Nowadays, you hear most people say Santorini is on top of their bucket list. And I can’t blame them, Santorini is one of the most exquisite places I’ve seen. Thanks to social media, people are getting more exposed to the most beautiful places our generation has ever seen. Gone are the days when catching a glimpse of famous destinations means, reading about them in magazines, books, getting post cards from family and friends, or watching television specials about them. Now you can simply go to Google or social networking sites and see amazing places shared by people from around the world.
If you’re looking for a Santorini travel guide, now is the time to know this is not it. There are many other articles on how to get around Santorini, where to dine, what to do, etc., and you won’t find it here. I know you don’t need convincing or reasons why you need to travel to Santorini, but if you’re looking for inspiration and some Santorini photography to stir your wanderlust, I advise you to keep on reading.
I remember it as if it was yesterday. It was October 2013, my wife Kristine and I were on board a plane to Seattle, Washington. It’s the first time we’re going on a vacation after we had our son, Parker. She’s frantic; the thought of leaving our seven-month old baby for a few days did not sit well on her. I had to persuade her that we need this for ourselves, and for our child. Having a baby is the most rewarding experience anyone could have, but I can’t deny the fact that it’s a lot of work. My wife likes to be prepared; she bought all kinds of baby books as soon as we learned we’re expecting. But nothing, could ever prepare someone for what happens when you have a child, and for the intense emotions you will feel. And her not having a decent sleep for several months because she takes care of our baby while still working full time, I knew then that we just needed a break even just for a few days.
Back on that plane, I was trying to reassure her that everything will be fine. The pain on her chest did not help. She’s still breastfeeding then and the last time she did was five hours ago at home. For those who don’t know, it is quite painful for lactating mothers if they haven’t nursed their baby in a while. The only way to get relief from engorgement based on my wife’s experience was to nurse our baby or pump. I suggested for her to do the latter in the lavatory and she said she didn’t want to contaminate her sterilized breast pumps so she decided to just suck it up and wait ‘til we land in Seattle so she can do it in our hotel. She asked the flight attendant for vodka and pineapple juice to calm her down. She’s going to pump and dump her milk anyway for the entire duration of our trip so it doesn’t make a difference if she drinks now.
While waiting for her drink, she grabbed the magazine in front of her and on the first page was a gorgeous picture of white buildings perched on cliffs by the ocean. I think I’ve seen it before but I’m not really sure where that is. I was thinking it must be in Europe. For the next several minutes, she had her face buried in that article. When she finally put the magazine down, she started talking non-stop about this island in Greece in the Cyclades. You know when you learned something good and you can’t stop talking about it because you’re too thrilled about that discovery? That’s how she was. The place is called Santorini and that’s how it all started.
We’ve been traveling within the US to celebrate special occasions and going to Santorini is a big deal for us so it took us some time to actually make it happen. There were tons of planning, mostly saving involve but we were determined to push it through. October 2016, three years after we first talked about it, we embarked on this life changing experience. So without further ado, here are the reasons why going to Santorini is the best vacation my wife and I have been to.
We didn’t do anything in Santorini, other than relax.
There were trips we felt as if we’re always running. When we first started traveling together, we made it a point to see all the famous attractions in the city we’re visiting, which isn’t really bad, but it can be exhausting sometimes. When we planned to go to Santorini to celebrate our wedding anniversary last year, we decided we just want to unwind. Kristine doesn’t want to have a tight Santorini itinerary. She told me she just want to mostly enjoy the beauty of this island and not worry about waking up too early to do tons of activities, and that is exactly what we did.
The only thing we wanted to do was to sail the Aegean Sea – which we didn’t even book in advance. This turned out to be a very good decision according to the hotel manager because sudden weather changes can sometimes result to canceled sailing trips.
Since we didn’t really have a planned itinerary, we had all the time to just walk and explore the island. I love that feeling of not having to constantly check on my watch to make sure we’re right on schedule. I can do whatever I want, when I want to and this is one of the reasons why Santorini is the best vacation I’ve ever had.
The scenery is better than pictures
Have you ever been somewhere and got disappointed because the photos you saw online looked more appealing than seeing them in person? I can tell you this is something you won’t experience in Santorini. Anyone visiting will be charmed by the small villages positioned on top of the escalading cliffs adorned with blocks of houses coated with the whitest paints. And those blue accents and domes that give the iconic Santorini money shot is something all of us should be able to see at least once in our lifetime.
I honestly feel guilty not being able to depict the beauty of this island with my average writing skills, but I’m hoping the photos I took can somehow compromise my lack of eloquence. I enjoyed walking around the island and just soaking in its warm, ethereal beauty. But I won’t lie, I was equally delighted to take photos as well. Everywhere you look is just a great scene for photography. I don’t think I took one single bad shot in this island, not because I’m a good photographer, but because the panoramic sea views and white-washed buildings, especially during sunset can easily make even amateurs capture that postcard winning shot.
Sunset in Santorini is nothing you’ve ever seen.
I always hear how great sunset is in this part of the world. When they said Santorini has the most beautiful sunset, they weren’t kidding.
As the sun made its descent, the sky put on a color display of orange, yellow, blue, pink, purple and red. That final luminescence turned the white houses into subtle hues of pink and orange against the deep azure water. And then one by one, you see those houses lit up as residents turned on their lights for the evening. When the sun became that one small dot sinking into the ocean, an uproar would ensue, followed by clapping of hands. It’s quite a performance actually, and we had the front row seat to that ravishing show in the sky.
Seeing the sunset from our room was spectacular, but I think the best part of the island to catch a sunset is in Oia, the northern part of the island. I just want to give you a heads up that tourists come here as early as 4pm so they can save a good spot. Although there’s nothing like seeing it in person, prepare your camera to take snapshots of one of the best sunsets you’ll see in your life. And where else on earth can you experience a rousing round of applause as the sun makes it final descent?
It oozes romance.
This is one of those places to take your special someone because everything about it screams honeymoon. I guess you can still go as a solo traveler or with friends and family, but I highly recommend Santorini to celebrate special occasions with your partner. Year after year, this island has remained as one of the top honeymoon destinations. Those breathtaking caldera and idyllic sunset views as well as the unending options for candle light dinner will make anyone swoon.
Happy wife, happy life.
This overused expression did not just come out. This is not a myth and this is not a phrase to emasculate men. It is the truth (at least for me), and I live by it. I know not everyone will agree when I say, “Make sure your wife is pleased and you can always guarantee she’ll give you a blissful life.” Of course a person with poor disposition is a different story. You can’t be a miracle cure for your partner if she has underlying issues that are unresponsive to outside force like your effort to make her happy.
Last year, I originally wanted to visit Japan, but Kristine has always wanted to see Santorini. We kept going back and forth on this. Ever since she saw it in a magazine, she always tells me that it’s her dream to go there. Finally, it dawned on me that she wanted to go to Santorini more than I’d like to visit Japan and there’s no reason why we should go somewhere else. It made me realize that there are things you would do not for yourself, but for your loved ones, and that there’s nothing wrong with it.
I read someone said this Happy Wife, Happy Life maxim is not sustainable because all you’re creating is a barter system. And I beg to disagree. When you put your wife’s needs and wants ahead of your own, you make her recognize your true value - that you are there to provide her deepest needs, and you are her greatest support system. Naturally, she would then want to do the same thing for you, sometimes even more. And then you create an unending cycle of giving and loving. And suddenly it’s no longer about returning the favor because your partner did something nice, but about making sure your partner is satisfied and happy because you simply just want her to be.
No one has a perfect relationship, but after this trip, every aspect of our marriage has become 10x better. She tells everyone how I make her dreams come true, but really it’s the other way around.
Dreams don’t have to stay dreams.
This trip just made us realize this is what we want to do. We want to travel the world, and visiting other countries is possible if you put your mind to it. It’s the catalyst that made me understand that dreams don’t have to stay dreams. Before this Santorini vacation, my wife and I have this mentality that our traveling is only limited to the continental USA. We thought going abroad is not so much of an option because of financial responsibilities like house payments, bills, and now kids. But when we planned to go to Santorini, we made a conscious effort to make this possible.
We didn’t have a few thousands dollars just laying around. We had to actually work for it. For several months, we took on side gigs, and we pinched every penny to make sure we can fund this trip. Budgeting is the name of the game, and I can’t thank my wife hard enough because she made sure we stayed on top of it. We were able to splurge on this trip because of the sacrifices we had to do back home.
When I was relishing that world famous landscape of white washed buildings and royal blue domes set in the deep blue Aegean Sea, I got that satisfaction knowing that this sweet view I was enjoying right from our room was something we worked hard for. On our first night in Santorini, my wife and I watched that celebrated sunset while enjoying Vinsanto from our balcony. I’ll never forget it when she said, “We are here, because we earned it.”
Now almost a year of visiting this island, the memories still linger. Seeing and experiencing Santorini is a dream. You don’t believe me? I guess pictures speak louder than words.
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