CHIC PLACES: AN AFTERNOON IN SANTORINI, GREECE


We had about five real hours in Santorini, the volcanic island remnant from what was originally a big island of Thira, now the absolute center of tourism in Greece. Since the ocean floor is so deep our captain was unable to anchor at sea, and the port was too full for us to dock, so we took a ferry for a super quick day trip from Milos, a nearby, amazing island. 

As originally planned our first stop on my mini agenda was this charming and beautiful restaurant called Botargo, inside a 19th century restored mansion, perched at the very top of Pyrgos. I had somehow stumbled upon this lovely establishment in my extensive research, which appears "off the beaten path" when you consider how Santorini has become synonymous with Oia, the scenic city sea-scape and most densely populated tourist destination we visited the entire trip. 

In deep contrast to Oia, Pygros was a small little town on the top of a hill, straight up from the port in Thira our ferry docked at. The former mansion turned uber chic restaurant took its place at the very top of the tiny town, with roads too small for cars, creating a bit of a climb for us.



And a climb, it was. 

I wouldn't say it was too bad but then again we were fairly used to the winding steps and narrow streets common for each historic city center, as the majority of the greek islands built their main cities at the very tip top, far away from potential intruders. 

But the restaurant had some hopeful signs posted, reassuring us we would find bliss in a fanciful cocktail and aesthetically pleasing lunch very shortly. 


And aesthetically pleasing it was. 

Despite the scenic view on the terrace, we opted for a cooler seat inside, which for me was much nicer given how much I loved the clean white interior. I would describe the decor as a minimalist take on shabby chic. And it's just what I imagine someone would want after a climb in the sun; a cool, crisp white linen respite with candles and beautiful chandeliers as the only real statement decor. 




But perhaps the most exciting detail, or at least the one that essentially brought me here given the endless amount of restaurant options in Oia, is the original ceiling fresco above the bar. 





I mean how stunning is this? Perfectly accented with a dainty chandelier, I want this somehow recreated in my home immediately. Of course my first mission after a pausing from my manic attempt at a full fledged knock-off Architectural Digest photoshoot was browsing the cocktail menu and getting myself and Arthur liquored up before he could annul our marriage due to unreconcilable restaurant induced behavioral differences.

I immediately saw my beloved French 75 among many other fanciful options and the rest was history.


I was so eager to get some champs in me that I forgot my usual French 75 cocktail modifications: limited simple syrup, served over ice in a wine glass. But we can't win them all!

The lunch menu was limited but perfect for my goals this vacation, which was to get as many pretty, caloric worthy carbohydrates in my mouth in stark contrast to Arthur's goal of eating as many Greek salads as possible. Which is like what any tourist would think is #culture but like I can get that anywhere in the States and also make it myself so whatever, fortunately, it's unlikely he will read this. 





Both the gnocchi and risotto were to die for. The bread was perfect, they homemake it and also have a special salt and olive oil to go with. And I will give them credit for the less than basic greek salad that was delicious and would be very hard for me to find in the States let alone make myself. 

When Arthur ordered a second drink I decided to play my favorite game, asking the waiter to surprise me with his best looking drink. I think I figured that such a beautiful bar would translate into the most beautiful cocktail but I wasn't too impressed with the result.

And for someone as picky as myself I really should have known better, but points for trying! 


After our lovely lunch we immediately hopped in a taxi to get to Oia, the main city tourists flock to in Santorini.

I was only there for a couple of hours so I really can't recommend much of anything and to be quite honest, we didn't have the best experience. It was hot, crowded and felt so touristy. It's a miracle I got any clear photos of the place as so many people flooded the narrow roads overrun by unimpressive shops and equally unimpressive dining options.

There were so many people taking pictures I considered ending my hobby as a lifestyle blogger in a moment of frustration before realizing I just needed to go to less overrated places. 




Aside from exploring the pretty pastel streets and wondering into some shops I hadn't really make any other strong plans as we weren't going to have time for the dinner reservation I  originally made. And since Arthur was so concerned about getting all the way back to the port on-time, he was a less than adventurous travel companion. 

So I tried to make the most of it and explore the picture perfect landscape, however, eventually I just gave up and sat us in a super touristy restaurant with a view (not vetted ahead of time) and ordered a cocktail.


Arthur was happy to sit with his vodka soda and try the shrimp saganaki we kept seeing on menus. I'm not the biggest shrimp fan but was excited about my childhood favorite, however, this dish was served with mostly tomato sauce, barely sprinkled with cheese. Not sure if this is how it's typically done or just at this unremarkable establishment, but I wasn't a big fan, especially after my small bite ended with a tomato stain on my adorable white ruffle top. 


After that we stumbled around some shops but I just couldn't get over how touristy and unoriginal everything felt. I honestly think if I had planned a bit better and spent a whole day and evening there I would have had a better experience but all in all Santorini isn't high on my list for a return visit. It's beautiful but unfortunately just too overrun with tourists, something we became unaccustomed to visiting so many small islands. 


So in anticipation of a long and traffic filled taxi ride back to the ferry port on the opposite end of the island, we left Oia very early. And of course, we ended up hitting absolutely no traffic, arriving to the port several hours ahead of our schedule departure time, which then got delayed an hour. Just. LOVELY.


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Of course these are the things bound to happen to anyone traveling to multiple places in short amounts of time and in keeping with the theme of the trip we just did our best to make the most of it. 

Somehow this extended time at the port allowed Arthur to break out of his funk and live his best life. I swear there's nothing this man loves more than cheap menus and an ocean view because he was more than excited to order a sketchy vodka brand with his soda and chicken gyros platter at place that couldn't understand my request to see what type of tequila they served. 

However, after port cafĂ© hopping (yes it's a thing and yes we did it despite being on one of the most cosmopolitan islands in Greece) I eventually found a lovely little slice of baklava that not only did not disappoint, but I am 99% sure the waitress had it made for me as it came out steaming hot and delicious! 


It was a great way to end a long day before boarding the ferry right as the sun set. For a small second I felt a bit sad we weren't sitting at an overpriced ocean adjacent restaurant in Oia as originally planned but I quickly remembered that we had chose an adventurous honeymoon over a cookie cutter one. 

And if it's any indication of what our marriage will be like then I suppose I was exactly where I should be. 

-MGN

1 comment

  1. Wow! I always wanted to visit some of the less-known, less-crowded yet beautiful places in Greece. Thanks for the lovely insight. I will surely visit Santorini on my upcoming trip to Greece on a Business Greece Visa.

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