Part 1: Santorini...

We arrived at the Athens airport after an eight hour flight from New York on Wednesday morning, August 30. The flight had been good, and fast considering it was suppose to last another two hours, so things were off to a good start. Then the first minor hiccup occurred. Well, I say minor now, but at the time to me it was MAJOR. My luggage had been lost. Yep, the whole suitcase was MIA. Thomas had packed separately being that he would have to stay longer for work, so I packed ALL of my stuff into one suitcase. As you are all aware, since the recent terrorist threats, no liquids are allowed in carry-ons, therefore I had packed my bathroom stuff, make-up, hair products, etc. in my suitcase. So in my possession, I had nothing but a few books, my computer, and the sweat suit I was wearing. Yes, I cried, more like bawled, I was devastated. The baggage claim representative told us worst case I wouldn't ever see my luggage again, best case scenario would be for the luggage to arrive in Athens on the first flight the following day. The problem was we were leaving for Santorini in a few hours, so it wouldn't do us any good to have my suitcase in Athens anyway. So the lady said after it arrived in Athens, they could put it on a plane and fly it to Santorini where we could pick it up there. We gave her our hotel information in Santorini and she said she would call when the suitcase turned up, but if we didn't hear from her, we could call her. What is with that line? When someone says they'll call you then adds the clause‚ but‚ if you don't hear from me, give me a call. What is up with that? If you say you are going to call then you should call. Basically when someone says that to me it automatically translates into you will need to call us, because we will inevitability forget to call you!

After the realization that my emotional meltdown wasn't going to solve anything, we went and sat down and waited for our connecting flight. Thomas being the good sport that he is kept trying to cheer me up, and suggested we go buy some things that I felt I needed before our next flight left. This perked me up and we walked around the stores outside the terminal area. Ended up stopping at the Duty-Free Shop to get a few things that you realize after the fact that you really didn't need, but at the time weren't sure how you could manage to live with out them.

So we were off to Santorini, minus one suitcase. When we landed the hotel shuttle service was waiting and took us to our hotel. It was located on the side of a cliff on the caldera, which is a large crater formed by a volcanic explosion. The rooms were scattered along the cliff side, each one had a spectacular view of the volcano. Our room was similar to a studio apartment. It had a little kitchenette, a small bathroom, without a doubt the most uncomfortable bed in the world, and a private balcony with a view that was so breathtaking, it more than made up for the contraption they called a bed.

When researching the hotel we found out that because of it's location there were a lot of steps to get from point A to point B. Many people commented about it on a popular travel website called TripAdvisor.com. At the time, that was just a small detail we were willing to overlook. Although while packing for the trip Thomas suggested we just take our backpacks, that we used when we went backpacking in France during college, so that the issue of the steps wouldn't be such an obstacle. He stressed only pack what you can carry. Now I know what your thinking, a few measly steps, what's the deal? well a few is more like 300 steps from the bottom pool/restaurant to the top which has the reception/lobby and main road access to the town. But did I take Thomas's advice? Uh, no. While he packed his stuff in his back pack, I proceeded to get the largest suitcase we own and started filling it up to the brim with various things, obviously clothes, but I also threw in a case of bottled water, some snacks, and whatnot else. When I asked Thomas for his help in getting the suitcase closed, he about died. He couldn't believe all the stuff I had crammed in there. After some heated deliberation I began to remove some things. Finally I got the suitcase to close on my own.

That night we had dinner at the hotel restaurant. It was very good. We headed back early because we were exhausted. The next day jet-leg was in full effect! We hung out in the hotel room for the better part of the day. It was a miracle that my luggage had arrived, so we were able to go pick it up and all was well. I could change clothes which was so wonderful being it was in the mid 80's-90's and my sweat suit just wasn't cutting it. The next day we went and explored the town of Fira, which was cute. There were a lot of narrow streets, some only big enough for one car at a time. We saw some of the locals on donkeys, but most of the tourists traveled by moped, four wheeler, or walked. There were tons of touristy shops and little restaurants, and of course we had a lot of Greek food and some especially tasty Gyros. The ambiance of Santorini is very conducive to relaxing, so we did plenty of that! We spent a lot of time on the balcony, enjoying the amazing sunsets. We agreed that it might have been the most beautiful place we have ever been.

Soon it was time to leave. Now, our room wasn't located at the complete bottom of the hotel area, so that cut out about 1/4 of the steps on the way to the top! I was kind of wondering how the whole check out thing was going to work out, because I knew there was no way I could make it up to the top carrying my luggage or at least make it up there before dark set in. So good old Thomas, my dear sweet husband, strapped on his back pack, his lap top bag, and carried my two -ton suitcase up all the stairs. I nick named him “Pac” because he said he felt like one of the pack mules we saw in town the day before. I think by the time we got everything to the top, he felt like pushing me off the cliff!

Here are a few pictures.