Outstanding summer programs for teens since 1982
Header Item 1

The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Scintillating Santorini! – Backpack Greece, The Islands & Italy

Friends and Family of Backpack Greece and Italy,

Our first glimpse of Santorini came into view as the world-renown blue domes of Oia revealed themselves against the afternoon sunlight.  The boat pulled into a harbor that was bustling with activity—donkey rides, restaurants, and shop owners.  What a place!  We took the bus up the winding mountainside roads to our hotel.  Allow me to correct myself—our paradise resort of epic proportionality.  Pools were left, right, and center, with white washed archways and steps connecting the different areas.  In our minds, we were staying in our own little city of El Greco.  We took the rest of the day to shake our sea legs and enjoy the extensive facilities now at our disposals—pools, a gym, beautiful sunshine, and great food.  Not a bad start!  Evening came quickly.  We made our way into the capital city of Fira to enjoy Santorinian cuisine and peruse the famous jewelry shops on the Island.  With full stomachs and glimmering new jewelry on our bodies, we stood overlooking the water and admiring the peaceful slowness of the surreal sunset.

Backpack Greece the islands & italyWe woke up the next day ready to take on a flurry of activity.  We started our boat tour to a Volcano where the molten rock that covered the island was unique in the way it absorbed the sun’s heat.  After an hour of hiking, we rehydrated ourselves and hopped back on the boat to set sail for some hot springs.  Upon arrival, we hopped off the boat straight into the water and swam ourselves over to the orange-colored natural hot springs.  Under the blazing afternoon sun, the springs felt a bit like a cool bath!  Alas, we took the boat back to Fira, but not without a quick peek at our evening destination of Oia.  The blue domes reflected the sun back towards us in salutation—see you later, they said.  We hastily rinsed away the day’s wear on our bodies and prettied up for our most posh destination yet—Oia and the blue domes.  We had a nice dinner overlooking the sunset.  As per usual, the food was of utmost quality.  We searched through the alleyways for the perfect photo stop of the blue domes; as you will all see shortly, we sure found it.  Home to overlooked treasures such as the Atlantis Book Shop, Oia in itself is a deity of villages.  White washed homes with their blue caps are a sight in itself, against the pink glow of the setting sun.  This was a sunset we will never forget.

Our last day in Santorini took on an informative beginning as we toured of the archaeological site of Akrotiri.  We viewed the city center of the city Greeks believe to be the ever so elusive Atlantis City.  It is hypothesized that only 1/13th of the city has been uncovered from the volcanic ash!  We went directly to Mesa Papidia for sea kayaking, snorkeling, and paddle boarding, after which, we enjoyed a traditional breakfast of rice-stuffed vine leaves, babaganush, and greek salad.  It was delicious.  We returned to the hotel after this for an afternoon of relaxation and hanging out with our friends.  While some enjoyed the pool and archway cabanas at El Greco, others ventured back into Fira for some more shopping and Fish Pedicures!  That night, we put on some stylish threads for our final night in Greece’s romantic capital.  We ventured a little deeper into Fira this time and found a ritzy taverna that overlooked the Santorinian waters.  Friendly chatter and laughter buzzed throughout the meal as we finally kicked back our chairs in a satisfied gesture.  After, we wrapped up our last bits of shopping and enjoyed a gelato under the Island breeze.

Backpack Greece the islands & italy kayakingThe next morning we woke up ready to hop on the ferry back to Athens.  Upon arrival at the hotel, we dropped off our stuff and put on our best wears to show off at our banquet ceremonies.  We dined in plain view of a well-lit Parthenon and snapped a couple of photos under its watchful eye.  We polished off our last fine Greek meal with Baklava and Vanilla ice cream.  What a treat that was!  We scurried back to the hotel and our closing ceremonies began.  With the lights off and a candle in hand, we went around in a circle, lighting our respective candles and revealing our most treasured moments of the trip.  After that, we all signed each other’s yearbooks, leaving each and every one of us with a personalized send off and heartwarming farewells from our new friends.  We laughed away the last tendrils of the night as our morning airport excursion neared.  We could feel the time moving as it should, but our memories would stand still in our hearts forever.  In the meantime, so long to the trip that was once a dream, forever realized in our hearts.

The Westcoast Blogger

Are you ready for this experience? On our 25-day tour to Greece and Italy, you will discover all wonders of these summer destinations, including the greek islands.