2014 Vacation in Greece
Day 5. Sunday, August 3, 2014 (Crete and Santorini, Greece)
Around 7:00 a.m., the Olympia pulled into Heraklion Port in Crete, the largest island among all the Greek islands. Crete has everything. Mountains, towns, villages, farms, vineyards, ancient ruins, and beautiful beaches.
From the port, our group hailed two taxis to take us into town and just a few minutes later, we were dropped off at the edge of town near the Venetian Harbor.
The walk to the town square is gradually uphill as it leaves the harbor and the vast blue sea. Along the way, we stopped to visit shops, souvenir stands and churches, and of course took pictures.
We're in Crete. The Venetian Harbor is in the background
The pedestrian mall leads visitors from the sea to the town square
Group picture in Crete
The town square
Lovely view of the sea
The Liontaria Fountain
We always find opportunities to sit back and relax
Back on the Olympia, we lingered over lunch for a long time then went back to our cabins to pack since we were disembarking in the afternoon in Santorini.
Last day on the Louis Olympia
Danh, Martine and Lucas getting off ship
Linda, Lee and Christina enjoying the sun as our ship approaching Santorini Island
Our hotel in Santorini, the Aegean Plaza Hotel
Martine's cousin, Crystal Lee, and her husband, Jessey, happened to be in Santorini for vacation and were generous enough to send a vehicle to pick us up and take us to dinner.
The van delivered us to Crystal's home away from home, the Celestia Grand, a group of private and luxury villas with views so stunning that we were all speechless when we first walked through the villa doors.
The Celestia Grand is just a few miles from the main town of Fira. It is built on the cliff and all its while villas have their own terraces which offer spectacular views of the sea. Needless to say, hundreds of our wonderful pictures were taken here.
Our room faces the pool
Crystal and Jessey Lee's villa at the Celestia Grand
Around 4:00 pm, the Olympia lowered its anchor in the Caldera Sea and a smaller boat took us and our luggage to Athinios Port in Santorini.
From a distance, Santorini Island resembles a vertical cliff risen out of the sea and the top of the cliff is covered with a thick layer of snow. Come a little closer and you can see the white layer is not snow, it is the homes with white facades cascading down from the top of the cliff.
The Celestia Grand Villas with their magnificiant views
Enjoying the view of Caldera Sea
Few more pictures before heading to dinner
Linda, Crystal, Christina, Martine and Lee in front of the Archipelagos Restaurant in Fira
Right in the middle of the town square is a fountain called Liontaria. This is where water brought from the hills on the island is delivered. Even though it was still early in the morning, the town square was beginning to come alive and restaurants around the square started to be filled with customers.
We took a table at one of the sidewalk cafes near the fountain for coffee and juices before heading back to the ship around 11:00 am.
Heading for Santorini
Linda ready to hit town
A shuttle bus took us from the port to our hotel on the southeast side of the island. The Aegean Plaza Hotel is located in a quiet neighborhood just a few minutes from Kamari Beach.
Most of the hotel rooms orient toward the hotel's centerpiece, its beautiful pool. Our third-floor room is new, large and very clean.
Beautiful women (and Lucas) and fantastic view
Then our group headed for Fira where Crystal had made a dinner reservation at the Archipelagos Restaurant. We were seated at our table on the balcony around 8:15 pm as the sun began to set.
View of Caldera Sea from our table
View from our table
Crystal, Martine and Christina enjoying Fira
Nothing I say here would be adequate to describe the wonderful views, foods, and the company we had on this special day.
Clockwise: Linda, Bo, Christina, Lee, Lucas, Danh, Martine, Crystal and Jessey
From our table, we could clearly see the orange globe slowly disappearing into the calm sea and the wide open sky changing its spectacular colors.
Pretty soon, the only illumination there was came from the candles on our table and all the bright stars above.