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Friday, April 29, 2016

April 29, 2016  Checking out the venue

Becky and I leave the Courtyard at Gatwick airport at 4:30am sharp to catch our easy jet flight to Santorin. Gatwick airport is mayhem to say the least. After checking our “hold baggage” at the Easy Jet automated check in we head through security to the main terminal. We miss our TSA prescreen, given we are foreigners in this land we are back to removing everything from our bags and bodies and getting searched. We get breakfast that includes hash browns, soft fried egg, sausage, bacon (more like ham), fried tomato, mushrooms, and baked beans. At 5:45 they put on the board the gate assignment and like everyone else waiting we head to the gate, Becky of course having to stop at the toilet. We figured out why so many people were running when after walking at least 15 minutes we see a long boarding line and a note that the gate closes at 6:05. Lucky I also figure out we had paid extra for “speedy boarding” which meant we could move into a much shorter line, which we did. After that line you walked a long ramp and down three flights of stairs to the outside to wait in yet another line. There were actually two lines as they boarded the plane using the front and rear doors depending on your seat assignment, very efficient! You walk up a steep set of stairs (I have no idea how infirmed people would do it) and into the plane. Lucky for us we had an open middle seat and “extra room” so we were comfortable. Paying $3.00 for a can of SanPellegrino we enjoyed the flight over the French Alps to the island.

Today’s goals were to meet with Anna the wedding planner and see the venue and restaurant where the festivities would occur. We also hoped we could eat at the restaurant and check out the food as our dinner. Not sure if what she had experienced over the email was culture, email, or lack of service quality Becky had a plan B if we did not like what we saw. Plan B was we are spending the next two days planning a wedding ourselves in this foreign land- I’m hoping for Plan A and a couple days of rest and shopping.
We arrive and get a taxi that lets us off at a huge set of stairs and describes the two hills and two lefts we take to Dana Villa’s. Given my trip involves three separate climates, I have two suitcases and Becca has one- and now we will be carting those up and over an incredible number of stairs. When we arrive they say we should have called and they could have come to get the bags- now they tell us! Our room is not ready so we go down another 200 stairs to an amazing restaurant next to the pool. Lunch is fantastic and then exercise back up the stairs follows. We realize we need to tell wedding guests- DO NOT WEAR HEELS!! The cobblestone streets and stairs will not like heels! When we return we discover the owner wants to give us a newly renovated suite- best they have. What an unexpected surprise!  He leads us to a 2-bedroom suite with its own infinity hot tub and 3 balconies! It’s amazing. They then bring a bottle of wine and dessert! Royalty!

We call the cab and venture up the stairs and up and down the hills to meet the cab and head to the wedding planner. We are greeted with hugs and smiles from both the wedding planner Anna and the photographer Vickie. We go over Becky’s 100 questions, make a couple decisions and feel 100% more confident that this is perfect! We travel to the wedding venue and the reception place- also perfect! I’d show photos but Becca has banned me from doing so! Suffice it to say that there can not be a more beautiful place! IF you have never been here you are in for the treat of your life!

We come back, rest, and head to dinner to see the end of the mountain lit in candles for their Good Friday. It is amazing. Dinner is at Purgo’s which is where the reception will be. We eat for 2 hours much of the food that will be on the menu- and I assure you it more than passes the test!! Cheese pie, fried feta with honey, two chicken dishes, its all amazing! After, given the traffic from the candlelight mountain we are told to go wait for our cab driver who will pick us up. An hour later no cab and we walk the half mile back up the mountain in the dark with several thousand others to call another cab and then fight to hang on. There is a solution for every problem and other than the WIND we survive. Back at our mansion we get in our infinity pool, shower in our super showers and are ready for some shut eye. A VERY successful, fun, memorable day in paradise.

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