Special Edition – Animals of Greece

To conclude the Greece series, I thought I would give you a visual treat.  While island hopping, I became slightly obsessed with taking photos of the adorable animals.  Actually my husband was pretty annoyed with it, but you can’t look at this slide show without being a little jealous of them.  Mark my words, when I am reincarnated, I want to come back as a cat or dog on the island of Santorini.

And, you’re welcome.

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Living the Dream on Santorini

Santorini has been at the top of my travel list since forever and I was beyond thrilled when Fabien agreed on Greece for our honeymoon destination. I spent a lot of time researching where to stay, how to get there and what to do since I wanted the 5 days to be absolute perfection. Coming from Crete, Santorini had big shoes to fill.

The boat ride in was less climatic that I had expected. Actually, the rough water made me a tad queasy and I pretty much slept until we arrived. After finding our sketchy transporter, we drove 40 minutes to the traditional village of Oia (pronounced e-ah). We were then handed off to another transporter who took our luggage and guided us through the streets which have no names, rhyme or reason. The only negative statement on the travel websites about our hotel  was that there were a lot of stairs. It’s true, but it helped balance all of the wonderful food we were eating. When we finally made it to the hotel, the proprietor met us at our room, which had the very best view in all of the hotel. The room was totally, undoubtably, hands down the most AMAZING place we have ever stayed. My research had paid off.

The view from our terrace

Our hotel – Oia Mare Villas

We spent the first day and the next eating lunch at the Amoundi Bay which was 300 steps below our hotel, swimming in the pool, watching the sunset and having a late dinner. Watching the sunset in Oia is a must do while on the island and we were so lucky to have the best seat in the house. There was a landing just above our hotel where hundreds of tourists would claim their spot hours before sunset. It is so amazing that people actually clap and cheer each night when it’s finished. We used this time to play cards, have a drink and a little something to eat before dinner.

Sunset ritual

Other tourists getting ready for sunset

Sunset

After a couple of days of being lazy by the pool, we decided to rent a 4-wheeler and explore the island. We went to various beaches and towns and both decided we were so happy with the place we had chosen to stay. Santorini isn’t known for great beaches and I would agree that they were just ok. Below is a pic of my favorite, Red Beach. Another one where you have to take a boat or hike over rocks and cliffs for access.

4-wheelin’

Hiking (yet again) to Red Beach

Another day, we chartered a boat and went to the volcano. That was pretty cool. After the volcano they took us swimming in the hot springs and then to another island across the way called Thirisia.

Who wears white to a volcano? We do!

The (bathing suit staining) hot springs

After doing all that, we had pretty much done and seen it all. Our last couple days continued with this pattern: breakfast, swimming in the sea, lunch, lounging by the pool, sunset ritual, dinner, repeat.

Really, I could spend a week just laying by the pool and looking at the beauty of Santorini – it’s just that amazing. However, three days would have probably been sufficient. Below are my two favorite photos from Santorini and you can also click here to view the entire Santorini album.

My favorite pic of the trip

Couldn’t you just look at it forever?

I Do…Again

When we recently moved, I found a couple funny things in a box of school assignments my mom had saved. One from 6th grade was a book of predictions of where me and my classmates would be in 10 & 15 years (22/27ish).  (Yes, I know, I know – I’m not 22/27, but I’m not too much older.) While most other students said they wanted to be doctors, professional athletes, parents, rich, married, etc., I had big plans for myself.

Age 22 forecast

Age 27 forecast

Talking about setting an intention.  I guess that even as a child, I was a big dreamer.  But, relatively speaking, I don’t think I did too bad with my 12-year-old vision board. Sure, I take photo’s, so that would make me a “photographer”. I didn’t technically live in Paris, but I was about an hour away. Traveling to all the amazing places in Europe? I’ve only just scratched the surface, but I’m well on my way. And not only do I have an adopted daughter, but also an adopted son. Aren’t they adorable?

My daughter, Cally

My son, Bear

Then I found another book, where I designed the cover. Again, my psychic abilities weren’t too bad.

Sure, I changed directions a bit in Middle School and decided I’d like to have a baby, work in an office, drive a Mercedes and live the single life in Tennessee.

Yes, I’m well aware that I don’t have a Mercedes and that I don’t work in a big office building, but I’m okay with that. However, what stuck out most was the, “Marriage – not for me”.  Maybe this was a result of my parents recent divorce, but I also found myself in my single 20’s, feeling relatively the same. I was making good money, had a decent job, a house, a dog, cat and awesome friends. Why would I want to get married and mess that all up?

Well, within a short time of meeting Fabien, to quote my friend, Adam, “I chucked it all and followed my heart”. I quit my job and left my house and animals in the care of my friends and family to move to the other side of the world with some french guy I had only known for 6 months. Talk about risk. Fortunately, it all worked out, but , it could have been an epic disaster.

So, here I am. 3 years later and married. Our wedding last year was a perfect day and truly the happiest of our lives. BUT, the perfect day has some competition because this Wednesday, Fabien and I leave for France to get married again. Yes, the girl who didn’t even want to get married and didn’t dream of her wedding is having two weddings. Oh, the irony of it all.

So, here’s what life looks like for the next few weeks:

The Church of St. Cyr en Val

July 4th: Happy Birthday, America. We’re flying from Nashville to Detroit to Paris with wedding supplies in tow.

July 5th: Arrive in Paris and run around like a crazy woman doing last-minute preparations.

July 7th: Get married….again. Did I mention the whole ceremony is in french? And that it’s tradition that the reception lasts until the wee hours in the morning followed by lunch the next day? Next blog. It’s simply too complicated to describe here.

July 9th: Honeymoon (finally). We’re off to Athens, Greece where we’ll spend 3 days sightseeing and dodging protestors, which isn’t new to us. Remember our trip to Bangkok?

In Crete we’ll hike the Samaria Gorge in the White Mountains.

July 12th: Flying from Athens to Chania, Crete. We’ll spend 4 days driving around the island beach hopping and hiking the Samaria Gorge.

July 16th: Jumping on a boat to Santorini for 5 days. Honestly, while most little girls were busy dreaming of their wedding day, I was busy dreaming of Santorini, Greece. Check out the view from our hotel room. I could possibly die right there because my life will be complete when I spend 5 days with Fabien in this paradise.

!!! Our hotel and view !!!

July 21st: Fly back to Athens and soak up one more night in Greece.

July 22nd: Begin the long journey home. Athens > New York > Atlanta > Nashville – Hello, frequent flier miles!

So, here’s to being a photographer, living in France and Tennessee, having adopted animal babies and traveling to all the amazing places in Europe with the worlds most amazing husband.

Happy Independence Day, Everyone!