Europe Trip 2012 Day 18 (July 9, 2012): White Haven

After two great days in Turkey we are now back in Greece for our first of two more stops in Greece before closing out the cruise in Croatia. Today we are in Santorini, Greece a first time for Jenn and I and also marks our last official excursion for the trip. Jenn and I woke up at 7AM to get ready for the excursion which is by far the earliest we have had to wake up on the trip.

Getting up was no easy task but we managed to sleep walk out of bed and get ready just in time to get down to the Palladium Theater and onto the excursion. The tour started with getting on the tender boat and taking us to the port to board a bus and start our journey to the village of Oia. From the opening moments of the bus ride the landscapes in every direction were gorgeous. Our first stop on the excursion was at the Village of Oia which is exactly what you would expect from Santorini; amazing. Jenn and I easily took over two hundred photos in our hour or so in the village of Oia. We walked from the drop off point to several look out points to to the top peak. In every direction there was beautiful white walled buildings with blue roofs. It was one of the most picturesque areas I have ever been to, and we did our best to try and capture it.

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On our way back to the bus pick up point Jenn stopped into a beautiful little clothing store and within a minute found a beautiful turquoise dress that fit her like a glove. So of course she didn't hesitate to purchase it and we were on our way back to the bus. I am so glad Jenn has been able to find some amazing dresses on the trip because she is constantly saying she needs new ones.

After our time in the village of Oia we were taken by bus to a winery that was about a thirty minute drive. The winery was gigantic and after a very brief tour of the winery we were then allowed to taste three different wines (white, red, and desert). The red wine was by far the best out of the three followed by the white and the almost undrinkable desert wine. It was a beautiful winery that had gorgeous views from every direction of nearby islands and other areas of Santorini.

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From the winery we were taken to the city center where we were dropped off, given tickets for the cable cars to take us down the mountain to the cruise port and concluded our four hour excursion. From there my parents and rest of the family went to have lunch which they loved and then went back to the ship. Jenn and I went shopping for a good hour or so and explored nearby alleyways just tying to find great picture spots and just take in as much of Santorini as possible.

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Jenn spotted a restaurant called Sphinx which we decided to eat at for lunch which had incredible views of Santorini and our cruise ship anchored in the middle of the ocean. We started off with a bottle of water and two glasses of local red wine which were really quite good, a bit fruity but perfect for a warm day. They also brought out a bread basket with some of the best spreads I have ever had. We started off with what was called fried calamari but it was extremely lightly fried and at first glance I was worried if Jenn or I was going to be able to eat it. Luckily we passed the sight test and dug in and I am so glad we did because it was incredible. It was ripe with flavor and some of the most tender and delicious calamari I have ever had and we have had a lot. For the main course Jenn got a local dish called Village Inspired Tomato-Herb Pasta which was incredible. I had their Lamb Chops which was a little heavy for a lunch but extremely good. I have really gained a taste for Lamb over this trip and am very glad I ordered it again today.

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Our lunch lasted a little over two hours and after that we were exhausted so we made our way up to the cable cars to take us down to the cruise ship. We then boarded a tender and boarded our cruise. We decided we needed something sweet after the incredible lunch so we went up to the Pool Deck and got some soft served ice cream on a cones. To work some of the ice cream off we played a few games of ping pong in which Jenn creamed me in two out of three. Not one of my shining moments in the ping pong realm.

We got back to the room at around 3:30PM and both crashed hard until at 6PM, when Jake knocked on our door and we had to scramble to get ready for dinner. In retrospect I probably should have set an alarm but it is just so nice to be able to come back from a beautiful day in Greece and take a good two hour nap. We made it to dinner a little late but enjoyed another meal in the dining room.

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After dinner we all went to look at our photos that we take at last nights formal night and Jenn and I headed back to the room. It took us a few days to get in the rhythm of the cruise but from day three of the cruise on we have been coming back to the room after dinner and sitting on the balcony. Some nights like tonight I will write my daily posts from the balcony while Jenn reads and other nights we just sit up there talking and taking in the beautiful views and sunsets. Having a balcony on the cruise is a must in our opinion and its for simple moments like those that really make having it so special.

A little before 9PM we headed down to the Palladium Theater to watch tonights act who was a mental magician. Although he wasn't the best showman his act was quite incredible and had all of us asking how he did certain things. You could tell that the entire audience was skeptical including our group but with each act you just sat back and were kind of amazed at some of the things he was able to pull off. How he did it I have no idea but both Jenn and I found it to be extremely entertaining.

After the show Jake and I headed to the casino where he lost a quick $40 on craps and Jenn, Amy, and Ally ventured around the cruise ship, had drinks, and met up with us at around 11:15PM where we all decided to call it a night.

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It's both sad and amazing to think how quick this trip has flown by. But instead of looking forward I sit here reflecting on today and thinking about how blessed we truly are. It's hard to imagine this morning I was taking in the beautiful white haven's of Santorini, this afternoon I had an amazing lunch with my gorgeous wife, and this evening I am able to sit on the balcony and write about my travels. Life is good.