Amazing Honeymoon to Crete/Santorini…
Seetha and our travel specialist met and exceeded our expectations at every moment. Now they were not waiting on us hand and foot, and we did not want that - our trip was planned - with thought and care. And they were there to support and handle our needs during the whole trip.
After an initial phone call - to learn how we wanted to travel, we were sent a menu of options and suggested excursions - after some edits - we were set to go. Covid threw a wrench in our plans and we had to delay for one year. This was expertly rebooked by our travel specialist, and in fact some new options became available, which we made the most of (a room upgrade at one hotel!). We had a mix of adventure, culinary, and relaxation days - and a few hotels/resorts for our 12-day trip.
Seetha and Sotiria met us in Athens, when we arrived, to introduce themselves! I am not sure they do this for all travelers, but it was a great way to connect and understand further that this was a personal travel experience and that our travel specialist team takes a personal care approach to our trip. We were given contact information for them in case of any eventuality, as well tickets that we needed, and a detailed itinerary (in case we had not printed one), and also a few thoughtful Greek welcome gifts.
While there were a couple of potential bumps in the trip - it was windy one day, so we decided to cancel our boat trip, our covid test results were missing, dinner plans changed - these were handled quickly and with ease by our travel specialist team. The hotel, transportation, and tour operators arranged by our travel specialist were friendly and professional. I would do it again!
We visited Crete and also Santorini.
In Crete - the old port of Chania has many of classic Greek Islands narrow walking streets filled with shops and restaurants - it was so fun to be walking around seeing people and all the character and history of a town that has so many influences - including Byzantine, Ottoman, Venetian. We took a tour of the city and learned about religion, architecture, and history all at once!
Unfortunately, we were unable to hike in Imbros or Samaria gorges, because it rained that day and there was a concern of danger from water. However, we tried some traditionally made olive oil and went to a winery, who knew they have grapes only found on Crete!
While in Hersonissos - near Heraklion - we went to see another olive oil mill where we learned way more about olives and olive oil, which was truly special - we are foodies and this was something we did not know about how to taste olive oil, and what makes it good. Of course, we also went to the Palace at Knossos - amazing they had plumbing and flush toilets 4000 years ago! The ruins were so very well preserved (I think because of ash from the volcano at Santorini).
At the Abaton Resort, we ordered room service and ate outside (with some nice Greek wine) on our patio overlooking the sunset and the Aegean. We left Crete about an hour before a small earthquake - apparently, Crete lies over a fault line, so they are fairly common.
When we arrived in Santorini - the caldera and rising mountains around it are breathtaking. Our hotel was right on the cliff overlooking the caldera also, as are many places to stay. Akrotiri was very intriguing (and to connect it with the Minoan site on Crete at Knossos) - a site of another 4000-year-old well-preserved remains of a civilized town.
The whole trip is memorable - we also took a private yacht tour around Santorini and learned so many more things about the island, and the still-active volcano, while sipping champagne and eating on the deck feeling like billionaires for about 10 hours :) - and you don't have to own a boat for that! Totally worth it. We hiked the walk from Fira to Oia - a bit in various directions from different places. There is no shortage of opportunities for photos along that walk, but it can be a real hike - so we stopped, had a beautiful lunch with a view from a movie scene and took a cab home...
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