Wednesday, June 5, 2013

See ya, Oia!

I took an unintended two-month hiatus from the blog. A lot has happened during the past two months but I'll get to that after I share our April trip to Santorini!

Last year we traveled to Mallorca to escape the never-ending German winter. This year we planned ahead for a sunny getaway in early spring. As we left Germany, snow was still on the ground and it was a dreary, misty day. You can imagine our anticipation to get to the ocean as fast as possible.

Andronis Luxury Suites
We arrived in Santorini at night and a car service from our hotel picked us up at the tiny airport. It was a 40-minute ride to Oia and the friendly driver zipped through narrow roads hugging cliffs hanging over the Aegean Sea. We couldn't see it of course, since it was dark, but he managed to inform us about the steep drops in between answering his cell phone and taking his hands off the wheel to gesticulate animatedly several times. I think we were pretty relieved to not be able to see how close we were to the edge.

Compliments of Andronis
We chose Andronis Luxury Suites for our stay in Oia. It's on the pricey side but we were able to save money because we went very early in the season when prices are lower, and we were also upgraded to a deluxe suite because the hotel wasn't full. The reception was first-class. With our glasses of champagne (Pommery-- how funny since we'd just been to that Champagne house in Reims), we were shown to our beautiful suite and given a complimentary bottle of wine served alongside little tastes from the kitchen. The room was sparse, but tastefully decorated; the circular white walls gave the impression of being in a cave inside a volcano.

The next morning we awoke to a fresh and delectable breakfast. The breakfast served at Andronis is one of its highlights. It's all made-to-order from a diverse selection of everything from eggs-your-way, breakfast meats, local delicacies, and the most scrumptious Greek yogurt served with honey and fresh fruit. Breakfast can be delivered and set up in your room's private balcony or taken outside on a small cliff jutting over the sea. The view from our balcony took our breaths away: panoramic sweeps of the caldera, mountains in the distance, and endless ocean. Sun was sparkling off  soft swells and we couldn't wait to apply sunscreen for the first time in months.

We spent the first glorious day lounging by the infinity pool and strolling through the white, marbled streets of Oia. There are lots of touristy shops (to be expected) and many cafes and restaurants, each with its own commanding view of the landscape.

Since we went so early in the season, some of the top-rated restaurants were still closed. The weather was also a little iffy at times. The days were hot and the nights became a little chilly after sunset. On the final night of our stay there was a terrible windstorm, reminiscent of  tropical storm or hurricane winds in Florida. Evidently this sort of thing does happen in Oia, though not usually in April. But it was no matter to us. We spent our final day inside the hotel reading, relaxing, and enjoying our in-room jacuzzi.

We also made use of the wonderful masseuses in the spa at Andronis and we were able to visit Sigalis Winery to sample the local flavors at an expansive tasting right beside the vineyards.

Tasting at Domaine Sigalis Winery
Oia was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime trip. It wasn't as affordable as we'd expected-- we noticed a big difference in pricing and value between Mallorca and Oia, but it was stunning. The blindingly white walls of the city are a unique contrast to the cerulean Aegean Sea. People are friendly and the cherry tomatoes and other local dishes are delicious. If we had it to do over again, I think we would have chosen to go later in the season. Though it gets extremely crowded then, the water is warmer and all of the restaurants and shops are open and ready to accept visitors.

Our vacation to Oia was incredibly relaxing and indulgent. It was the perfect way to take a break from the cold, dreary days in Germany. The sunshine was just what we needed and the sunsets were breathtaking. We were sad to put away our swimsuits and sandals and replace them with jackets and boots. Hopefully we'll be able to return some day. See ya, Oia!

No comments:

Post a Comment