My 31st Birthday, Greece

What do you get when you mix stunning caldera views, an 18 flight wine tasting, two appetizer platters, one hot tub, and a candlelight dinner? You get the BEST birthday ever, my friends!


Part of my brilliant Greek plan was sneaking our of town for my 31st birthday. My 30th was big, celebrated in a huge Tuscan villa, surrounded by friends. But turning 31 felt like a best-to-slink-away-and-hide milestone. And to make matters even worse, my birthday fell on a Sunday. Things I love doing on a Sunday: sleeping in, enjoying brunch, prepping for the work week, going on a long walk, catching up on Netflix, hitting up a yin yoga class, cuddling on the couch, going out for dim sum, taking a bath, hanging in the park with friends, calling my mom. Things I don’t love doing on a Sunday: having a party, tiring myself out before I kick off five consecutive days of work. Call me old, but celebrating on a Sunday feels counter-intuitive – I am mentally programmed to treat Sunday as an oasis. A day to rest and re-charge for the work week ahead. However, when you’re on vacation, all pre-determined weekday attributes are null and void. Want to go out dancing on Monday night? Why not?! Sleep in on Wednesday? The choice is yours! Enjoy an 18 wine flight on Sunday? Now you’re talking, Ali! And so on our third day in Greece, Kai and I said goodbye to normal-life-Sunday and helloooo to 31st Greek vacation birthday Sunday, which constituted of eating and drinking in the sun all. day. long. I tell ya, it’s a rough life ;)
We’d heard that Santo Winery did an excellent 18-flight wine tasting, and to our no-rental-car delight, there was a bus that ran straight from Fira to the winery. So we caught an early morning coach from Oia to Fira, and before heading into a heavy day of drinking, decided to grab a light lunch in the sun in Fira. I was craving spanakopita which turns out is IMPOSSIBLE to find on the island of Santorini. According to Tripadvisor, Fanari Restaurant has “Spanakopita to die for!” but when we ordered the supposed spanakopita-boasting appetizer platter, there was no cheesy spinach pie to be seen. Sad birthday stomach. Below photo caption? Put the camera away, Kai. There is no spanakopita here.

That said, the Greek appetizers we were presented with were pretty damn good, including the stuffed grape leaves which I’ve never really cared for elsewhere!
After lining our stomachs with a fair amount of grease, carbs, and cheese (the best lunch combination!) it was time to head to the winery. We took a quick bus ride over, and were happy we’d reserved a table outside, as the weather had cooperated and day was a brilliant blue.

We browsed through the menu, although we already knew what we waned – the famous 18 flight wine tour, which takes your palate from acidic to sweet, light to dark. And although we’d just gorged on snacks in Fira, we got the cheese platter as well to accompany our liquid bounty.

When our tray arrived, we were slightly overwhelmed, as the pours were very generous and the cheese platter was huge.
That said, we were determined to sip our way through all 18, and so we got started on the challenge!

To make matters more fun, we kept his and her tasting notes on each wine, ranking our favorites and carefully taking note of what parting gifts we might want to pick up from the gift shop!
As you can tell by the change of lighting in this last photo, it took us some time to work our way through all 18 wines. But we finished the challenge, which we were very proud of!
After a drunk stop in the gift shop (all of my favorite wines turned out to be the most expensive ones . . . and it was my birthday sooooo . . . ) we got a cab back to Oia so we could enjoy some hot tub time before dinner (18 wines later ain’t nobody got time for the bus!)

I love taking out a little quiet time to reflect on my birthday. Last year, despite being in a villa with 25 people, I found a moment early in the morning to walk around the gardens as the sun came up. This year, I had some sunset birthday reflection time. You know it’s a good year when you feel the need to pause, look back, and say a quiet thanks for your many blessings :)

And when you’re in Greece it makes a pretty photo ;)

I find the last few photos of this post reallllllly funny to look back on. On our first night in Oia, Kai and I walked past the most romantic looking restaurant on the island. We knew we had to eat there, so we asked if they had any free tables that evening – nope! The next night? Also a no! And this is during the off-season folks, so you know the food there has to be lush! Anyways, we wound up making a reservation for my birthday dinner, but by the time we finished the wine tasting at Santos, we were drunk and stuffed. Some of the wine was REALLY heavy and we’d managed to eat like six wheels of cheese between the two of us throughout the day (I exaggerate, but seriously, roll-me-home full!) But we couldn’t miss dinner! We had to eat at the cutest restaurant known to mankind, and also I had to blow out a candle on my birthday, or it like, wasn’t my birthday. So we got ready for dinner at Melitini (so adorable, can someone name their pet cat Melitini?!) 
We were hoping that perhaps we’d luck out and find some spinach pie on the menu at Melatini, but no such luck. That said, everything the chef could whip up sounded delectable, and our second stomachs suddenly spoke up and were like, order everything guys!!
 
Kai let me pick because it was my birthday, so we went for a seafood dish and the spetzofia, and it was by far the best meal we had in Greece!
The LOL part about these photos is how wrecked we look! We ordered an orange cake for dessert, completing our best meal in Santorini, and in a funny twist argued over who had to take the last bite, because we were both so stuffed but there would be no wasting this marvelous cake.

Kai’s expression in this last photo pretty accurately sums up how we were both feeling by the end..

But I would re-live this day again in a heartbeat. It was the best 31st birthday a girl could ask for, spent in the sun, with the best company. One more Greek tale to come!

xo Ali

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