Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Greece: One Night in Fira

We landed in Santorini, Greece on time after an overnight flight from Chicago to Dusseldorf, a connection to Vienna, and finally our flight to Santorini. Better yet, all of our bags made it too. Our transfer to the hotel from the airport was in a large van with several other customers, but luckily we were the first passengers to be dropped off. Fira, the capital city of Santorini, was experiencing a typical crowded Friday afternoon with cruise ship folks and ground-based tourists alike crowding the narrow streets.


We were staying at Anteliz Suites - which is a small hotel at one of the highest points in town. we were met by a bellman/handyman whom carried our luggage up the stepped city streets from the parking lot to the hotel. We were checked in and given an overview by one of the staff members. He provided us with a city map and directions to our destination - a travel agent where we needed to go to pick up tomorrow's ferry tickets. Our room at Anteliz was right in front with a great view of the sea, and all the tourists walking by on the sidewalk. We had big shutters so no big deal. Our room was small, but had everything we needed including a nice bathroom and shower, mini bar, tv, safe, and two chairs. After quick showers we set off for town.

Our trip from the airport to the hotel exposed us only to the backside of Fira. Our walk to town (just a few minutes away) revealed the front (and better) side of Fira. It was just as we expected: high cliffs filled with white-washed buildings that seemed to be stacked ontop of each other. We stopped for photos and maybe Dave was taking a bit too long.

C'mon all ready....
Holly's 26-Point-Friggin-2 shirt generates interest with some shopkeepers who wanted to talk about the marathon.

We got to the base of town and found we were in a labyrinth of shops and bars that all looked alike. To help us find our way back Dave started taking pictures of landmarks. Digital breadcrumbs. Luckily our map had features like popular bars labeled so we were able to find the agent with ease.

Even though we bought ferry tickets online we still needed to go to an office and have the physical tickets printed out. We figure better today than tomorrow at the port when something could go wrong. The whole process took less than five minutes.

Our next order of business was to find somewhere to eat. We found a cute place on a roof with some views of the sea to the west and a bit of the narrow town streets. Food here was decent and plain - souvlaki, baked goat cheese dip, and Greek beers - we had Mythos and Fix - decided Fix was better.

After our lunch/snack we started to wander the streets and found access to the front (good side) of Fira. We were bummed that we blew our snack at a subpar view location, so we decided to spend the rest of daylight at the rooftop V Lounge. Nice furniture and a great 180 degree view of town and the caldera.


Sunset was around 8:20 so we headed toward the hotel and watched the sunset along the cliff. Our first Santorini sunset did not disappoint.

After sunset we had dinner at the nearby Zafora. This restaurant had multiple levels of outdoor seating with a full view of the Fira skyline. Gorgeous location, but the food was just ok. The place was catering to the tourist tastes with a huge menu and overall average preparations. You couldn't beat the view and it was close to the hotel so it was just what we needed. This is where we also experienced our first Greek wine. Our assessment: tasted like watered-down port. The half bottle we had from the hotel mini-bar was no better. This was going to be a long 10 days......

All of our hotels included breakfast. Anteliz served ours around 8:45 on the patio. Food included boiled eggs, breads, yogurt, ham, cheese, fruits, juice, and hot beverages. Way too much food.... After breakfast we left for the ferry port to get on this big green thing to head to Mykonos:


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