Mamma Mia Daydreaming October 01 2012, 0 Comments

As the weather heats up and the jacarandas grace us with their pretty, purple presence, my mind daydreams of overseas adventures: cool nights sipping cocktails, swims in the bluest oceans, and Abba sing-a-longs. Today, as the rain falls outside my window, I’m dreaming of a recent sojourn in Greece.

When your best friend tells you she’s getting married in Santorini, what’s a loyal maid of honour to do? Before we knew it, my fiancé and I had crammed our suitcases full to the seams, destined for those iconic blue seas and tall mountains scattered with little, white buildings.

We started our Greek wedding escapade in the capital, Athens. Although our stay in Athens was brief, we managed to fit in a guided tour and venture to the historical centre, the Acropolis. In person, the Acropolis is unequivocally magnificent. The ancient columns stand tall against the serene, blue skyline. Tourists flock from all over the world to see the buildings on these hilltops, with good reason. We stood, like ants, in awe of these great structures. The walk up the hill is similarly impressive, with its olden amphitheatres and countless ruins.

The taxi driver played the ‘Mamma Mia’ soundtrack, which really set the theme of our trip. Below the Acropolis, the streets of Athens are bustling with jam-packed restaurants serving the best of Greek cuisine. Souvenir stores are many and open for business at all hours. Buskers play traditional instruments into the night.

After a whirlwind tour of this exciting city, we boarded a ferry bound for the popular Greek Island on everyone’s lips: Santorini. Santorini looks just like the calendars. This little island has something for everyone: cafés, restaurants, cruises, clubs, bars, walking tracks, shops and ATV tours. Old men ride donkeys through the main streets of town and tourists carry gyros while they take in the view, which is incredible from every angle.

When we met up with all the friends and family, the bride and groom generously treated all wedding attendees to a cruise around the volcanoes. We travelled in cable cars (it’s a choice between cable cars or donkeys) down to a pirate ship, listened to Greek music, ate a Greek feast, drank wine, stopped for swims in the sparkling sea, and explored thermal hot springs. We hiked up a volcano and listened to the history of the area. A gorgeous day of relaxation had us all prepared for the following day’s celebrations. We saluted the day with a few cocktails with a view.

The wedding was unbelievably beautiful. The deep blue of our dresses against the white buildings and matching sapphire sea was stunning. A Greek band played us down the hundreds of stone steps, which we balanced on carefully in our heels. The sun was shining as the locals all came out to see the lovely bride making her way down to the rooftop venue. A purple sunset over the sea, from the balcony of the reception, was utterly unforgettable and the traditional Greek dancing lasted late into the evening.

A little bleary eyed the next morning, we hired ATVs and rode around to the many beaches and lookouts on Santorini. I promise you, as somewhat of a thrill-avoider myself, it is certainly something that anyone can do and is the best way to see the island. Don’t forget to brush up on your ABBA singing skills: ‘The Winner Takes it All’ was a particularly good track for the winding, mountain roads (except, of course, for the person driving).  Enjoy the sunset from one of the lookouts, or alternately from a donkey’s back.

I wished I never had to leave Santorini: it’s always sunny in a rich man’s world. Let's go back. Who's with me?