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Back to Athens

[Santorini / Athens, Greece, May 18, 2019]

Our flight back to Athens wasn’t until late afternoon, which left us with some time to explore the other parts of Santorini. There is so much to this island other than Oia and its gorgeous sunsets! First, though, we made the most of our stay at Aqua luxury suites. We enjoyed our breakfast and took one last dip in the hot tub before we said good-bye to this amazing hotel.

We headed towards the south end of the island.

Here, we found red volcanic rock and a small beach, as well as the Holy Church of Saint Nektarios. There is also an archaeological site – the ancient city of Akrotiri, which got buried in volcanic ash in the 17th century – but we just wanted to enjoy the weather and the views.

We had noticed a cliff-side restaurant on our way here and it looked like a good stop for lunch. We were the only people there, even though it was lunchtime – it’s amazing how much less crowded this part of the island is! We sat on the terrace and enjoyed tzatziki, keftedes (Greek meatballs), mussels, another moussaka and, of course, an iced frappe for me and a beer for B.

We dropped off the rental car and made our way to our gate. The tiny Santorini airport was packed, and our flight was delayed by about 30 minutes due to heavy air traffic in and out of Santorini. It was hard to say good-bye to this beautiful island and to what was the most relaxing part of our trip.

Santorini from the air. The village of Oia is to the right.

Before we knew it, we were approaching Athens. The flight from Santorini is only 45 minutes!

Hotel rooms in Athens are expensive and rather small, so AirBnBs are a much better option. I had reserved a mezzanine studio in the central Athens neighborhood, Plaka. We loved having more space and a full kitchen!

We were located just around the corner from the main street of Plaka, which was just getting busy in the early evening. There were lots of shops and cafes lining the street.

B had picked up an Austrian Airlines magazine on his flight to Sofia, which featured things to do in Athens! One of the recommendations was the Hotel Bretagne, a luxury hotel on the main square in Athens, Syntagma. It was a five-minute walk from our hotel, and we wanted to check out the rooftop bar in the magazine. We passed by the parliament building on the way there.

The Grand Bretagne did not disappoint. I got to see the Acropolis for the first time from the rooftop bar!

Food-wise, we indulged in the happy hour menu, which included a pizza inspired by the Greek salad – it was pizza with Greek salad toppings! I indulged in my favorite European cocktail, the Aperol Spritz, which I discovered in Italy in 2015.

As the sun set, the city started to twinkle. We were surprised to discover that the Acropolis was lit! It was a gorgeous evening!

On our way out, we checked out the lobby bar, which featured a giant tapestry of Alexander the Great. The bar is appropriately named The Alexander Bar.

Plaka had become even more lively after dark. We couldn’t wait to explore more of the city tomorrow.

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