Thursday, 26 August 2010

A hot sunny holiday at last!

I was beginning to get a bit desperate for a holiday while Ivan (Mr Bicknell) was away, so I got on the phone to Bex, we were at uni together and have remained the best of friends ever since, sadly she now lives in Germany so I don't see her half as much as I would like, so being able to do lots of catching up, somewhere nice and hot couldn't be missed - so we did it - booked a Thomas Cook holiday to Santorini in Greece! I have never booked a Thomas Cook holiday before (bit of a snob), but beggars can't choosers and all that, however, I'll tell you what, they were fantastic and I would definitely do it again!
Our hotel - the most amazing surprise - considering we virtually paid nothing for the privelege!
The pool looked amazing surrounded by fruit trees and bougainvillea - I swam 200 lengths every day - yes really! Have you seen how slim Bex is? It is enough to put you to shame! And at night it looked pretty good too!

I don't know what her name was, but the hotel's cat was super sweet and spent every day curled up on our balcony! She appeared to be very practiced in posing for the camera too!

You all know that I am a bit of a Spa brat, but these massages that we had on the beach truly rival anything I have ever had before - "England" was a true Thai master and really meant business in getting rid of all that pent-up pre-holiday stresses! Not a bad way to start you holiday! Oh yes - I didn't think you needed to see me in my bikini - Bex looks MUCH better in hers!

Donkeys are a big thing in Santorini - not only as a mode of transport, but a bit of mascot too - these painted ones popped up everywhere!

Well, you have to don't you?!

I knew exactly how he felt - Santorini is HOT!

The church is typical of the island's sugar cube architecture and blue domes - and how blue is that sky?

I know that this is also a bit of a cliche, but I love the fact that left, right, and centre there are olive, pomegranate and fresh fig trees, so this had to be taken!

Ntomatini - the best place to eat in Perissa, the food is exquisite, the staff are super friendly and the actual restaurant is very beautiful.

Really I should have taken a photo before I dived in, but the food is so good here that I couldn't wait! Straight from the sea, no fuss, just perfectly cooked fresh produce.

The Yazz bar is in the oldest standing building in Perissa, it is by day the most laid back place with great chill out music and fantastic food, but at night it really comes alive.

And well, you have to try the local thirst quenchers don't you?!

Rather than just laze around we decided to see something of the Island - so booked a boat trip to the island's volcano - it was a bit breezy - apparently Santorini is famous for being a bit windy in August - so the sailing proved to be not for the faint hearted - fortunately we are made of tough stuff, and the wind is actually quite welcome as it really stops you from feeling the 40 degree heat!

Our boat for the day.

Hmmm, the Albatross - glad I wasn't on that one!

Looking back at Thira.

Our first stop was the volcano which is situated bang in the middle of what is now the horseshoe shaped island of Santorini - 3 KM's up and it was hot, hot, hot, in fact you only needed to dig 12cm down and you could cook your lunch in the soil! I think this is a particularly fetching pic of the two of us - that's the great thing about being on holiday at our age - you just don't care! What does worry me though is just how mad we are beginning to look! It also looks like I've had a bang on the head!

After the volcano we jumped (well I'm a bit of a coward and had to be pushed) off the boat and swam to the hot springs - this is where the volcano is still active and the water bubbles up around you, there is also a special mud so that you can have a quick facial - sadly my camera is not waterproof, so you will have to imagine this, but the photos would have been funny and very embarassing! Next was a short sailing to another tiny island - Thirasira, for lunch, this consisted of huge fresh fish kebabs and of course, Greek salad - swimming below us on the terrace were these fish....

Annie, my lovely sister in law gave me these sandals and I don't suppose she would be very impressed to see them immersed in water like this - but look at how clear it is and sadly how white my legs still were (brown now!) Ivan (Mr Bicknell) maintains that they have an anti-tanning pigment in them!
You cannot visit Santorini without at least a night out in its capital Thira - and a very pleasant one we had too!

Thira is jam packed with incredible jewelery shops - this one was particularly gorgeous and the owner was more than happy to let me take a picture of the beautiful display - Bex and I did treat ourselves to a few bits and pieces from a lovely store later on - but not here as we would have needed to really max out our credit cards! Ahh, one day, but not on a teachers salary!

The owners of this store weren't quite so accomodating - forbidding me to take any photos - but I did anyway - I love the matchboxes - maybe a new college project?!

Not only were the jewelery stores amazing, but the various ice cream and cake shows held their own too - this one looked like this before we had supper and when we passed by later on it was practically empty!
What you must do in Thira is check out the sunset over the Caldera, so we did.

We decided to push the boat out for dinner and go a bit posh - this one (Casablanca) was situated right at the top of Thira, all swishy drapes, lovely blankets to wrap yourself up in if it got too breezy (it was all open sided at the top), incredible food and great wine, in fact, the lovely french couple next to us treated us to a bottle of Rose - who said the french were mean?

The view over Thira from our rather posh restaurant - breath taking, balmy and beautiful.

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