Friends, can we have confession time?
Summer Shay is kind of…well…a little bit…sort of…lazy.
I’ve realized this about myself this week and though I should probably do something to rectify the situation, instead, I’m just going to confess it to you.
I have a whole list of things that I need to get done. All three girls need haircuts, two kids need to see the orthodontist, there is this caterpillar situation in my house that needs an exterminator’s attention, my office is overflowing with just stuff that needs to be purged, I need to go to Trader Joe’s…the list goes on, but every time I tell myself I’m going to do one of those things, I shake my head and think “ah, I’ll do it when school starts”. Anyone else? I have this “Jimmy Buffet summer is here” attitude and because of it, I haven’t washed my hair in daysssssss. Hahaha! Please tell me that I’m not alone. These lazy days of summer are getting me waaaaay behind on my to-do list 😉 .
I have PART TWO today of our Italy/Greece vacation recap for you! If you missed PART ONE, then hustle on over HERE and catch up before you move on. In today’s post, we hit our first three ports…two we loved and one, we did not love (but we sure did laugh a lot while we were there!). Scroll to see…
So, here we are getting off the ship for the first time…but at this point, I think it’s like 4:00 in the afternoon or something (it was later), and yet, this is the first picture I have of the whole day. So, let me give you a quick synopsis of what we had been doing until this point: we slept in, we ate breakfast, we read books by the pool, we had lunch, we cleaned up for our first port in Kotor, Montenegro…exceppppppt our ship wasn’t allowed to stop in Kotor, Montenegro (apparently, at the port in Venice, we were not allowed to leave on time which meant our ship wouldn’t make it to Kotor on time, so they called an audible and rerouted us to Bar, Montenegro…). Um, Bar was, um, not Kotor. We had so many fun things planned to do/see/eat in Kotor, so, we got off the ship in Bar and tried to figure out a Plan B.
A look back at our ship as we headed off to check out Bar.
Erika and I have been on so many trips together, had so many adventures and it NEVER gets old!
This little park area was our favorite in Bar. The trees were pretty, and it was right by the water.
And that’s the last picture I have.
Maybe Erika has more on her blog today, but friends…that’s legit it! We didn’t have transportation, so we had to walk…and we did for about an hour. We walked up and down the streets, went into stores, asked people some questions about other places we could go, laughed and laughed and laughed at a host of random things, but the area was very industrial and there wasn’t much to do (I’m bummed we missed Kotor!). That being said, it was an adventure, and I’m thankful that out of all of our ports, this was the shortest one.
Later that night back on board the ship, we sat in the atrium and enjoyed music…
…and laughed with other passengers sitting around about how that day was a bit of a bust. No worries though because the day morning we woke and our port was AMAZING!!!!
Our hey there day three on board the ship! We were in CORFU, GREECE!! Whoop! Whoop!
This day did not disappoint! The four of us were up early and off the ship as soon as it docked. We had a private tour awaiting us for the day. Andrew and I don’t always do tours when we travel because many times, we like to see the sites on our own, but we did have three private tours and one a-mazing relaxing day scheduled on this trip. As soon as we got off the ship, our private tour guide was waiting with a van to spend the day taking us around the island of Corfu. My favorite part of his tour was HIM! He was so knowledgeable!! I learned so many things about Corfu just from sitting in the car and listening to him talk to us about their food, agriculture, politics, religion, educational system, crime, tourism, winter activities, and on and on and on. We spent the whole day with him and by the end, I just wanted him to hop on the ship with us for the rest of the trip because I enjoyed him so much! He was an excellent guide (and driver!) for this day. Our first stop was here at the beautiful Achilleion Palace. We took a self-guided audio tour through the palace and learned not only what it was originally built for, but also how it was used during World War 2 by the Nazis. I found it all so interesting, and the grounds very beautiful.
I love a good site-seeing day!
The views out the back were spectacular! You could see both the hills and the ocean.
Next stop, some very old ruins that also had an amazing view!
We climbed up the old rock steps to take it all in.
On one side of the ruins, there was a really pretty resort. Side note, I wish I lived near the ocean.
Our next stop, an old monastery. They passed out skirts and shawls to the ladies not wearing pants and sleeves.
Guys, THE FLOWERS! I mean, dang! I wish I lived by the ocean WITH the gorgeous flowers. Greece, you are beautiful!! The monastery sat atop a hill with spectacular views.
Look how beautiful the water is! While we were here, there was an artist selling paintings from University students and both couples bought one to bring home. It’s the perfect way to always remember this trip.
Later that afternoon, our driver took us to the Old Town portion of Corfu for a late lunch at…
At the end of the trip, we all agreed that this was our VERY favorite meal!
We started with traditional Greek salads and this baked sheep’s milk cheese thing. It was insane!
They brought out fresh calamari (please note, we ate all the cheese! Ha!).
There was live music!! Here are the performers stopping for a pic! And then we continued to eat…the boys got fish (it was so fresh!), and the girls shared this Greek pizza thing. The whole meal was just perfection! I think I might move to Corfu now. I can blog from there, right?
After a very full day, it was time to head back to the ship. We cleaned up for dinner…
…took a few pics…
…and then enjoyed Cagney’s Steakhouse on board the ship.
This was our first port in Greece, and honestly, when I went to sleep that night, I thought there was no way it could be beat.
AND I WAS WRONG.
The next day, we were sailing to Santorini Island, and it was everything and more! But first…we had to get there. Our ship was supposed to arrive around 1:00 PM, so we spent the morning sleeping in a bit, enjoying breakfast and lunch on board and…
…sitting by the pool and taking in the scenery! This particular portion of sailing was really spectacular because the ship just kept going by the cutest towns and islands. Every single one of them more beautiful than the last.
See? Our whole morning was sailing past the prettiest towns.
We were anxious to jump off the ship as soon as it arrived in Santorini, but first…
…we had to tender. Do you know what tendering is? It’s when the ship can’t pull up to a dock at a port (because either they don’t have one, it’s already full or it’s not big enough for the ship), so you take a smaller boat from your big ship to the land.
My view from the tender to Santorini.
When you arrive in Santorini by ship, you can either take that cable car thing up (see it there), walk all the way up or take a donkey up. Yup, a donkey.
On the way up, we took the cable car thing.
I just thought it was so spectacular how everything was carved into the side of the mountain.
We made it to the top and our private tour guide was up there ready and waiting for us. And you know what? I loved her too!! On this day, we had a driver and guide to take us all over Santorini. I thoroughly enjoyed this guide too! She was able to explain so much to us about the lifestyle and culture of the island while also making sure we understood its history and roots.
We made a big circle around the island on this day (we didn’t have to be back on board until that night), and our first stop was way up here for the spectacular views (with a bit of wind thrown in!).
After that, we headed to Oia and loved it so much that we asked her if we could stay here longer rather than moving on. All four of us decided that if we ever go back for a land vacation to Greece, we would want to stay in Oia and spend several nights. Not only was it absolutely stunning, but it was quaint and charming at the same time. There were no cars, just narrow little streets filled with shops, boutique hotels and restaurants.
Give me #alltheOia!
We were now further along on the island in Oia, but you could still see our ship anchored out there.
We walked up to see the Byzantine Castle ruins right there in town too.
This was a picture looking out the other direction.
Can’t stop, won’t stop with Oia.
As we were strolling along, we found this adorable book shop tucked down below.
Kensington is very much into Greek Mythology. I had told her a few months ago that when I was in fourth grade, I loved Greek Mythology, and so she bought herself a book and now, she likes it too. In this book shop, I found her another (in English) Greek Mythology book for kids, and she was thrilled when we returned home.
The outside of the book shop. See any smiling faces down there?
After a really nice day in Oia, our guide wanted to take us to the other side of the island for dinner. Yes, please!
Look how charming this restaurant is!
I thought the menu was charming too 🙂 .
Our guide was very helpful when it came to ordering here. These were the appetizers she recommended and they were FANTASTIC! We had this zucchini cake, meatballs and fried tomatoes. Insane!
Ohhhhh…and then, she had us order the calamari which came with fried peppers and fried LEMONS! The friend lemons were so good! Who knew?!
For dinner, she told me to get the salted cod. Yes, ma’am!
We’ve decided that Greek food is our new favorite.
When it was time to return to the ship, we needed a group pic in Santorini…
…with the ship in the background.
And then, we decided to walk down instead of taking the cable car thing. Yup, we walked alllll the way down…and besides having to try hard not to step in donkey poop, it was SPECTACULAR! I’m pretty sure my legs are still sore from it though.
We made it back to the tender and took in last views of beautiful Santorini.
The city absolutely glowed at night as we sailed away. The sunset was spectacular setting over the city as well.
Awe! Greece, I’m a big fan.
We have our last baseball tournament this weekend, so that’s what I’m off to do. I hope you have a happy and healthy weekend yourself! I’ll see you back here on Monday! xo