Santorini, Greece

I’m excited to share with you all this post on our recent trip to Santorini, Greece. It is, as you can see, one of the most romantic places in Europe – maybe even the world, and rightfully so. The famous whitewashed cave-houses by the cliffside of this beautiful volcano island, resting in the middle of the blue Aegean are surely hard to resist for all lovebirds out there. And it doesn’t help that it’s in a land known for excellent food and exquisite wine – it just makes me wonder why I had waited this long to come to Greece!

Some time last year, an old friend of Joan’s had told us she wanted to come over to Berlin to visit us and to do a mini tour of Europe together. She had brought her wife, who had never been to Europe before, and they flew in all the way from LA. Their goal was to see Europe so I cooked up a travel plan to let them see as much as possible in the one week they were to stay here. This is where my madness kicked in…

Getting there:

The island of Santorini has one airport big enough to accommodate only a handful of flights a day. I did not find a direct flight from Berlin to Santorini so I took the opportunity to get creative – sending us all over Europe.

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All this from Saturday to Thursday. I told my colleagues about this plan (since the nature of our work involves a LOT of travel planning) and they thought I was crazy. Maybe I was, but these destinations were carefully picked out. Our guests wanted a city break somewhere in Spain so I made that happen, choosing the beautiful city of Barcelona. They left Saturday early in the morning to make the most of the day. I did not join them until Sunday night – before leaving for Santorini – because I had already been to Barcelona two years ago and I did not want to miss work for too long because summer time is always high season in our industry.

So on that faithful Sunday in summer, I started work at 5 AM and from there I went straight to the airport to catch my flight going to Barcelona to meet with my wife and our friends. I got there at 8 PM and realised I hadn’t eaten anything since I woke up at 3 AM. Our flight wasn’t until late, around 11 PM and we had plenty of time to grab a bite and chat. It’s my first time officially meeting them so it was a great time to get to know each other over card games. When we got to the aircraft, I finally got some shut eye for maybe one collective hour until we landed in Santorini at around 3 AM the next day. We picked up our rental car and looked around for food. Good thing we found a bakery nearby – apparently those are open 24h a day.

Since it was still much too early to check into our Airbnb, we all watched the sunrise together at Kamari Beach.


Most of the breakfast places did not open until 8 AM so we drove around a little bit until then. We chose this place called Galini Café, which we had found thanks to Foursquare. It offered a beautiful vista and a rich breakfast.


It was not too early for the local desert wine.

We hit the shops after our meal and then it was finally time for our Airbnb, which was located in Fira. So on the way there, we couldn’t help but notice the many ATV rentals and we all decided to rent two of those, one for each couple. For the rest of the day we were driving around on those, forgetting about the small confinement of our car.

And they’re great for when you want to enjoy the view around you.

Red Beach

We just dropped our stuff off at the Airbnb and got ready for the beach. I must say, the beach is not the highlight of this island. I’ve heard of plenty of great beaches all over Greece but Santorini isn’t the place if you’re looking for fine, white sand. We hit Red Beach, which is black and partially pebbly, but it looks really gorgeous nonetheless.


Though the water did not show any plastic wastes, it had brought a lot of sea weed residue ashore which got in the way of a nice swim in the open water. We decided to go back to Kamari beach later on since it’s also the closest one to home. This beach is very pebbly but the water was clean.

Late afternoon we went back home and had our take-out dinner there. Our Airbnb was at a holiday apartment complex with a private pool so we had a night swim there until we finally called it a day – and what a long one!


The next day we finally went to Oia – the very place seen on all those postcards, a honeymooners’ haven. We looked for a place that served breakfast at yet another terrace with a great view and it took us to Skiza Café.

By now anyone would have noticed an abundance of Freddo Cappuccino (iced cappuccino, Greek style, on the right) on the island. Regular Greek coffee is also a yummy alternative to espresso.



Bougainvillea on plain white houses will only ever remind you of Greece, don’t you think?
Byzantine Ruins in Oia




We spent the rest of the day buying souvenirs in Oia, going back to Kamari beach, and having dinner at a Taverna. It was a short stay on this island but it felt like just enough time to get to know it. I didn’t think there was much else to see on the island itself, but there were a handful of excursions to the neighbouring islands, or to the volcano, that are being offered by many tour operators on the island.


Next stop  Rome!

The Corrs live in Berlin 2016

“I wanted to tell her that being loved is a talent too, that it takes as much guts and as much work as loving; that some people, for whatever reason, never learn the knack”

– Tana French, The Likeness

Trigger Warning: LOVE (and sappiness overload)

On one of those rather slow days at work earlier this year, I so happened to check out some upcoming concert schedules in the area. I do this maybe 2-3 times a year so, sometimes, I actually miss out on some artists I really wanted to see. This time, though, I nearly fell off my seat because the universe seemed to have conspired for this to happen. Firstly, there was a schedule for The Corrs live in Berlin. Secondly, tickets just went on sale and decent seats were still available. Lastly, my wife was having her birthday in a few weeks.

Don’t get me wrong here, I wasn’t excited for myself. I’m not the one who plays old mixed CD’s with their songs in the car, nor am I the one who knows all the members’ first names. I only really know them from, well, the world of pop music where you tend to know all of the songs without actually knowing them. My knowledge was limited to the fact that they’re siblings, that they’re a really talented bunch, and that I sing some of their songs from time to time. If you’d ask me, I’d say I like pretty much everything that came out at a time when life was just so much easier.

But, again, this had little to do with me. I was just really proud of my find so I had to tell her about it right away. I had thought about giving the tickets to her as a surprise but surprises mean secrets and I just can’t keep a secret from her to save my life so I just told her and, surely, she was stoked.

Now, it’s been more than a week since the concert and I am still a little overwhelmed by all the amount of feels I have. I swear I had a slight meltdown when they finally performed Runaway (my favourite among their songs, I guess). I mean, it’s kind of a really sappy song and I was already in a really sappy situation where I just did my wife a solid in making her watch the people she had followed all these years perform live. I was kind of a mess, really. Sometimes, somewhere in between being a selfish, narcissistic bitch, I forget how much I actually desire to make another person happy and realise how much I fear I am not doing it well.

Ahh… But, you see, I stay in character by going on and on about myself, again. *winks*

I guess I’m just gonna have to try harder in making her just about as happy as she had been that night, every single day and for the rest of our lives. ❤

Stockholm in Winter

Stockholm – Beauty on Water, so they say. In winter, it is partially on ice.

In this post, I talk about the highlights of our recent trip to Stockholm and share with you what it is like to travel there during winter.

On saving money

I make a very detailed itinerary whenever we travel and we try our best to stick to it. I plan ahead most of our activities just in case we would have to book them early and also to gain insight on into how much we would have to spend while we’re away. So when we went to Stockholm last February for my wife’s birthday, we already had an idea on what we would be doing there, how to get to where we want to go, and approx. how much it would cost us. Here are some of our activities and bookings sorted by date and at the end of each are the prices.

February 24, 2016

We’ve booked our flights as early as November. We took a low-fare flight with Norwegian from Berlin SXF and arrived in Stockholm-Arlanda airport before midnight. From there, we took the airport shuttle going to the city. I found this very convenient because there’s a bus leaving every 15 minutes and they had WIFI on board. The ride took about 40 minutes. The place we were to stay at, an Airbnb, was in Fredhäll – just a few minutes away from the Central Station by subway or “T-bana”.

Shuttle from ARN to City Center (per person per trip): 99 SEK or ca. 10 €

The Airbnb we rented was a two-bedroom apartment owned by an artist, and we got the whole place to ourselves since she was on a holiday with her family at the time. This was our view from the balcony when we arrived:


February 25, 2016

So on this day we went to see The Royal Palace mostly because it seemed necessary . It was a short tour of the palace, The Royal Apartments, and The Royal Treasury. After that, we rode the SkyView, which is a spherical gondola that goes up and down the Ericsson Globe for a 360° view of the city. We booked our tickets online to avoid a queue but it being a Thursday afternoon in winter, we were among only a handful of tourists.

The Royal Palace entrance fee (per person): 150 SEK or ca. 15 €
Ericsson Globe SkyView entrance fee (per person): 150 SEK or ca. 15 €


The view from the top of the Globe wasn’t too impressive since there aren’t a lot of recognisable landmarks on the city’s skyline from where we stood but it was such a beautiful day and that helped a lot in making it a pleasurable 30 minute ride.

February 26, 2016

On this day, we met up with a friend who has been living in Stockholm for about a year now. She took us to a place called Skansen, which is an open-air museum that exhibits rural culture of Sweden. It is located on a hilltop and it’s also home to some local animals of Sweden like lynxes, wolverines, seals, elks, and more. Again, this place was nearly empty given the season but one can easily see it turning into a beautiful green area on the warmer days. It was her treat to us but entrance fee during winter is 100 SEK or ca. 10 € per person.

February 27, 2016

One shouldn’t miss this activity when visiting Stockholm. Given the city’s topography, one of the best ways to see more of the place is by boat. So for this day’s activity, we chose to book the Brunch Cruise offered by Strömma. It’s a three-hour cruise going to Vaxholm and back to Östermalm and is only available on weekends. Early booking is recommended. The weather on this day was gorgeous! It was sunny and the sky was clear. The highlight of this cruise, though, was the brunch buffet that served a variety of Swedish specialties like smoked salmon and, of course, Köttbullar (meatballs). The price is 465 SEK or ca. 47 € per person which includes a table for your party, all you can eat brunch from the buffet and the three-hour cruise itself. The price is quite shocking at first sight but, if you think about it, dining out in Stockholm is rather expensive and considering this was our breakfast, lunch, and half of our dinner, I’d say it’s a fair price.

Brunch Cruise: 465 SEK or ca. 47 €

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Too bad we did not have more time to walk around Stockholm but we’ll be back, for sure.

More on saving money

As I’ve already mentioned in a previous post, one reason why we book an Airbnb rather than a hotel room is so we don’t have to spend too much on food. Sure, we splurge a little for a local dining experience but we had most of our meals at “home”. We always make sure to hit the grocery stores at the beginning of our stay (which, by the way, can also be quite an experience if you are in any way interested in knowing what the local people are eating on an ordinary day).

Maybe on our next adventures I will try to give a more detailed recollection of our trip with more ways on how to save or, rather, not spend so much and weigh some more practical options. But that’s it for the mean time!