I woke around 9am feeling a bit rough, unsure if this was due to the gusty air con or the brick of a bed! We decided to check out the free breakfast, reviews online were average at best so we didn’t have high expectations. There wasn’t a big selection and some items were better than others. The greek yoghurt, honey and giant pot of Nutella were particularly tasty, but the bread, cereal and juice left a lot to be desired! The most annoying thing for me was the lack of water available at breakfast – the most basic of drinks! It was watery overly sweet fruit juice or nothing. If they do anything to improve the breakfast I would suggest adding some cold water!
Outside, the skies were a perfect blue with no clouds in sight so we set off to the car for our first day of exploring. We settled on Monolithos beach first and had a little stroll, the crashing waves and lack of a bazillion sun beds made this a more preferable beach than Kamari for us. We did consider staying here, but whilst it was ideal during the day it might have been a little sleepy for us in the evening time, Kamari won on this basis – within a 10 minute stroll we had waffles, cocktails and ice cream when we wanted them! The sand at Monolithos was already roasting at 10am, I wasn’t prepared for quite how toasty it could be and regretted not picking up a cheapie pair of water shoes!
After attempting to paddle for a little while, we continued on our way. We spotted someone kite surfing on the beach which looked fun, definitely one to add to the list for a future visit! We ended up on an impromptu road trip with no real plan, heading in the direction of Fira and stopping off every now and then when something caught our eye. There was a funky windmill, a few little cave huts and a fair few scenic view points along the way. We arrived in front of a decent sized car park in Firostefani that wasn’t over subscribed and hopped out to have our first look at the caldera side of the island.
It was definitely a different world from Kamari and we noticed a lot more non-European tourists here. Our first encounter was a hotel worker who (very professionally!) was balancing three large suitcases on himself as he whizzed up and down the steps toward a hotel, with the family looking on from behind and trying to keep up with him! This was quite entertaining for us and we enjoyed watching them not trying to lose him on their way down! The cliff views were lovely here and I did feel a little jealous that we didn’t pay a little extra to stay on the cliff side, but we had the car and it was easy enough for us to get here whenever we wanted.
We strolled around for a while, taking it all in and staring out to the super-blue sea. There were plenty of nice looking restaurants and stores around. We had gotten a fair pace on and realised we were quite a way from the car, so cut up a set of steps back to the road to try and locate it. Once we made it back to the car we were rather hungry, so continued on towards Oia on the quest for a nice lunch. We pulled into a large, partially full car park – too good to be true we thought, of course it wasn’t free! At £3 for five hours it was still a bargain compared to home!
Oia was even more scenic than Firostefani with so many viewpoints and look outs. Two cruise ships were docked so it was rather busy with tourists, cameras and selfie sticks in your face every few steps! We explored a little further, snapping photos, enjoying the colours and how peaceful the sea looked. I browsed in a few of the home stores and picked up a better road map and a few gifts to take home. By chance we found the Santorini Sailing office and booked our sunset tour for two days time. I am usually a big planner but as this was a very last minute trip I had to go against everything I know and wing it; thankfully they had plenty of availability.
A few steps afterward we stumbled upon a restaurant called Skiza which looked nice, and had an upper deck with great views out to the sea and caldera. We lucked out with a table right at the front and it was lovely up there with the gentle breeze making it a little less toasty. The service here was a little shaky though, they took orders for a handful of people who arrived after us before taking ours, and smashed several bottles and glasses during our time there. I thought it was only plate smashing that was a Greek thing!
Eventually we ordered a large prosciutto and rocket pizza to share, with some Greek sausage on top. This pizza was very good and the dough was made fresh on the premises. This made up for the shoddy service, all of the meals looked good and it was great to just take in some peace and quiet along with the view, quite the opposite from the hustle and bustle on the street down below.
We did want to hang around for dessert as they had all sorts of freshly made goodies, but after a belly full of pizza base we didn’t have any room left. Chris was also convinced we’d only paid for 3 hours parking, I was determined it was 5 so we compromised and strolled a little longer. We walked most of the way down towards Ammoudi Bay before he decided we had to turn around in case Mr Parking Man issued us a fine! We got some cool photos on the way and the sea was so turquoise at points.The steps were slippery and I almost went flying a few times in my sandals. Definitely remember to bring some stable shoes and not leave them in the car like I did!
We also got herded out of the way by donkeys a couple of times which was amusing, one of them was almost taking flight on his way down, stopping for nobody! On our hike back up the steps we were very envious of those we saw chilling out in their infinity pools, whilst we were adjacent to them schlepping up and breaking a sweat! As expected, we arrived back to the car to find that, yes, we had five hours of parking! After rolling my eyes and saying “I told you so”, we headed back to Kamari for some pool time. I hadn’t yet bothered to use my newly bought map which meant we did take a slightly scenic detour back around the lovely tourist sight of.. Santorini Airport! Whoops! We made it back to the pool whilst there was a little sunshine left, so we had a slightly rushed swim/read/relax before heading in to get ready for dinner.
This is when we first experienced the shower. Chris went first, and is probably a bit (OK a lot) less fussier than me, so when he said the shower wasn’t very good and to be prepared I was a little concerned! I jumped in and initially it was fine, more powerful than expected and a good cool-warm temperature which was perfect for the weather. It was very tiny in size, you couldn’t swing a kitten in there let alone a cat but this didn’t concern me too much either. And then I realised. The shower curtain was possessed. After getting a little wet this thing was clinging on me and basically suffocating me like a zombied jellyfish. It was borderline impossible to stand in the shower without assuming an attack position to defend yourself from the suckling retro-yellow fabric.
Overall not a pleasurable experience! Chris and I chuckled about it and agreed that we’ve witnessed some interesting showers on our travels, but we hadn’t ever come across such a strong and violent shower curtain before! Once that spectacle was over I attempted to tame the mop on my head for the first time since landing and dress a bit more presentable for dinner. We headed down towards Kamari beachfront and browsed a few menus, mostly all variations of the same. Chris liked the look of Taverna Zorbas and after spying on a few peoples plates I had to agree.
They had a cosy little spot facing out towards the now almost empty beach which was perfect to watch it wind down for the evening. I decided to try a different flavour daiquiri and Chris was on the local beers again. I spied tomato balls on the menu and was excited to give these a try. Chris also ordered a mixed souvlaki and I went for the ‘Greek plate’ which had sample sized portions of moussaka, pastitsio, meatballs, stuffed tomatoes and potatoes/vegetables with cheese and a tomato sauce. This was a great meal and I was surprised to see the less than average reviews of the place on trip advisor, as I thought the food here was better than several restaurants rating higher. Perhaps we just lucked out on this trip.
By the time we left the restaurant was packed full and with no room left for dessert we wandered down the promenade a bit further, exploring the craft and gift shops, attempting to walk off a little bit of dinner before retiring to bed.