TRAVEL: 10 MUST-DO'S WHILE ON SANTORINI ISLAND (basically Oia)






1. Atlantis Book Store (Oia)
Explore the wonder of arguably one of the most beautiful and unique book shops in the world. I am currently in the shop writing this blog post and sipping on a bloody mary (made by Craig, shop owner). The free alcoholic bevies don't come with the books BUT this place is still at the top of the list because it is effortlessly amazing. Come in. Buy a book. Pet Maxie the cat or Billy Holiday the shop dog. Heaven.  (Craig's Bloody Mary recipe coming soon-ish)

2. Dinner at Candouni (Oia)
I might be a bit biased because of my affiliation with the lovely family behind Candouni, but it is nonetheless the finest restaurant in Oia. Panos and his mother are in the kitchen cooking up a storm for an average of a hundred guests every night. Penelope (Panos' girlfriend), whom also happens to be a good friend of mine, is in the front of the restaurant being a doll and amazing multi-lingual waitress (she is actually the sweetest human you will ever meet). A night at Candouni will not disappoint!






3. Breakfast at Skiza
Skiza is pretty much a daily affair for Mckenna and me. While the view isn't 100% visible from the front doorway - it is one of the best caldera views in Oia. You can sit and have a freddo cappuccino while gawking at the view. I recommend a midmorning or night meal here, more free tables for your viewing pleasure.

4. Swim at Saint Nicolas (Take the steps down to Ammoudi Bay- ultimate booty workout)
The steps might look a little daunting (well, they are) but you will survive. Try to avoid stepping in donkey poo or slipping and breaking your finger (don't worry, I have done both). Once at the bottom of the steps, turn left and walk through the restaurants where you will be met by a little makeshift path that wraps around the bottom of the nearby cliff (walk quickly, boulders could fall and squish you), you will basically walk right up to Saint Nicolas Bay where the path ends. That weird looking oversized rock island is Saint Nicolas Island which is swimming distance from the bay and which offers an amazing view of Oia from the backside, a jump off point, oh and a rundown church for fisherman. Pretty sweet spot to spend hours during the summer months. Save some energy for the walk back up to Oia







5. Ride a Donkey (just do it)
Ok so i have never been a talented equestrian but my cousin Mckenna was and she had a full on freak-out while riding a donkey up the steps of Ammoudi yesterday. This experience was somewhat frightening, but one hundred and ten percent comical as I watched my brave cousin dangle from her donkey and admit her fear of heights. Did i mention that the steps are a bit daunting and that the Greek architect that built them, wasn't too concerned with the whole safety aspect. When in Greece, right?

6. Freddo Cappuccino from Lolita's (+ BEST gelato I've ever had) (Oia)
I'm a coffee addict (as my boyfriend would put it) but of course i don't think i have a problem, as most addicts don't. When in Europe, I go hard with the coffee drinking. My beverage of choice, as most Greeks would agree, is the freddo cappuccino (cold cappuccino), basically a beverage of delightful wonderment. I drink a few freddos a day and they are usually from Lolita's where the coffee is just as magical as the homemade gelato.






7. Buy Something from B. Loose (Oia)
Shopping in Oia is notoriously overpriced and cheesy at times but B.Loose is one of the most original and classically 'Greek' clothing stores that I have found in Oia. There are two B.Loose locations along the caldera. My last trip to Oia, I purchased two oversized jackets that were a really durable cotton blend that I was able to get a ton of use out of. This year (so far) i have made one purchase which is a duffle style bag that is a one-of-a-kind, striped, light, and makes my heart really happy. The bag fits all of my summer essentials including my pareo, clutch, sunnies, wallet, and all of my books from the Atlantis bookshop. The fabrics that are used to make the clothing at B.Loose, are all hand dyed and produced in relatively small batches. I think that versatile clothing articles are the best souvenirs because you can wear the pieces often and remember the places you've been. I will use my duffle in Hawai'i and think of B.Loose, my beloved Oia, and all of the puppies that peek into the shop to receive some scratches from dog-crazy girls.


8. Have a Mojito at Marykei's Bar (Oia)
Marykei's might actually be the only bar in Oia. By day, Marykei's has a little gelato fridge out front and seems very inconspicuous but at night the local villagers come and unwind a bit. Featuring the same playlist for the last 3 years, Marykei's might not be the most hip bar that you've ever been to but they whip up some killer Mojitos. So, if you are staying in Oia... grab one. And if the outdated music is blaring just a little too loud for your liking inside the miniature bar space, sit outside and pet some stray dogs. (side note: don't pet the brown dog that looks like a molting brown bear. he is mean. he might bite you. All other dogs are fair game :) )

9. Fall in love with a Stray Animal (Bring one home if you can)
As previously stated, 'Bear Dog' is probably not house-pet material BUT there are tens of stray animals on Santorini Island and in Oia that are up for adoption. While most dogs have collars - a majority are without owners and are looking for forever homes. You can pretty much find out a dogs social standing by asking a local if the dog has an owner. Consider bringing a dog or kitty home with you. Many of the dogs and cats are unfortunately unwanted and are inhumanely put-down during the winter months. Have an open mind and heart !!





10. Take a Catamaran Tour...and drink the white wine...i repeat...drink the white wine (from AMMOUDI)
Last year on Penelope's birthday (Penelope of Candouni) we all went out on a catamaran tour and nearly died - drinking at 9 am on an empty stomach is not recommended. The story goes as follows;
We woke up at 8 am. Stomped down to the bay of Ammoudi (half asleep). Jumped on a catamaran with Spiros as our captain (basically some hot-shot dude who gets a lot of chicks, and can captain a ship). Ok so we started drinking at 9 am and the options were somewhat limited but we went with the white wine because Raqi just didn't sound good at 9 am (side note: drinks were unlimited). I want to say that our first stop was the sulfur/hot springs but i was already drunk at this point so who really knows where we were. I think it was around  10 am when someone said that lunch wouldn't be served till 2 pm (well, shit). I was 3 wines deep at this point and still on an empty stomach. I jumped in the water at the next beach - which i think was the red sand beach if I'm not mistaken (again, i am drunk). People complained that the water was cold... i was too drunk to care and honestly i probably was drowning a little bit (minor details). So, as i recall - i drank until 2 pm, ate some greek barbecue and took a nap on the netted catamaran deck alongside Craig (of Atlantis book) and my fellow drunk friend, Natalie (Oh how we laughed). We woke up 10 minutes before our return to the bay of Ammoudi where we were greeted by the most insane sand storm i have ever witnessed. This sand storm turned Ammoudi into a literal shit storm and down right panic. Restaurant workers panicked while grabbing plants, tables and chairs and running them into their small cramped kitchen spaces. Natalie, Craig and  I were quickly snapped out of our drunk stupor and into sheer survival mode. We ran into a kitchen for shelter where we met a few cooks who spoke zero english. We lost Craig at some point and wondered if he would ever make it back alive (yes, actual thoughts). Rocks and sand were being thrown everywhere outside and it was impossible to open your eyes, let alone see 5 inches in front of your face. Luckily, we were still a teensyyy bit drunk so we were ballsy enough (or just stupid enough) to leave the comfort of the small kitchen that we were in. Anywhoooooo, we left the kitchen to look for Craig and found him haggling with a tour bus driver to see if he would take us up to town. I don't think the bus driver ever said yes, but we got into the bus anyway - filled with asian tourists and upon arrival into town we sprinted through the caldera path (which was completely empty) got to our apartment and slept for another 6 hours.

Anyway, if this doesn't convince you to go onto a catamaran tour, then I'm sorry, you just aren't adventurous enough. Live dangerously or not at all.  

BONUS CHALLANGES:

11. Make a Blog
There is no better way to document your travels (besides a journal, i guess...if you are boring and secretive). Dont like writing? Only post pics and leave the rest up to the imagination of your blog goers.

12. ROAM
Go off the beaten path and explore. Leave the phone at home.

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