Santorini

Hey!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written here, but it has been a bit hectic and I haven’t really had a good three or four hours to sit down and write down all my feels about the wonderful and amazing place that is Santorini, so here it goes!

As my birthday was approaching, I needed to choose a place to celebrate it in style, and hearing a lot about this Greek Island, I decided I wanted to go and discover all the beauties it hides. So, a day before my 22nd birthday, I headed to Santorini with my brother. It was a long ass 10 hour wait at the Frankfurt airport, and I had started asking myself if it was worth it. I celebrated my birthday on a plane. And around 4am, we landed in Santorini, even if I couldn’t see much, I definitely felt relieved and happy to be there. We went to our hotel where we immediately fell asleep.

The next morning, I directly understood we were up for an amazing week!
The little jacuzzi on our terrasse, the clear blue sea, and the magnificent white and blue greek houses put a smile on my face right away. We were in a cute little hotel, called Cavo Bianco, just a few steps away from the beach, so it was perfect for exploring the area and discovering the hidden gems. We were in Kamari, the “beachy” part of the island, which is not the usual Santorini landscape you are used to see on the billion of pictures you have probably went through, but it’s as good, if not better because you can actually enjoy a day at the beach without travelling for an hour (which is the reason why you go on summer vacation, right?) .
As soon as we set foot outside of the hotel, I spotted this humongous hill or dare I say mountain, and I immediately felt the urge to hike to the top (spoiler alert: it was a bad decision, especially when it’s 40 degrees outside and you don’t wear a cap).

A day later, my brother and I actually went on the hike to conquer the top of the already mentioned hill. Little did we know the 2 hour hike would get us to what is known as “Ancient Thira”, where lies a city in which ancient greeks lived and protected themselves of potential ennemies. I was amazed at how evolved and advanced the buildings and their uses were, and it was really interesting to see how people lived on a hill that took me two hours to climb.

Luckily for me, a day or two later, we went on a snorkeling trip where the guide (thank you btw, you were amazing), actually explained the history of the island and how it became what it is today (spoiler alert: the story of “the lost Atlantis” was inspired by Santorini). Being the person I am, I got cold after an hour in the water (and after seeing an octopus), so I gave up and went sun bathing on the boat, unlike my brother who needed to explore every single crack of every single creek before being sure he saw everything that can be seen.

But our stay in Santorini wouldn’t be whole without our night trips to Oía and Thera, the two little picturesque villages, full of cute little shops and delicious restaurants. For my birthday, we went to a sea food restaurant with the best sunset view I have ever seen in my whole entire 22 years of existence. It was breathtaking (and trust me, I was sceptic too about the whole “best sunset ever blah blah blah” thing), and the food was delicious. Actually, all the food we ate was delicious, loads of feta cheese, olive oil, fresh veggies and gyros, well all that my tummy needs to be happy and satisfied.

All in all, a great experience, I highly recommend it. A relaxing, but active week on this little island, and loads of colours and smells to satisfy my senses that I am beginning to lose in the grey and highly polluted Paree.

Σας ευχαριστώ, Σαντορίνη!

Love, Mach.

 

 

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Tenerife

Holà!

I’m so sorry it took so much time for me to write and post this, but everything has been kind of hectic these last few months, and I have been trying to juggle between my internship, writing my research paper and having a life.

Nonetheless, I have had the opportunity to rest a little, and visit a new and wonderful destination: TENERIFE.

I boarded the plane with Mum (yes, I love travelling with my mum and take time away from everything) on Saturday, and it took us 4 hours to land on the beautiful volcanic island of Tenerife. We had a mini bus waiting for us at the airport to drive us to the hotel, and the moment we went off the plane, I felt the summer breeze on my skin, and trust me that after months of grey and rainy Paris, the sun becomes a luxury! The view was amazing, it felt as if we had landed in the middle of the Grand Canyon (except for the temperature, which was survivable).

When we arrived to the hotel, we were both in awe. The Jardìn Tropical is without a doubt one of the best hotels I have ever set foot in (thank you Mum for having knowing how to find a gem). The staff was incredibly welcoming and I immediately knew we were about to spend an incredible week.

For the first two days we just enjoyed the farniente lifestyle, and the on the third day, we decided (okay, I’ve decided because every single person who knows me, knows my do-nothing span, which is near 0) to go and visit the island and everything it hides. We took booked a tour to see the Teide (the most famous volcano on the island, for the movie fans it is where they shot Planet of the Apes) and the Loro Parque, which is this giant zoo (yes, a zoo again).

It took us about an hour and a half to drive to the top of the volcano, the scenery was amazing and the sun was burning. Climbing the uneven stairs, I felt as if I was in an episode of Man vs. Wild, and I spent about 45 minutes exploring the whereabouts of this volcanic field while mum was “enjoying” the sun and waiting for me next to the mini bus. We then left for Loro Parque, which was an hour away. Once we got there, I immediately turned into a 3-year-old. We went to see amazing water shows with dolphins, otters, sea lions, and my all time favorites ORCAS. I’ll spare you the details of everything we saw and how many times I squeaked when seeing a baby animal, but all in all it was an amazing and really heart-warming experience. Moreover, the park had a really detailed and interesting explanation for every animal that was there. After a whole day of walking and unintentional sunbathing, we took the mini bus to the hotel and I slept the whole way through.

For the rest of our stay we enjoyed long walks, football matches (back when Serbia was still running for world champion), delicious cocktails with a view and incredibly amazing food (the hotel buffet was one of the most incredibly beautiful things I have ever seen). I also had two workouts per day with the amazing Patricia, the personal coach from our hotel, and I can now definitely say, Spanish are far far far from lazy. The big plus, the gym was outside, just above the ocean (even the biggest couch potato would enjoy working out in it).

All in all, Tenerife was an amazing experience, where I have discovered a never-seen-before scenery, a hotel I will definitely return to, beautiful black sand beaches, and people with a heart as big as the world itself. So if you ever hesitate whether you should add Tenerife to your to-do list, I just have one thing to tell you, DON’T.

The next destination is coming soon, and I’m pretty sure you’ll love this one.

Love, Mach.

Lille

Hi peeps.

Mach here, reporting to you from cloudy Paris.
Last week-end, I had the chance to soak up on some sun in the north (yes, you read right) of France. It was my first time in this little gem of a city and honestly, I was amazed. Since I wasn’t sure of what to expect of Lille, I did what I usually do when this happens, I did not expect anything. So I just went there to relax, discover and enjoy my time off from work.

The reason I went there was my bf’s birthday, so we boarded the train first thing in the morning, and started our little weekend getaway all excited. The train ride was about an hour long, and it went by incredibly fast. Once we arrived in Lille, we started the quest to find our hotel, and since this whole thing was a surprise for my bf, I needed to find my way through without any help (very hard thing to do if you know how good my sense of orientation is). After a few dozens of minutes walking, we reached our hotel, the amazing Hôtel Barrière de Lille. We checked in, left our luggage, and immediately headed out to soak up on the sun and discover this city none of us has ever been in.

First thing we did, the zoo. A beautiful little zoo situated on the outskirts of town (which in Lille means like a 10 minutes walk from the city center), populated with a large variety of SUPER cute animals, and all of that for only 4 euros per person. As usual, I squeaked my way through the zoo, wishing I could adopt every single one of the species that were there, and to my complete amazement the animals were actually quite enjoying their time there (yes, I am usually a mixture of happy/mad when I visit a zoo because these poor animals are kept in captivity), but in Lille, they actually had space to move and have fun.

We then felt the hunger rise in our tummies, so we decided to head for lunch and eat something typically “Lillish”, we went for mussels and fries in the city center, it was getting really warm and I was (as usual) in an all black outfit, and therefore dying.

After lunch, we walked through the old city, which is sincerely one of the cutest things I have seen in my life. All of those little houses, glued to each other, and every single one constructed and thought of uniquely, amazed me. And walking through all of these little shops and cafés that make you want to buy every single thing you see, we stumbled upon a Dog Café, le WAF. Yes, a real dog café, where you pay a little sum of money and you get to play with not one, not two, but seven or eight dogs that you can also adopt (and trust me, after one or two hugs, you want to take them all home). So we couched up in this little cozy café for a while, drank some tea, and enjoyed playing with the dogs (well, I did at least) and just rested from our 15km walk of the day. After an hour or so, we decided to head to the hotel and rest for a while before heading out to dinner for my bf’s bday.

Around eight or so, we got ready and started our hunt for the perfect restaurant (because yes, silly me, I didn’t realise that on a Saturday night EVERY SINGLE RESTAURANT in Lille will be full). And after an hour of hopeless searching for a restaurant that would take us in, we found a table for two in the cute and delicious Fils à maman (which I have already tried in Paris, and was really happy with every aspect of their offer). So we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and the waiter even brought a candle and a huge jar of candy and the whole restaurant sang happy birthday. It made him blush, but it was a really cute and a nice touch which definitely made us end our dinner on a high note.

The next morning we woke up late, and craved a huge brunch. That is exactly what we got. We went to this cute little brunch place Be Yourself  where every single brunch lover would dream to eat at. Affordable prices for a lot, and I really do mean A LOT of food.

So stuffed as we were, we rolled our way to a park and spent the evening sun bathing and walking around, it was just the perfect Sunday afternoon after a long day visiting.

We boarded the train back to Paris, tired to have walked over 30km in two days, happy to have lived this adventure and sad to be leaving this beautiful city.

If you ever have the chance to visit Lille, DO IT.

Love, Mach.