673. Day 22 & 23 | Arriving in Paradise - Santorini!

View of Santorini
We had finally arrived in Santorini! Santorini was a place I've been dreaming of visiting for a long time. I was most looking forward to it when we were still in the planning stages of the vacation but now looking back, I had such a good time at every single place that I loved them all equally..well maybe Santorini just a bit more. Sometimes when you look forward to visiting a place for many years, the reality of finally visiting turns out to be a bit short of your expectations. To be honest I was afraid that would happen here but in fact it was kind of the opposite. I loved it even more than I thought I would, from the very first moment I caught a glimpse of the sea.

Every day there is nice and sunny. Everywhere you look is extremely picturesque with the beautiful palette of white and blues. It was very clean everywhere and just seemed like a paradise. As I mentioned in my previous post, we arrived on the island at the crack of dawn. There was a bit of a drive to the main part where everything is situated. We arrived and were greeted with a friendly staff member of our hotel. He carried our luggage to the room as we followed behind..I was just so amazed by the views. I think at this point it was about 6:30am.

Breakfast in Santorini
A short nap later, we were brought breakfast to eat on our terrace. The breakfasts in Santorini were the best I've had. Not because of the food (which was still good) but because we were able to literally just crawl out of bed and walk out to the best weather and views while enjoying a relaxing breakfast. I wish I could start my day like this every morning.

Vallais Villa
This was our tub!

We stayed at Imerovigli which in my opinion was the best area to stay. It's in the middle of the island so Fira and Oia were convenient to get to. All/most of the hotels where we were had really good unobstructed views of the sunset. Driving to either place takes roughly the same amount of time (a bit more to Oia) but walking to Fira was a LOT faster than to Oia.

Onar Santorini
Onar Restaurant
Lunch was delicious!

Santorini view
Fira Thira Santorini
leftbanked Santorini
Santorini sunset
We spent most of the day walking around and taking photos of literally everything, before heading back to our hotel in time to catch our first sunset of Santorini.

Imerovigli sunset
Santorini sunset
Greek food
Then dinner.



672. Day 20 & 21 of 28 | (Stuck in) Athens

flying into Athens
Up until our arrival in Athens (3 weeks into the trip), everything was going smoothly. Then we had our first major issue of the trip. The plan was to arrive in Athens in the afternoon, settle into the hotel, explore the city and visit the Acropolis. The next morning we had an early ferry to Santorini. Upon checking in, we found out from the hotel that all ferries in Greece were on strike that day. Meaning our ferry over to Santorini got cancelled and we'd have to make other last minute arrangements.

It was really annoying but I was on vacation..so I wasn't as mad about it as I maybe should have been. Although I wish we could have gotten more compensation back from the ferry company (to compensate for our last minute flight booking, first hotel night lost in Santorini, etc) rather than just a refund. Which I am not sure if I even got back yet..but anyways. It was kind of stressful having to arrange last minute flights over to Santorini but we managed to book our tickets there the next morning - at 5am. So we had to stay in Athens one extra day than planned. It was our first time in Athens and there isn't a whole lot to do there. In my opinion, 2 days there is a day too much. & on the days we were there, it was unbearably hot outside.

Monastiraki Square
Our hotel (360 Hotel) was in the best location. It was right on Monastiraki Square, with a view of the Acropolis in the distance. We also had a rooftop restaurant with the perfect view of the Acropolis (the main reason why we booked them). The staff were also really helpful and accommodating with our ferry situation.

kebab in Athens
I guess my favourite part of Athens was the restaurants. It was a nice atmosphere (live musicians and everyone sits outside), and their kebabs were amazingly delicious. I don't think I ever even had kebabs before these. We had them almost every meal there. We were also told that the kebabs there (O Thanasis, right in one of the streets off Monastiraki Square) are the best in Athens.

Athens restaurants
360 Restaurant Athens
Dinner with the perfect views

view of Acropolis from Athens
So this was as close as we got to the Acropolis. We missed our chance to go there on the first day (since we were busy dealing with the Santorini situation). On the second day it was a ridiculous 40C degrees and we had a middle-of-the-night flight to catch that night, so we decided to have a more relaxing day and leave the Acropolis to our second time in Athens (we would come back again after Santorini for one day only). However on that day I was not feeling well and it was also extremely hot so we decided to just skip it altogether. I guess we will have to return to Athens again someday to visit it lol. I didn't really like Athens (besides the food and restaurants) but I love the islands in Greece so I definitely want to go back someday.

Panathenaic Stadium
The Panathenaic Stadium is made entirely of marble and where the first modern Olympic games were held.

streets of Athens



671. Day 19 of 28 | Rome and Vatican City

Piazza di Spagna leftbanked
Early the next morning, we took a train from Monterosso to La Spezia to Rome. The last time I've been in Rome was only about 2 years ago so the city still felt pretty familiar to me. We were only in Rome for one night, mainly coming since it was the most convenient way to go to Greece afterwards. We just walked around the city, had lunch, visited Vatican City, then met up with my boyfriend's friend for dinner and then the Lazio soccer/football game (as he kindly got us tickets). It was my first time ever going to a game.

spaghetti in Rome
Rome Trevi Fountain
streets of Rome
watermelon granita
Delicious watermelon granita..I had two of them!

Vatican City
Vatican City leftbanked
Vatican City guards
pizza Rome
Rome Lazio
Lazio soccer game



670. Day 18 of 28 | Manarola

The final day in Cinque Terre was a bit more relaxed. We went to Manarola. In the beginning I was more excited about Riomaggiore and Vernazza but I ended up liking the view of Manarola the most I think.

Manarola Cinque Terre
leftbanked cat
Petting all the cats..

Manarola Italy
watermelon gelato
This watermelon gelato was so good!

Cinque Terre Monterosso
leftbanked cinque terre
Going out for a quick swim (well, just a dip in the water for me since I can't swim lol). I think this was the previous night actually.

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