An Engagement in Santorini
Here it is, the final post in my Greece travel series! Writing this is almost bittersweet, it feels like as soon as I hit publish, my trip is officially over. As much as I'd like to, I can't draw out the suspense much longer, so here goes!
Out of the three Greek destinations we stayed in, I was most excited for our trip to Santorini. The pictures I'd seen were the initial inspiration for me to choose Greece as number 1 on my destination bucket list. This beautiful island did not disappoint and we managed to create lifelong memories within our short 3 day stay. Be sure to click through the photos to enlarge them and leave a comment about your favorite part of our trip!
the resort - elea
Since our stay in Santorini took place during our 7 year anniversary, we wanted to stay somewhere special and decided to splurge on a resort. I did my research and learned that Oia is the most romantic part of the island and known for it's stunning sunsets & views. We booked our stay at Elea Resort through booking.com and got a great deal on our 3 night stay. Our experience at Elea definitely exceeded my expectations—the staff was kind & attentive, the grounds were luxurious & serene, and the location was prime. Upon our arrival, we were warmly greeted by the manager, Julia, who quickly felt like a friend we'd known forever by the end of our stay. Perhaps my favorite part of the amenities at Elea Resort was the breakfast spread that was delivered to our room each morning. The spread consisted of fresh & healthy Greek favorites that kept us full before our journeys each day.
the wine - domaine sigalas
The unique climate & minerals on the island make Santorini a must-see for wine lovers. Being spoiled enough to live so close to wine country and visit often, it was a real treat to see how wine is done abroad. There are quite a few wine destinations on the island and while I wish we had gotten the chance to see them all, our visit to Domaine Sigalas winery was enough to hold me over until the next trip. We were told the winery was about a 45 minute walk from our resort and for some reason, we decided to be adventurous and take the trek by foot. I'll never be quite sure if we were going the right way or not, after about an hour of walking and uncertainty, a friendly local stopped and offered us a ride. We had about 5 seconds to determine the probability of getting kidnapped or murdered and luckily our intuition didn't steer us wrong. I'll forever be thankful to the kind stranger who picked us up—I was starting to sweat through my romper and hair from the walk (princess problems).
The winery was quaint and in a boutique style setting that overlooked what seemed like an endless vineyard and the sea in the horizon. Our server was extremely knowledgable on the history of each wine that we tasted. It was so interesting to go beyond the taste and smell of the wine and have the opportunity to be educated on exactly how and why each wine is made the way it is. My favorite was probably the Vinsanto—a wine that is unique to the island. The production of this wine is quite tedious and involves days of sun-drying the grapes, and spending up to 4 years in barrels for maturation. The flavor is sweet and the consistency is slightly viscous. As someone who doesn't really care for dessert wines, this wine was just the right amount of sweet and learning the intense process from grape to glass made it most memorable for me.
the food - ammoudi bay
Oh, the food—so much love and thought goes into the food served on this island. Our most memorable foodie experience definitely took place in Ammoudi Bay. Ammoudi Bay is just below Oia at sea level. We took 300+ steps to get there from Oia, we could have taken donkeys down the hill but that was a big nope from Marcos and I. The journey to the bottom was well worth it. There are about 6 restaurants in the quaint space of Ammoudi Bay and 1 jewelry store, that's it besides a few housing quarters for staff (I'm assuming that's what they were). We walked past each restaurant checking out the menus and trying to find the one with a vibe that felt right. At our very last stop, we came across Ammoudi Fish Tavern—the host chatted us up and convinced us that this would be the best choice to dine at. Intrigued by the hanging octopi seen at the entrance and above the restaurant, the host explained to us that their octopus is sun-dried for days, then grilled for the best taste & consistency. We just had to try it. Throughout our stay in Greece, I'd tried octopus about 3 different ways and was underwhelmed with most—except this one. The flavors are so subtle yet memorable, with just a bit of olive oil, balsamic, and slight seasoning, a texture that was tender and never chewy...my mouth is watering just thinking about it again. The grilled octopus at Ammoudi Fish Tavern was probably our favorite dish of the entire trip! We followed our amazing appetizers with seafood linguine for me and seafood risotto for Marcos, both delicious and beautifully prepared. As if the food wasn't enough, we were also seated right next to the ocean—making for one of the most amazing dining experiences of our trip.
the views - oiA
I'll start by saying that views in Oia alone brought tears to my eyes as soon as I had a moment to take them in. I could have literally sat and stared at our surroundings for hours and never get tired of it—we actually did exactly that quite a few times during our stay. According to our iPhones, we averaged about 10,000 steps each day simply from walking around Oia and taking in as much of the views as we could. I've officially declared Oia my happy place and can't wait to visit again one day.
the engagement - unforgettable
Of course, I had to save the most special part of the trip for last. After spending an entire day exploring, on the evening of our 7 year anniversary, we planned to have a quiet dinner at the resort to end our day. I changed out of my romper and into a t-shirt & shorts (big mistake - clearly didn't see this coming) and to top off my look, I rocked my bathrobe to dinner as the evening breeze began to pick up. Aside from my stylish ensemble, the setting of our dinner was perfect. We grabbed a table just on the edge of the cliff to get the perfect view of the sun that was about to set. Little did I know, Marcos planned to pop the question just as the sun was setting. He asked a couple nearby that was watching the sunset to take a photo of us, me, not knowing what was about to happen insisted that he not bother them while they were watching the sunset too. He ignored my control-freak tendencies and had them take the photo anyways. I turned around to glance at the setting sun, turned back around and saw Marcos on his knee.
I wish I could tell you word for word what he said to me but honestly, between my mind and heart racing, I pretty much blacked out from pure happiness. I remember thinking "okay, when do I get to say yes?" while he was telling me all the ways that he loved me and why he wanted me to be his wife. Oh, and the couple that he asked to take our photo? Not only did they capture an epic shot of the moment, they got it on video too. After I said yes, I asked Marcos "did you hire them?" because their timing was truly impeccable.
We ended the most special evening of our lives (so far) with a celebratory bottle of champagne, sharing the news with our family, and having the sweetest conversation about everything we've been through to get to this very moment.
All in all, our trip to Santorini was pure bliss and a trip that will set the standard for the rest of our lives together. As soon as we returned to the states, we moved into our very first home so the milestones just keep on rolling in. I hope that you enjoyed my travel series on our stay in Greece! If you missed anything, be sure to check out the posts below. Stay tuned for more posts about my experience as a first-time homeowner and how I decorated each room of our house—coming soon!