Rewind 2016

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There’s a sweet noise on the small crowded streets surrounded by flats in all colors of the rainbow and there’s a smell of pizza and oven baked goods coming from all around and all you can hear is Italian words and the face of Gianni, that Italian elderly owner of a traditional pizzeria makes you feel strangely at home. We celebrated the coming of 2017 in Naples, Capri and Procida and as we look forward with curiosity and anxiousness to the year to come we look back with wonder and we are grateful for an incredible 2016

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with leprechauns, Irish pubs and songs, Guinness beer and trips to the Titanic in Dublin and Belfast

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Scandinavian snow, perfect muffins, athletic people going out to ski by metro in Oslo

12744163_818590741602818_1679290715306204204_ntraditions, family time, colorful clothes, days of joy and celebrations at our best friend’s wedding in Jaipur, meeting up with old friends for precious stolen moments of happiness

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Milan Duomo, pizza and pasta with a heavenly taste, espresso, chilling in parks, polenta, discovery of the Navigli area

img_20160520_152111img_20160520_191659wandering the shores of Como Lake and enjoying breathtaking views of Brunate in Comoimg_20160521_095903unexpected trips to Sighisoara and Brasov

img_20160507_211445_edit_edit1beer gardens, charming coffee shops, Berlin wall, relaxing parks, strolls amongst restaurants and pubs of all nationalities just to charm any food lover in Berlin

img_20160815_180024_hdrbeach days and live music at the Black Sea

img_20160730_163533_editday trip to Negotin, Serbia just to have one Serbian beer

img_20160722_142418pagodas, Shan food, night markets and organized street quarters in Yangon

img_0518img_20160918_122523_editboat trips, traditional rowing fishermen, floating markets and lifetime friends in Inle Lake

img_20160920_084311img_0533sunset, sunrise, pagodas, temples and history in Bagan

img_0869img_0884gold leafs, temples, the best Shan food, monks, longest wooden bridge in Mandalay

img_20160924_141903img_20160924_172918the Grand Palace, new friends, live music, sweet memories, Same Same t-shirts and the best foot massage in Bangkok

img_20160926_135550_edit_editdays of shared thoughts, incredible views, swims, beach strolls, Rum Cola in the charming solitary Duli Beach resort in Philippines, El Nido

img_1254img_1294days of chilling and relaxing in Jaipur and Delhi making plans for future adventures

img_20161114_231850_editRoyal Palaces, Christmas trees, pierogi, beetroot soup, large café latte, Christmas markets in Warsaw

15349820_1019346348193922_3613498593471740022_nChristmas market madness in Bucharest with the view of the Parliament House, hot spiced wine and the best atmosphere to wish for

15380714_1020952261366664_6606025568305505877_n15492319_1025481797580377_6451251349531931751_nChristmas parties with memories of childhood and priceless friends

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family and friends time colored in green, flowery, sunny, snowy surroundings to adapt to the seasons but at all times packed with an overload of joy and happiness to last for a lifetime

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Past year has thought us that we are never alone as we carry with us all the family and friends, present or past, imprinted on our skin and it takes nothing more than closing our eyes for one second to feel them all around us. We’ve lost good friends and gained new friends and family just to remind us one more time of how precious every day we receive is and that it’s up to us to not let it waste and fully live every single second of it. We hope in a happy and peaceful 2017, a year of expressing less and feeling more, of being true to ourselves and the others, of taking leaps of faith without a net, of putting dreams into reality today rather than tomorrow, of carefully using the chance given at each and every new day, of still wondering at everything around, new or old, beautiful or less beautiful, of searching for more balance in life, of still believing.

Santorini or as close as it gets to heaven …

When planning the trip to Greece one of my friends told me that the phrase that best describes Greece is “belle view” because when you travel around this amazing country you just have to turn around and you will be for sure surrounded by a view that will still your heart away…well I have to admit that Greece was exactly like this with a cherry on top…
Sunset in Oia…
Our “to do list” in Greece included Santorini.  Frankly speaking I had no idea what we were supposed to visit or see or do.  All I knew about this island was that it took its name from Saint Irina (as given by the Venetians in the thirteen century), that it was somehow related to a volcano and that it should have some blue and white churches that seemed to appear on all the dreamy wallpapers.
Santorini (Thira) is a Greek island part of the Ciclades.  A small island (96 km long) with around 11,500 inhabitants, Santorini is annually the home away from home for around half million visitors.  How can such a small island fit so many tourists and so many dreams that it’s still a mystery to discover.
 
We arrived to Santorini by boat from Crete in a more than sunny August day.  First contact with the island started with jumping on a bus that was supposed to take us to our hotel and with the smallest van we have ever seen packed up with young tourists on their away to a local hostel.
In order to understand my first impression of Santorini I have to tell you that I am the type of traveler that likes busy trips with lots of sightseeing and jumping between planes, trains, buses and squeezing in as much as interesting places to see as possible.
Imagine my surprise when I got off the bus in Perissa and turned around and so nothing else than a few hidden houses, arid land, sand and green just enough not to be in the dessert.  What to do for six days stuck on an island?  The best thing to do while in Santorini is to give up all the sightseeing plans, chill out, lay down and experience the Greek island way of leaving life.
 
People
Like all Greeks, Santorini people are warm, polite and most than happy to welcome you in their hotels, restaurants or clubs.  What I mostly remember about them is that they seem to have their own timetable, they do things slowly, no rush, no fuss, nothing to worry about and nowhere to go where you can be late.  Santorini people have certainly upgraded the meaning of “dolce far niente” to a superior level.
Beaches
From red to black to white the beaches in Santorini are to die for.  Perivolos welcomed us with dark colored sand and the most transparent and clean water we have ever laid foot in.
 
The red volcano beach invited us to lie down on red sand and bathe in the Mediterranean sea with a view to the red rocks in front.
The white beach, reachable only by boat form Akrotiri or swimming from the red beach gave us the chance to experience getting down straight from the boat in the crystal clear waters and sun tanning amongst white rocks.
 
 Transportation
There are many ways you can move around in Santorini from renting a car, a motorbike, taking the local bus or jumping in a taxi all is affordable and reliable.  If you are the bus type forget about timetables and be patient, hours and minutes are there just an indication and you might have to wait 10-20 minutes longer.  Except for this the bus ride was the perfect way for us to get to know the island.
Food
Greek food is all you can dream of.  Light, tasteful, diverse.  You can try anything from sea food, fish, grilled cheese (haloumi), Tzatziki to Souvlaki and moussaka.
 
Our favorite food was all types of sea food we could find and the best moussaka ever tasted.  In terms  of drinks you can try wine, local beer or ouzo.

Ouzo is an anise-flavored aperitif that is widely consumed in Greece and Cyprus. Is traditionally mixed with and served with ice cubes in a small glass. Ouzo can also be drunk straight from a shot glass.

Parties
If you are planning to go party in Santorini than you should try Kamari and Fira.  Fira has an amazing nightlife.  You can jump from one club to the other, dance on the bar, drink ouzo shots and chilling cocktails.  The crowd is as good as it can get and the music is a combination of Greek and international music.

Must do!

  watch a sunset in Oia/Ia; everybody gathers on the roads near the sea to enjoy together the sunset and there is so much silence in the rumor all around and there is so much emotion when seeing the sun laying down in the Mediterranean sea that you just fell you grabbed happiness by its feet and you just can’t let go;
–  walk around the small streets of Ia and enjoy the white houses, the traditional churches and small shops and restaurants welcoming you at every corner;
 
         
 – try the huge pancakes in Fira;
    have dinner in the many restaurants facing the sea;
       swim, swim, swim;
      take a boat ride to the white beach with nothing else but a swimsuit and jump from the boat for a swim in a crystal clear water;
 –        go party in Fira, let go of all inhibitions and just let yourself go wild;
 –          propose to your girlfriend in the perfect place to propose marriage;


How would we describe the Santorini experience in just one phrase? Well Santorini is truly as close as it gets to heaven on earth :p