mascaras meet the mediterranean, part seven: a Grecian adventure.

Another country, another sunrise!  After a day at sea, we arrived in Santorini, Greece on the seventh day of our Mediterranean cruise.  

We had an early excursion called the Hot Springs Tour, so we got dressed in beach wear and met with our tour group.  The ship was tendered, so we got picked up by a smaller boat that looked like a pirate ship and set out to sea.  

We passed the volcano that actually created the island of Santorini, and admired the gorgeous views from the boat.  

When our tour guide told us we were getting off on the volcano and climbing to the top, we felt a little, umm, unprepared!  Nowhere in our itinerary did it say anything about hiking up a volcano, which is the reason I wore flip flops.  Several other people in our tour group were in the same boat (ha!) as me, so I didn't feel quite as stupid for wearing sandals.  The soil was a bit rocky (read: painful) but we were in Greece and there was no way I was going to miss out on climbing to the top of an active volcano.  

We took in the views of Santorini and the sea, learned a little about the history of Greece, and after about an hour we were at the top. It was hot, smelled of sulfur, and was quite a workout, but it was worth it.  I'll let the views speak for themselves.

Proof that the volcano is still active: you could actually see steam coming out of the craters, and it was really hot if you put your hand near it.  

No wonder it smelled like sulfur...

The hike back down was much quicker and slightly slippery, but we survived!  We got back on the boat and headed to our next destination: the hot spring.  The boat parked a few hundred feet away, and we jumped in the sea and swam to the spring.  

The spring itself wasn't as warm as we expected, it was more like little pockets of warmth that would move around.  You know when you feel a warm spot in a lake and worry that someone just peed there?  That's what it felt like!  Not as luxurious as it sounds.  The water was really glittery and red because there was so much iron in it.  It actually stayed on our skin when we got out which was a little gross.  Honestly I much preferred the swim TO the hot spring more than I enjoyed actually being in the hot spring, but overall it was a fun and totally new experience for both of us.  And the views from the spring weren't too shabby either.

I would definitely recommend taking a hot springs tour in Santorini if you can!  
After the tour we went back to the ship and showered (we were sweaty and covered in iron!) and then took a tender boat over to the island.  We took the cable car up to Fira, which was an adventure in itself.  We feared for our lives a little and prayed that the engineers that built those little cars up the side of the cliff knew what they were doing.  We tried not to look down, but we couldn't resist.  

Thankfully we made it up safe and sound!

We ate lunch at probably one of the most touristy restaurants in Santorini, but we were starving and it was one of the first places we saw.  I had the stuffed tomatoes and peppers and have been craving them every day since!  They were delicious.  My husband (I still don't get sick of saying that) had the Greek sampler, which came with a stuffed tomato, moussaka, and some kind of potatoes, all of which were also good.  I should know, I sampled all of it.

When our tummies were full we walked around and peeked into some of the gift shops in search for souvenirs and gifts.  We wanted to walk to the black sand beaches, but we didn't have a map or much time left and it was starting to rain.  So instead we walked off the beaten path a bit to take in a little more of the Grecian scenery.

Then it was time to head back to the boat.  We thought about taking a donkey down the cliff, but we felt so bad for the poor little guys we couldn't bear to make them carry us down!  So back to the deathly cable cars it was.

We made it down alive, and hitched a tender boat back to the ship.  We said goodbye to Santorini knowing that we will be back again someday.  It was one of our favorite places we've ever visited.


married life crisis.

Okay, so maybe it's not a crisis, but after planning our wedding and getting married, I've began to gain interest in topics other than weddings. Shocking, isn't it?  To feed my desire to plan, craft, cook, and in general just write about things other than weddings, I started a new blog!  Not to worry, I'll still be filling you in with all the details of our honeymoon (I'm almost done I swear) and of course the wedding here at a small town bride, and I hope to continue sharing other wedding-related topics on this site in the future!  But I would love it if you stopped by my new blog, bijou lovely, to say hi and hopefully you'll like it enough to continue reading in the future!  Merci my lovelies!


mascaras meet the mediterranean, part six: pompeii and naples.

After spending time in Florence and Rome, we continued down the coast and arrived in Naples. We took yet another tour bus to the ancient city of Pompeii.

Here are a few things we learned while exploring:

1. The city was buried under ash after Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, and was rediscovered in 1748. You can see Mt. Vesuvius in the background of most of the pictures.
2. The bodies that were buried under the ash can be made into molds and poured to resemble the shape of the people that were buried. Creepy? Yes. Kind of cool? Also yes.3. Pompeii in September is HOT. No shade + lots of sun = redness + thirst. Sunscreen and water are your friends.4. These street names go way back. They used pictures of people and animals instead of words (the marble tile was added later).5. Speaking of animals, there are plenty of them wandering around the streets of Pompeii, in the form of stray dogs. They will really like you if you give them a drink of water.6. Some people in Pompeii were rich. So rich they had houses that were the size of a city block with gardens inside of them.7. Fast food is not a new concept. This is the ancient version of a fast food restaurant. I wonder where they made the fries?8. I'm glad I'm alive in 2009 instead of 79 AD, or I'd consider this a toilet.9. The Pompeiians (if that's the right word?) knew how to build! There were tons of artifacts and ruins to look at. We didn't even get to go through the whole city and we were there for about 4 hours.
10. Pompeii is a beautiful place to visit!

Naples had some lessons for us as well:

1. It is okay to give up after walking several miles if you still cannot find the restaurant that your travel guide recommends. The random restaurant you walk pass while searching will probably be better anyway. If you find this restaurant, eat there. Trust me.
2. Caprese salad is always the best kind of salad.

3. It should not be assumed that pizzas in Naples are meant to be eaten individually even though they are only 6 euro. It should be assumed, however, that the pizzas will be the most delicious pizzas you will ever eat in your life, so you will be happy when you don't have to share!
4. Naples is a dirty city. And it's a little scary. Most buildings, even the old churches have graffiti on them. Here are a few of the prettier places we saw while trying to find our restaurant...

We definitely gained some valuable knowledge on our trip to Naples and Pompeii. Next up, we're off to the beautiful island of Santorini, Greece!