Santorini– A Quick Flight from Baumholder Germany

Santorini Greece donkey ride Ashley and Malik

Although originally envisioned as a less romantic journey to one of the most romantic destinations in the world, my trip with the boys turned out memorable. We spent two nights in Kos and then took the overnight ferry to Santorini. The sight of the moon shining over the water, the iconic white-washed buildings perched on steep cliffs, and the salty breezes were simply breathtaking. I had always dreamt of visiting this beautiful island, but never imagined doing so with my kids. It was clear: romance might be off the table in Santorini, Greece. Nevertheless, it’s a quick flight, less than 2 hours, from Baumholder, Germany.

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Santorini Greece Has Amazing Views

The next day, we made our way to Ashley’s ship. The captain, understanding the significance of family visits, had given shore leave to anyone with family on the island. However, Ashley’s supervisor had doubted her claim of having family present, which made our appearance all the more necessary.

Eager to show us around, Ashley led a whirlwind tour through the lower decks, nimbly navigating the tight tunnels as if she were born to it. Our introduction to the captain took place on the top deck, under the disdainful gaze of Ashley’s platoon leader. Clearly, she wasn’t thrilled about our presence.

But the journey from the island’s cliffs down to the Mediterranean was an experience in its own right. The path, carved into stepped slopes, provided a thrilling descent. We took a cable car ride down to a jetty, which then ferried us to the ship anchored in the bay. Below us, the sea sparkled in hues of dark blue-green, its waters transparent and inviting. The entire descent was marked by breathtaking panoramas and unforgettable moments.

The Donkey Ride from Hell

Upon our return to Santorini, Greece, we learned that the cable car was out of service due to strong winds. We had the option of hiking up to the top, which would involve dodging massive piles of donkey droppings the entire way.

Instead, we chose to ride the island’s renowned donkeys, which are known to transport tourists up the cliffs. The path they took wasn’t a straightforward trail, but rather a series of winding switchbacks along the sun-drenched landscape.

Looking back, it’s hard to say which choice would have been more nerve-wracking. Those unpredictable donkeys either walked precariously close to the cliff’s edge or pushed our knees harshly against the mountain’s side. Their inability to walk in a straight line up the mountain was nerve-wracking. Later, I came across information indicating that these animals were often mistreated. I sincerely wish I had known that earlier.

A Bad Decision

The following day, I learned that one of the donkeys had slipped while climbing the mountain, carrying a young Australian woman. I couldn’t help but chuckle, thinking about how often Australians seem to find themselves in adventurous or precarious situations—whether it’s being rescued from mountains, surviving shark encounters, or their reputation for daring interactions with wildlife. Of course, it’s all in good humor, as stereotypes don’t define individual experiences.

Life and Death

It’s fascinating how our perspectives change over time. Activities that once seemed like thrilling adventures might now seem riddled with unnecessary risks.

I imagine the rush of swimming in the unpredictable waters off Italy’s coast, believing those childhood swimming lessons had prepared you for anything. The exhilaration of losing yourself in the festive streets of Pamplona, embracing the spontaneity of the moment. The sheer thrill of snowboarding down the snowy slopes of the Alps, the scenic beauty of hiking the Cinque Terra, the serenity of canoeing through Croatia’s waterways, and the adrenaline of pushing the speedometer on the Autobahn. And then there’s paragliding in Tenerife… but, right, that one remains unchecked on the list.

Life is a collection of moments, some daring, some serene, but all uniquely our own. It’s always a balance between seizing the day and being cautious. Perhaps with time, we lean more towards the latter, but it’s those reckless memories that often make for the best stories.

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Greek Food is Cheap and Amazing

I adore every ingredient that goes into the preparation of a gyro. When made correctly, it’s delicious, remarkably healthy, and cost-effective. The combination of lamb, roasted chicken, olives, yogurt, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, tzatziki, and unleavened bread is simply irresistible to me. Thus, it was no surprise that the first gyro I tasted that day was mind-blowing. The gyro, pronounced “hero,” ranks among my all-time favorite sandwiches.

Greece is a great place to get the most for your money. It’s also a great place to island-hop other sites like Bodrum on the Turkish coast.

Blue Bay Villas

Back at the Blue Bay Villas, Ashley and the boys changed into their swimsuits and jumped into the massive pool they had entirely to themselves. I opted for a long walk on the black sand beach behind the villas with a drink in my hand. Although the sand was cool under foot I wasn’t too impressed. It was the second black sand beach I’ve been to, and even though the sand heats up enough to turn into glass, I prefer white sand beaches.

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Black Sand

The black sand is appreciated more as a novelty than for its beauty. It looks like crushed charcoal. I could be wrong, but I believe the sand is a direct result of the volcanic eruption that created the caldera off the cost of Santorini thousands of years ago. I’m not sure whether it was there before or after Ulysses sailed home from the Trojan War.

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Why You Should Go to Santorini

But Santorini is pretty sublime. There aren’t any extreme activities on the island of Santorini. Find a terrace or restaurants with a view of the magnificent sunset the island is known for. The absolutely best spot to watch the sun’s daily retreat into the horizon is in Oia.

This is where you’ll see all the sky blue domed churches, the windmills and the crowds. The white washed cliffs appear to be on fire– reflecting the sun’s rays. Everyone looks beautiful in the golden rays of the setting sun. It’s a magically romantic scene. Although my kids are way too young to appreciate it. For them, it’s time to eat. A few days of doing nothing but eating and lounging around is good for the body and the soul.

What I’ll Remember About Santorini Greece

But for now, I’m glad for the brief respite it offered Ashley. I won’t remember that there was No Romance in Santorini Greece. It was one of those bittersweet goodbyes this life gives you plenty of experience. I watched my eldest climb back in that jetty, braving the choppy waters back to her ship. And even more hostile disposition of her immediate supervisor. I knew she’d be fine because she is her mother’s daughter.

If you are stationed in Baumholder or anywhere in Germany, I highly recommend taking a short flight to Kos or Santorini, Greece. If I can go again, I would love to stay in one of the stunning cliffside villas with infinity pools designed for two. Next time, Santorini will be the destination for romance.

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    1. duffelbagspouse

      Its so freaking beautiful and the food is amazing and cheap. If you loved this… hope you go to Cambodia too.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      I feel ya. I am glad I got a chance to go. I had my husband on three other trips to Greece, so I feel blessed.

  1. Hannah MArie

    Santorini is a fantastic place to spend a nice holiday. It will sure be unforgettable visiting there. One of the best places I can recommend.

  2. GiGi

    I went to Santorini too – and there was NO romance involve. Unless we want to talk about the SWEET LOVE I made to the chicken shawarma and octopus I ate… 😉

  3. Shannon

    YES! I had to click on your post as I went to Santorini this may with my bf this past May and it was a trip we will both never forget for the rest of our lives. Totally agree with the donkeys- they are treated badly so we opted out of that, it made me sad. And we were amazed at how cheap but delicious the food was!

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