After arriving the night before and getting settled in my adorable traditional Greek island house (which was an incredible value), I awoke early the next day. The first order of business was renting my four-wheeler for the duration of my stay. When I booked my accommodations I did not realize just how remote it was. Don’t worry, staying in one of the smaller, more traditional towns, turned out to be an amazing accident. I assumed that I could take the bus, but the lovely Maria of Morning Star advised me to rent a four-wheeler. She said that was how everyone got around and it was the best advice! Not only was the four-wheeler a blast to drive, but it gave me the freedom and flexibility to explore all of the island (it cost me 90 euros for my entire stay, plus 10 euros of gas).
Armed with my four-wheeler (and still a bit uneasy at the wheel), I scooted to the nearby town of Pyrgos (first three photos). Pyrgos, unlike many of the other more manicured and touristy towns on the island, is very charming and much more traditional. It’s tiny streets are full of white-washed houses with bright blue doors. You will find the occasional donkey resting in the square, little shops selling their wares, affordable and delicious cafes, and gorgeous domed churches. On top of the town is an old castle that is definitely worth exploring (and be sure to stop at Franco’s Bar).
After spending the morning in Pyrgos, I was ready and excited to hit the road to Oia. As you will see from my photos, I spent a lot of time in Oia. But, I also made sure to explore the other cities and parts of the island. While Oia is picture perfect, I think it’s a shame when travelers never leave it.
I don’t know if anyone else is this way, but when I travel I usually have a couple of photo goals in mind. For example, I knew I wanted a picture of Oia’s iconic three blue domes. I spent hours google mapping and researching how to find just the right angle. So when I arrived to Oia, I set out to find them. Fortunately, they are fairly easy to find (there is a street you turn left on after you pass a gorgeous blue-domed church and just before a fancy jewelry store). After taking countless pictures of these domes, I wandered around the city for a couple hours getting lost and taking a ton of photos.
Since I was new to four-wheeling, I decided not to stay for the famous Oia sunset on my first night, since it meant I would have to drive home in the dark. So I headed back to my hotel, which just happened to be next to what the locals told me was one of the best restaurants on the island, Metaxy Mas. Apparently it’s so good they were booked solid for my entire stay. But they were kind enough to prepare some dishes for me to go (and some wine!), which I enjoyed on my balcony overlooking the sea (pure heaven!).
Check back Thursday for my recap of day two!