travel

S A N T O R I N I 

Jan. 23, 2017, 2:13 p.m.

here

OIA


Santorini is truly heaven on earth! Before we travelled to the island we did our research on where we should stay and what we should do so that we don't miss out on anything. our first stop was Oia, the town furthest away from the Santorini airport. We rented a car as it's the easiest and fastest way to get around the island. So after checking in to our beautiful villa we immediately headed out to explore Oia before sunset. The main thing you must see is the 'famous three dome church'... this was very important to me as that was one of the main reasons I wanted to visit Santorini. I shared a picture of the church on my instagram a year ago capturing it 'dream destination' and I was thrilled that I was a few steps away from actually seeing it myself. It's very easy to miss the church because you get caught up in the breath taking sceneries and the charming streets and you almost want to stop at every corner to take a picture! I'll give you a few tips on how to find the famous church...




Ahhh! Finally after months of dreaming to visit Santorini I was finally standing in front of the three dome church and it's  honestly even more beautiful and serene in person. When you check in to your hotel ask the reception for a map, they mostly likely will give you one and explain  how to get to places but its easy to miss certain land marks. Once you get to the center of the shopping area with a cathedral behind you take a right. There are a couple of blue dome churches so don't get confused, once you pass a church to your left a few feet ahead you have a small steep bend to your left. When you walk down it you noticed the amazing view and the famous church to your right and I don't know how well to describe this but it's overwhelming and just beautiful!

 

(view from top of Oia castle ruin)


Oia's castle ruin is the main spot to catch Santorini's sunset as it's one of the highest spots on the island (apart from the castle in Kamari). Most of the tourist are taken to the castle to experience one of the worlds best sunsets. We decided to avoid the crowd and to visit the castle during the day and it has one of the best views you can get of Oia.




CRUISES & SUNSETS



Since we decided to avoid the sunset on the castle we decided to catch it on a cruise instead. There are a couple of cruises that are available online but this was the one that caught our attention! This is the first time I've been on a catamaran and it was so exciting! The cruise takes you pass the red beach, the white beach, the main light house, hot springs and the volcano. You can also chose between the snack menu or the buffet menu, we chose the buffet menu as it includes traditional greek food that is cooked freshly onboard with unlimited wine and beverages!

 

(Red Beach)

(White Beach)


After we passed the red beach we stopped near the white beach for a bit to snorkle. It was terrifying because I had never been snorkeling before and they literally took us to the middle of the ocean! I always thought snorkeling would be in some what shallow waters? My sister and I decided that we were just going to jump in and live in the moment, who knows when I'll be in Santorini again on a catamaran snorkelling? I have to say that it was one of the best experiences of my life and now I can't wait to snorkel again! The last spot is the hot springs where you can take another dip in the ocean while the food and BBQ is being prepared, other boats come to this spot as well and theres music playing and the vibe is so nice. If you do visit Santorini and you're looking for a cruise and you don't feel sea sick, this is the company that took very good care of us. Check it out here



(Hot Springs)



IMEROVIGLI


All these towns are walking distance from each other, you can tour the whole of Santorini in just one day! I came across this restaurant online and I really wanted to give it a try based on the reviews I read of this place. The food was amazing and the portions are so generous that my sister and I had to order appetizers to avoid wasting food! A traditional dish you must try out if you ever visit is the fried tomato balls, I sometimes crave for this when I'm home...


(View From The Restaurant)



KAMARI

Each town had its own charm to it but Kamari would have to be my least favorite. Even though it's the shopping district at Santorini I fell in love with the rest of the island more. We visited the beach, we drove up to the castle for the sunset and we even went to an underground wine museum where they teach you how wine was discovered and made on the island and theres even a wine tasting session afterwards of wines that are only found in Santorini! 




FIRA


Fira was our last stop in Santorini and its just as beautiful as the other towns I loved. We roamed the streets late in the night, restaurant hopping to find whats suppose to be traditional Greek street food called Gyros. The streets are narrow and filled with little shops on either side, it reminded me of the streets in Venice. The people are so friendly and always ready to help and guide you incase you get lost. We bought a couple of souvenirs and I was on the hunt for volcanic rocks.




Gyros is almost like the Shawarma we have in Abu Dhabi, even when I watched them make it how they cut the meat and wrapped it up is the similar preparation to shawarma. I couldn't try one of these because there were only meat options but my sister said that they were delicious. So make sure to try one of these as well or souvlaki.




These are some of my tips if your planning to visit Santorini. We also visited in the beginning of October and the locals said we picked the perfect time to visit because early October the crowds are less and the weather is just perfect! I will be posting more photos of my trip on my Instagram, click the icon on the top right of the page to follow me and to stay updated with more pictures. I hope everyone is having a great week so far!


Love,

Plate




YAS ISLAND

Jan. 11, 2017, 12:29 p.m.

Yas Island is a man made island located in Abu Dhabi and is super easy to reach by car, boat or plane. I visit Yas a lot because I live close to it and it's one of my favorite places to hangout in Abu Dhabi. All of the amusement parks and water parks are located on the island along with the formula 1 race track - Yas Marina Circuit.



This is the Yas marina circuit where the Abu Dhabi grand prix is held. World famous racers Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo have driven on these tracks. We sometimes love driving to the Viceroy to watch some of the races that happen on regular basic. The main racers happen in the month of November every year and its super exciting because that's when most of the artists come to Abu Dhabi and perform for FREE! I remember a few years ago I was front row with my friends for a free Sean Paul concert on the beach and it was such an amazing night!



While we were hanging around in Yas of course we had to have something to eat. There is this amazing Vietnamese restaurant few minutes away and my father recommended it to us so we decided to check it out! We ordered a couple of lemon ice teas, an apricot chiller, spring rolls and traditional Vietnamese stir fried noodles. It was so so good and dad decided to have steam rice and duck.




After doing a couple of rounds through Yas island we decided to stop at Centro hotel for a quick tea break. After that we walked to Radisson Blu where there is a place that has the best fruit tarts and I can't get enough of it! It's not your usual fruit tart, these are loaded and toped with fruits and the custard is so creamy! One can fill your tummy up for the entire evening so make sure you try them out if your in the area.



If you guys ever visit Abu Dhabi or Yas feel free to send me a message on my blog and I would be happy to help you out with any travel tips! Signing off my last post for 2016... This new year I'm going to be spending it with my loved ones like every other new year, even though I'll be in a hospital cause family is the most important thing to me. I hope you guys have an amazing year ahead and enjoy all your celebrations! Stay safe & blessed.


Love,

Plate





ATHENS - GREECE

Jan. 8, 2017, 3:24 p.m.



Traveling to Greece had been on my bucket list for about a year or two, so my family and I decided to make a quick trip to Athens and Santorini when my sister got her break from uni. Breakfast on Etihad airways is one of my favorite meals. I always order the scrambled eggs and give the sausages to my sister as I am a pescatarian but I can't get enough of the mushrooms and hash brown that come with it!



I was excited for this trip and took the initiative of doing most of the planning. Since we didn't have much time in Athens because we wanted to have a longer stay in Santorini I decided that a bus tour would be the best way to tour around Athens in a day. The first thing I noticed about the city was all the yellow taxis. Down every street, every corner there were so many which makes it convinent if you do want to tour Athens by cab.



Since we were in Athens for a very short stay I decided that a bus tour by hop on - hop off would be the best and have the next day to relax and enjoy the city. We took the Red bus tour as it suited our plans the best! They have a few more like the blue bus and yellow bus tour that takes you to different locations and one of the tours is for kids as well. Online you can purchase a ticket for 17 euro a person but our purchase didn't go through online and we ended up getting it from our hotel lobby for 25 euro, so I recommend you buy the tickets for the bus tour online and save yourself a couple of euros. A bus passes by each location every 15 minutes so you may choose to get off at any stop for as long as you desire. The tour runs until 7pm and I think we went on it three times haha! www.hop-on-hop-off-bus.com 



One of the main reasons why my sister and I wanted to visit Athens was to see the Parthenon which was a former temple in Greece for goddess Athena who was considered a Patron. From the top of the the temple you have an amazing view of mountains to your left and the city to your right and it's such an amazing scenery of the city. 





Traveling is our family hobby and we truly love exploring and learning about how ancient ruins were built and hear all the stories behind it. The parthenon has an amazing charm and ambience to the place you could just sit there and feel the wind and enjoy the view for hours! 




The tour took us to 15 different locations and after being on the bus for several hours a traditional greek meal was a deffinete must! Right in the heart of city square we discovered a beautiful street full of restaurants on either side offering different menus of greek food, sea food to meats and wraps. Of course we had to start off with a greek salad and I'm not too sure about the Greek term but its called fried cheese where three kinds of cheese are used to make one big block of cheese and it's so good! I think it's called saganaki.



Another popular thing you would see while walking down the streets of Athens is the street art. I managed to snap one picture from the bus tour but there is so much graffiti and it adds character and charm to the city. 



These are some of the important photos from Athens if I uploaded every picture this would probably be the longest post by any blogger. My favorite things about the city are the amazing people who are so humble, helpful and friendly. That's the first thing I noticed and fell in love with, the locals. My second favorite thing about Athens was the food and Plate loves food! Every dish I ordered was so delicious, affordable and generous! Greek food has to be one of my favorite cuisines now. We also went in the beginning of October which maybe why we  loved it so much because it was less crowded and the weather was just perfect for long walks or long bus tours. My last favorite thing about Athens was the fact I was there with my family, my travel buddies. Couldn't have imagined a more eventful trip if I didn't go with them.




I can't wait to visit Greece some day soon again. From all the countries I've visited it's definitely in my top 5. Hope you guys are having an amazing start to 2017! I will do a post of my Greece holiday in Santorini and I'm still trying to tell myself that I don't need to post every single picture I took in Santorini haha! But before that I will be doing another haul and travel post of Sri Lanka. Hope this post was helpful to some of you. Stay blessed x


Love,

Plate