feel about that. They aren’t thrilled, but they are enjoying the frequent and exotic vacations. She and I totally hit it off, and soon I was receiving an invitation to dinner with her and her family.
This is the part of the blog where I reveal how lame I really am. I typically like to be in bed by 10pm, at the latest. Nine is even better, particularly on a work night (which I’m refusing to think about right now). I want adequate sleep because I know how I feel when I don’t get it. So when it was 9:30pm and I was being invited to dinner with a group of people I don’t know… all the way in Oia, which would require a taxi ride, which I didn’t have cash to contribute to, so would have to find an ATM… I was inclined to decline the invitation.
However, I stopped dead in my early-to-bed-party-pooper tracks, and encouraged myself to embrace the experience. I continued to kick myself for this decision as it approached 11:30pm and we still hadn’t left yet. We had given ourselves 30 minutes to get ready, but then had to wait for Noel’s husband, Ufuk, to finish meditating, and then we were concerned the kitchen would no longer be open, so we debated about whether to go to Oia or not, and then when we decided to go to Oia after all, we had to wait for the taxi. I was definitely questioning my decision to join, but not for long!
When the taxi arrived, the 6 of us piled in and we headed to Amoudi Bay, Oia. I’d remembered hearing about it, but didn’t make the time to go there when I was in Oia previously. Upon arriving, I was surprised at how cute it was. Several restaurants were nestled below the cliff, with the bay just beyond them. We walked past several and stopped at what I believe was Sunset Amoudi Taverna. Honestly, I was just following my new friends, but in my post-dinner research, this is what I’ve decided must have been the place.
While the ladies went to the bathroom, the men checked out the freshly caught fish of the day and decided which one would be our dinner.
As we sat at the table looking out into the bay, we saw several anchored boats, and our server pointed out the boat that belonged to the fisherman who caught our dinner that morning. There’s something truly special about that, especially when you live in Kansas City and fresh seafood is non-existent. Or even near-fresh seafood, for that matter.
We drank local white wine, and dined on 5 different appetizers, and a gigantic sinagrida fish (with piranha-like teeth), that even the 6 of us couldn’t eat in its entirety.
Just when I thought we were done, they ordered 3 desserts for us to share. This group was an intellectual bunch and we shared great conversation regarding travel, world wonders, experiences, etc. Before I knew it, it was past 2:30am and Noel’s father was paying the bill. I insisted he let me pay for my portion, but he refused. The best I could do was offer the best Kansas City BBQ should he ever come.
It was nearly 3:00am when I crawled into my too expensive bed. As I stared at my seemingly eternally closed laptop, I couldn’t believe how the night had panned out. Just a simple “Where are you from?” resulted in an invitation to join their family, and I really couldn’t believe Noel’s father paid for me. In a world filled with negativity, sometimes it’s great to be reminded there are some good-hearted, generous people out there. What a blessing it was to have met them, shared a great experience in Santorini with them, and form new friendships. My heart was and is full.
We had planned to hike Skaros Rock the next morning, but I don’t have to point out that we were all still sleeping. Furthermore, Noel and her family had to leave at 10:00am to catch the ferry back to Mykonos. Noel and I quickly exchanged contact information, and I hope we are able to stay in touch. Such a fun girl, with a great family.
After they had left, I decided to get up and get around. It was slightly cloudy, which was an unusual site during my time in Santorini. I thought I would do some souvenir shopping, and then hike Skaros Rock on my own. I quickly learned Imerovigli has little to offer aside from great hotels and amazing views. Restaurants and shops are few and far between. Nonetheless, I took some time to explore Imerovigli.
After I’d walked around for a bit, I was sweltering and decided to make use of the pool. One of the things that was so important to me when booking a place was to take pictures by an infinity pool. A dip in the pool wasn’t sounding so bad, so I went down and grabbed an iced coffee and chilled for a little while.
And got my picture…
Despite the intermittent clouds, it was still quite hot, but I needed to get to Fira to do some souvenir shopping. I decided to take the caldera hike from Imerovigli to Fira. The 30 minute walk downhill was easy enough, but one I didn’t intend to take back – especially with bags in hand. Thankfully, Fira is the center of the island and all buses go through there, so it was super easy to catch a bus back to Imerovigli.
Once I got to Fira, I browsed several little stores and found all the necessary souvenirs relatively quickly! Proud of my expedient shopping, I decided to stop at a restaurant and grab a gyro before heading back. All this time in Greece and I’d yet to eat a gyro! I chose a cute little patio, or rather the very assertive man at the entrance chose me. Before I knew it, I was dining on a gyro with a really bad Rosé. I quickly finished my meal with hopes to get back to Imerovigli in time to hike Skaros Rock. This is when I learned the restaurant was cash only. You never know with these places! All of them were accepting cards when I had cash, and the ONE time I rely on a card, they only take cash. I left my purchases for the day and ran several blocks to the ATM where I pulled out enough cash for dinner, and what I’d need for the next few days. I was needing to go anyway, so it all worked out.
I came back to the restaurant and paid the server, at which time he solicited a tip. In an effort to get out of there quickly, and because I felt badly for not having cash, I gave him €2. In retrospect, I’m irritated at myself for doing that. First of all, it isn’t customary to tip in Europe, particularly if the service was bad – and in this case, it was quite poor. Secondly, who solicits a tip?! Seriously?! Whatever.
I walked aimlessly toward where I thought the bus station was. As it turns out, I had no idea where I was going, but I asked enough people and frequently enough that I remained on the correct path until I reached the bus station. I hopped the first bus to Imerovigli, but by the time I got there, the sun was setting, and I’d been told it’s not safe to hike Skaros Rock once it’s dark. So, I’ll have to leave that item on my to-do list for when I return.
I watched another beautiful sunset – this one even more beautiful than those previous because the clouds allowed for greater reflection of the sun. I settled up with the resort and made arrangements for transfer back to the airport bright and early in the morning. I then laid down and fell asleep… for a measly hour before I was awoken by a ninja mosquito.
This little <expletive> woke me up every 30 minutes for about 4 hours until I was finally able to end his worthless life. Few things are as annoying as juuuuuusst falling asleep when you hear a high-pitched BUZZZZZZZZZZZ in your ear. It’s not just the sound that’s annoying, but you know this little guy wants to feed on you, too. Not only that, I was only getting about 4 hours of sleep anyway, without his nuisance! I was cursing myself for taking a shower. I thought: I must smell so good that he knows right where to find me – even when I got all the way under the covers – he’d find me! Each time I awoke, I would find him, quite easily as his gigantic mosquito body stood out significantly on the white-washed walls. Yet, despite his large body, he was especially agile. I was always sure I’d gotten him, and then 30 minutes later… BUZZZZZZZZZZ!
I had fallen asleep around 11:30pm, and had to be up at 4:45am. At 3:00am, I was outraged, and WIDE AWAKE! At this point, the ninja mosquito didn’t stand a chance. I smashed him so hard against the wardrobe and ensured he was a goner. Apparently the ninja mosquito had been successful in his parasitic career. There was so much blood I had to wash my hands before going back to bed.
I laid my head down and… buzzzzzzzzz. It was much quieter, but ninja mosquito evidently brought his friend. I threw the covers back hoping it would stun him, and then fell back asleep for 2 seconds before my alarm went off. What a night!