Although much of Venice is very walkable, don’t be fooled by the small size of the city. We found there were lots to see and do during our 3-night stay. Like many other places in Italy, the food was fantastic and the art was abundant. I didn’t know what to expect other than a bunch of buildings that happened to be built on top of water, but it kind of felt like we were in a period drama thanks to the gorgeous architecture throughout. It’s no wonder places like Las Vegas and Epcot has created replicas of this famed city.
To get to Mykonos from Santorini, we took a car to the port where all the ferries docked. Swarms of people getting on the ships made for a very chaotic morning. We just looked out for the name of the ferry line on our ticket and awaited our boarding time, standing in some poorly formed queues. Tickets were purchased online before our trip. Once we got on the ferry, it was way fancier than I had anticipated. Having only been on a shitty, rocky, and tiny cruise ship once as a kid, this was everything I expected a modern cruise should look. There were several levels of seating, beautiful large windows on the sides, clean bathrooms, comfortable chairs, and concession bars. If only ships moved as fast as planes, I would be A-OK with traveling by sea in this fashion.
Every day in Greece ended up with chasing sunsets, and we were lucky enough to have pleasant weather throughout the entire trip (except for one morning in Athens). While Kacey and Daniel stayed behind at the AirBNB, Tie, Albert and I took a cab from Fira and got our drink on at Santo Winery. With an almost entirely unobstructed view of the caldera, it is one of the best places to catch a sunset.
When in Santorini, Oia, all the way in the northwest, is one of the best places to watch the sunset. We walked to the bus terminal in Fira to catch a ride to Oia for €1.60. After about half an hour, we arrived in the parking lot full of cars and ATVs from tourists and locals who drove. Actually, we had contemplated renting ATVs but didn’t have an international driving permit and didn’t want to risk getting arrested or fined. Plus, I had been reading stories about tourists being injured, especially along the cliffs. So we decided to err on the side of caution and paranoia.
Santorini is just as beautiful when viewed from atop the caldera and within the caldera itself. On our second day there, we decided on a whim to go on a yacht tour. Winnie had already booked the morning semi-private cruise with her friends and, without telling her, we booked the same one. It was about 135€ per person on Vista Yachting, which ended up being one of the best-valued activities we did during our entire trip. The company picked us up by our AirBNB and drove us to the port, where we were surprised that it was just going to be us and Winnie’s friends. Normally a private tour would be way more expensive (200€+), but we lucked out because no one else booked the same cruise!
Visiting Greece was always something on our bucket list, and this May/June we were able to travel internationally with a group of friends (Winnie, Kacey, Daniel, and Albert) for the first time. It turned out to be one of my favorite trips so far. Having friends to laugh and do stupid things with while exploring a foreign country took us out of our usual hotpot-and-board-game-at-home situation. Not to mention, we ate so much delicious food! One of the best things about traveling with a group is being able to family-style every meal and try as many dishes as possible without breaking the bank. Outside of Astoria, New York lacks an abundance of amazing Greek food so of course we had to stuff ourselves given the chance.
Although Tie and I usually plan a pretty thorough itinerary for our trips, this time we decided to be a bit more spontaneous as we were traveling with a group and understood that some of us would have conflicting interests. I admit that not having a solid plan made me kind of stressed out in the beginning, but I eventually accepted that this should feel like a real vacation so just lounging around sometimes should be okay.
Amsterdam was a mix of romantic walks along the canal, well-curated museums, and some seedy things. We spent a total of five days living out of a tiny AirBNB by the canal and walked our way around the city. I had attempted to rent a bike before quickly realizing that there was no way I could avoid getting hit by a car or running someone over. So we got our cardio in instead.
I’ve already covered the Tower Bridge in a previous post, but here is a photo gallery of some other London classic spots!
I’ll admit, prior to planning our trip to London I was under the impression that it’s all fish and chips. Probably because Ireland wasn’t exactly foodie heaven and I kinda assumed they might have similar cuisines. On the contrary, London has much variety to offer. We’re eager to return and eat more to our heart’s content, but in the meantime, this is our dining summary.
Like many big cities, London boasts some spectacular night views. Our favorite was crossing the Tower Bridge towards the side of City Hall. The bridge is very ornate up close, and I love the bluish-purplish illumination. It looked like you could live inside each one of the towers! Parts of the bridge was under construction, but we were still able to walk across it with many other pedestrians (and bikers, too).