A foodies guide to Santorini

 

20768226_10213680891592521_4542167224932255520_n-2Santorini is known for its romantic sunsets, blue domed homes, and breathtaking views of the Caldera. But what some may not associate with this small Greek island, is its incredible food scene. From seaside feasts, to grab and go gyros, Santorini offers a variety of delicious meals and today I am sharing some of the places I fell in love with.

Best for a Romantic Setting: The Red Bicycle 

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Santorini is known for its romance, and a lot of restaurants in the area feed off of that, but the Red Bicycle really set the tone. The restaurant looks quaint from the outside. An adorable sign complete with a red bicycle hangs on top a couple of stairs. Once you walk through the doors however, you are transformed to one of those views that looks like it was painted in the sky. The giant veranda extends over to views of the Mediterranean and the deep red rock of the Caldera in the distance. As the sun sinks down, the colours ignite the sky. Bright pinks and purples light up your table. Views aside, the food is what you truly come here for. Chef Gikas Xenakis not only produces beautiful looking dishes but also beautiful tasting combinations. From the eggplant puree, to the famous lamb shoulder, you cannot go wrong. It is the best spot in Santorini to grab a glass of wine and take in the sunset with your loved one.

Best View : Sunset Ammoudi Tavern

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Santorini is famous for its sunsets, so why not grab yourself a front row seat to watch the magic unfold. Sunset Ammoudi is located down the winding stairs of Ammoudi Bay. The restaurant itself is carved into the red volcanic rock, and because of its locations, it offers the clearest view to the west. Try and arrive early to get a seat right on the water. The restaurant was opened by a local fisherman, so their speciality is the fresh seafood. Try the lobster pasta and then sit back, relax, and watch the sunset unfold in front of your eyes.

Best Sharing Menu : Melitini 

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This little tapas restaurant in the heart of Oia came highly recommended by the locals, so you know it has to be delicious. This was actually the first tapas that served traditional Greek food in the town. All of the food and drinks are local and fresh. Despite the tasty treats, you also have a stunning view. Their upstairs patio looks directly onto the Caldera. The sharing portions are the perfect sign and the best part is the food isn’t just traditional but also affordable.

Best “Off the Beaten Path” Restaurant: Vineyart

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This restaurant is the perfect spot if you are looking for something a little different. While most restaurants in Santorini focus on romance, this one has more of a funky feel. No view of the Caldera, instead you get to truly explore local art and food. It is located off the main road, tucked away in a quaint corner of Oia. While the menu is small, everything is sourced locally from Santorini from their food items to their wine. Try their traditional Greek salad, topped with hand made olive oil while exploring their exterior decoration. Santorini vines take over the walls and tables. Once you have finished your meal, stop into their downstairs art gallery where local artists work hangs from the wall.

Want to see more of Santorini? Well here you go

Mia goes M.I.A: Making the most of a short trip

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Trying to explore a country but don’t have a lot of time? Well I have some tips for you About 9 years ago I took the trip of a lifetime with my best friend. Two weeks exploring eight countries in Europe. As you can imagine 14 days and 8 countries didn’t leave us a lot of time to explore the beauties of each one but instead get little sample sizes.

Yet despite being in some of the most beautiful places in the world like Switzerland or Austria for approximately 24 hours, we truly made the most of each experience and had the opportunity to see some of the main attractions these countries had to offer. We also had a chance to experience local culture and lifestyle. Planning a short trip? Here are some of my tips on how to make the most of your time.

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1) Have a game plan 

When we were in Rome for less than 48 hours we wanted to see the Vatican, Roman Forum, and the Colosseum, seems like a lot right? Not if you plan ahead. We bought skip the line passes ahead of time. Despite going on a busy Saturday, we waited less than 20 minutes.

If you have some “must not miss” places on your list, plan ahead. See if you can skip the line, or if there are tours because they will always get priority access. Try and research to see if some attractions or places are less busy early in the morning or late afternoon. That will save you time which is precious when you are on a short trip.

2) Don’t be afraid to go with the flow

When we were in Paris for one night, I really wanted to see the Eifel Tower sparkle at night time, but my friend didn’t want to spend our whole 20 hours at the tower, so we compromised. We climbed the tower during the day and saw some stunning views of the city, and at night time we went to see a show at the Moulin Rouge. The show was incredible and I really got to experience even more of the Parisian culture in a short time.

Things are always going to come up, whether it’s a group disagreement, closures, or bad weather. Be ready to not get your way especially if you are only there for a few days. Instead make the most of what you do get to experience.  Hey, if you didn’t get to see the Eifel Tower sparkle, just means you will have to take another trip to Paris someday. At least that is what I tell my boyfriend.

3) Don’t Rush 

You aren’t going to see everything, unless you have found a way to clone yourself (If so, show me your ways). For example, when I was in Amsterdam I really wanted to see both the Anne Frank House or the Van Gogh Museum. Instead of rushing through the museums in hopes of seeing both, we decided that Anne Frank was more up our alley. We were really able to explore the entire museum, listen to our guide, and appreciate the history. I was so glad we had a chance to explore one museum to the fullest.

When you have a limited time, you may feel the need to rush around town in hopes of seeing everything, but if you do that, you won’t really het to see anything. By making compromises you will really get to enjoy what you do see. You will get to truly explore and learn about the areas that you do make time for.

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4) Logistics, logistics, logistics 

On our trip, my friend and I made sure we took the first train or bus out every morning. This ensured we would have a full day and night exploring cities.  We purchased our tickets ahead of time, and would check to make sure everything was on time. When you have a short amount of time every minute is precious, and you don’t want delayed transportation to affect your trip.

Make sure to do your homework ahead of time. Make sure everything is running on schedule and what will be the quickest way to get to your next destination or attraction you are visiting. The more you know before you go, the less time will be wasted on figuring things out.

5) City tours are your friend

When we were in London for just two days we decided to plan a trip on a hop on hop off bus. We had a chance to see all the major attractions like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, etc. in only a few hours. Plus we had a knowledgeable tour guide giving us information.

With so much to see and do in such a short time period, it’s nice to have someone else do the work. They know the best routes and the history. You get to sit back, relax, and take all the pictures your finger can handle.

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6) Plan to return 

There is an old myth that if you throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain in Rome you will return there one day. I made sure to do that because a day and a half in Rome was just not enough, and guess what, I will be going back there this summer and I cannot wait.

The best part of a short trip is you get a little taste of what the incredible city has to offer, and it just makes you want to come back for the whole meal. You get to see which parts you really loved, and find out more about cities that you would love to go back and visit for a longer time. Let’s just say it is an appetizer ahead of a main course.

I hope these tips help you plan a short trip of your own. No matter how much time you have, you can make the most of any vacation and get a glimpse of the beauty this world has to offer. So get out and explore. Bonne Voyage!

Mia goes M.I.A: Why Traveling with your BFF is the Best

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 5.32.21 PMAs I was looking through some old pictures, I came across some gems from a trip I took back in 2009 with my best friend. We did a European adventure of a life time, 12 days,  8 countries, countless memories.

The reason for this trip was a last hurrah together before we both went off to university. I was moving from Canada to the US for my studies and knew that time with my childhood friend would be limited. This was a time to really get to appreciate each other’s company.

At first I was a little nervous for this journey. We had never travelled before and I had heard horror stories of friendships ending over a bad travel experience. The trip started off in the airport with my dear friend throwing clothes, underwear, and shoes on the ground because her bag was way overweight. It was only later in the trip did we realize her toothbrush did not make the cut.

Yet it seemed our airport scramble was the only really hiccup we had in our near two-week adventure.

We traveled from Toronto to London to Amsterdam to Munich, to Austria, to Switzerland, to Italy (with stops in Venice, Florence, and Rome) to Paris, back to London. We saw the colosseum, the Eifel Tower, The Louvre, The Big Ben, The Vatican, The Red Light District, and the list goes on.

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We laughed at cows being herded in the morning, we cried at Vimy Ridge, we danced on the streets of Munich and drank in their beer halls. But most importantly we helped each other through the lost cell phones, misunderstood languages, and we compromised on activities vs relaxation. If anything this trip actually made our friendship stronger by proving we can survive two weeks together, with no escape, in a foreign land

Needless to say that trip was an unforgettable experience. Not only did I have the opportunity to experience some of the most beautiful landmarks in Europe, but I had the chance to share these once in a life time moment with my best friend.

And so I decided to share with you all why I feel it is important to take that trip with your best friend, even if it scares the heck out of you.

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  • Your BFF will have the patience to take a million billion pictures so that you can get the perfect Instagram shot
  • Speaking of a million pictures, you have someone who is willing to do the totally ridiculous touristy things you are supposed to do in pictures.
  • Any tough challenge you may face, you know you have your biggest support system with you, and the two of you will get through it together
  • Besties usually have similar interests meaning you can explore those interests together
  • And if you don’t have similar interests you care enough about each other to compromise. I will always go see a musical with Randi and she will always come to sports game with me.
  • Traveling feels safer when you have someone with you to look out for you. Your BFF will always have your back
  • You create life-long memories together. In fact, our friends still hate it when we bring up an inside joke from our Europe adventures.
  • Experiencing these moments whether it be the beauty of the world, or the struggles of not understanding the language, it brings you closer together (plus small shared hotel rooms makes you talk out any problems)

So get out there, see the world, and why not share it with your Best Friend by your side!

Xo

Mia

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