Summer

santorini, pt. II: from imerovigli to ammoudi

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{this post is third in the honeymoon in greece series– catch up if you’ve missed the others!}

from our perch in beautiful imerovigli, every day i would stare out at the tip of land that curved around like an arm to the village on the very tip of the “hand”, oia (ee-uh), purportedly one of the most beautiful villages on the island. before arriving, i thought it would be fun to hike there from imerovigli but when i arrived, i saw it all laid out in front of me, above. (map via)

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how often do you actually see the path of your hike laid out in front of you? what a unique experience that would be, surely. but certainly daunting– you can see lots of the mountain and cliff-side trails from the start point. i told alex, “if i have to walk on the side of a cliff, i am turning around.” really uplifting words, huh?
in any case, we had to try! i had seen alexandra’s inspirational post last year about the hike and decided that we could totally do it. for some it takes two hours, for others, closer to three. well, let’s see how we would do!

the earliest breakfast time at our hotel was 8:30am (probably not the kind of place where people who want to hike to oia stay!), so we had a “quick” 45 minute breakfast before setting off on the hike at a quarter to ten. leaving early in the greek heat is key!

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the hike is so beautiful and really surreal… you want to pinch yourself and ask, “am i really hiking on a cliff in santorini right now?” little green lizards scatter about. the views are breathtaking. sometimes we would hide in any shadow we could find to take a little water break (bring water!!). something i didn’t anticipate was how not hungry i would be and how much i would sweat! it was fun to see oia getting closer and closer and look at all of the progress we’d made. below, the “scariest” part of the trail, fortunately not scary in the least.

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once we got to this church (above, about 3/5 of the way there), it made my heart jump to see oia just beyond… so close! we passed a hiking couple like us at that point who actually were starting in oia and were hiking to fira… which means they probably just started off their hike at about 10:30! i felt kind of bad because the route from imerovigli to oia contains much more downhill paths than going the other way and it was only getting hotter… (leave early, leave early, leave early)
the vegetation in this area was also really wild! rarely if i ever am around these sorts of plants of orange and yellow against a red rock path– delightfully exotic.

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you know you’re approaching oia when you start walking past luxury hotel after luxury hotel. it was fun to have a peak in and look at all of these beautiful properties! immediately, the village of oia felt so different than that of fira. it seemed much more elegant and laid-back than crazy-town banana-pants fira, but still with the gentle hum of tourism through its thoroughfares. i loved the tiny but colorful main streets of the town. and the dogs… so many dogs.

and for the record, we clocked in on this 7.9km hike at two hours, twenty minutes with only taking a handful of short breaks for water and photo taking. 

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oia, however, wasn’t our final destination that day– ammoudi was! ammoudi is a tiny port, famous for its fresh fish, that lies right under oia; three hundred steps down.  i knew i would have to get back up eventually, but it seemed like an okay trade-off for a fish lunch and a swim. those red cliffs are stunning!
we split a fish (sea bass) for lunch at a taverna and got to go in the kitchen and choose it ourselves! a pretty unique experience.

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after lunch, we headed for ammoudi “beach”, which isn’t really a beach but rather an outcropping of rocks around a great swimming spot! (from arriving down the stairs, hang a left and walk through the restaurants to get to the trail)
the color of this sea is incredible… and the salty aegean keeps you afloat with almost no work!

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of course, going back up those stairs to oia in the heat of the day was not our finest hour. at one point, slumped against a hotel in a small sliver of shade, alex and i looked at each other, red faced and dripping with sweat, and said “i love you”. as if we were dying. lovely honeymoon memory

fortunately, some gelato brought us back to life. but only gelato from lolita’s, the absolute best place to get ice cream on santorini. (i dare you to challenge me!) handmade, and created with an italian gelato machine. i also loved the staff and the silly sayings written inside like “i’m making good gelato, marry me!” one of the flavors was called “greek viagra”. i needn’t say more.

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at that point we just walked around old town oia some more before busing back. loads of tourists were getting off the bus as we were getting on in preparation to watch that world famous sunset… but i had seen the photos of the crowds and knew we would enjoy it just as much (if not more) with a margarita

pizza and some moscato on the balcony.

have you ever been to oia or ammoudi? i swear you will impress the pants off of the locals if you take this hike.

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