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3 Things I Deeply Hate About Santorini
Living on Santorini, Santorini, Where I've Been

3 Things I Deeply Hate About Santorini

And before someone says “well if you don’t like it, go somewhere else” – meh. I consider Santorini the most magical place on Earth, but just like Disneyland, ever magical place has its problems. The Greek are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met, so I’m guessing the roots of these issues lie somewhere else. It’s something you don’t notice unless you stay here for more than just a few days. And even though I constantly rave about this island, there are a few things about Santorini I absolutely hate (just 3, hope that makes you feel better).

No recycling.

Alright, here’s the thing. Considering you can’t drink the Santorini tap water (unless you like desalinated water) and need to buy plenty of water bottles for your everyday life, I’m surprised the island has no recycling system. Not to mention the amount of toilet paper we use because we can’t flush anything down the toilet (yup). Grocery stores automatically give you bags and they are FREE (I’ve been living in Spain and London for far too long). I’ve yet to see a recycling system to minimize any environmental issues the island could face (or is facing). I know, I know, it’s an island after all. But there needs to be a solution for this, right?

3 Things I Deeply Hate About Santorini

Very little respect for animals.

Although there are cats, dogs and donkeys everywhere on this island and there are many loving interactions, I’ve seen donkey handlers kick donkeys to get them to go in the right direction. Hundreds of pets get abandoned after seasonal owners return to Athens to escape the winter (many locals leave Santorini in October and return in February or March). Santorini’s animal shelter has more than 100 dogs waiting to be adopted. Donkeys have to walk on horrible cobblestone stairs and carry enormous amounts of weight under the hot Santorini sun. And when they’re unable to do their job, there’s a good chance they will get abandoned or killed. Yep. 

3 Things I Deeply Hate About Santorini

The summer season.

I’m not a huge fan of the summer season. The thought of having to reserve your spot in Oia 3 hours before the sunset is just crazy. The way buses get too full, the way accommodation is literally sold out months before (but places are completely empty Jan – April and October – December), you need to reserve your restaurant table,… everything needs to be planned waaay in advance, or you’ll be left with nothing. Santorini summers are magical in many other ways, but crowd control isn’t one of them. The place below is FULL of people during the summer season! 

3 Things I Deeply Hate About Santorini

Ah, Santorini. You’ve stolen my heart, but….

Living on Santorini
Santorini, Where I've Been

What Living on Santorini is Actually Like

As I’m writing this, I have now been living on Santorini for a few weeks. It’s not merely enough to come to any big conclusions, but since my obsession with this island is so huge, I think I’m able to give a pretty decent statement on what living on Santorini is actually like. Sometimes I still can’t believe I made this move that used to seem so far away and so unreachable. And yet, living on Santorini came so naturally, I was able to adapt to the pace of this island super easily.

What Living on Santorini is Actually Like?

what living on santorini is actually like

Alright, let’s start with a few factual things.

1. Finding an apartment on Santorini

I came during the off-season, thinking this would be incredibly easy. Wah wah, fail. I still don’t know what I’ll do about my summer accommodation. But finding an apartment on Santorini, basically, consists of your networking and Greek skills. The price for the non-holiday apartments available for monthly rent is actually pretty decent depending on the location (starts from €350 per month)

But finding an apartment is a completely different story. It’s impossible. Santorini’s in a crisis that seems to cater to tourists, and the more you ask around, the more you realize how serious this situation is for locals who are trying to make a living on this island. I’ve been warned that it’s been exceptionally hard for the past few years and many locals are waiting for the tax authorities to come and clamp down the prices.

Living on Santorini

Asking around. I am currently doing an outreach to ALL possible hotels on the island. I asked my landlady of my current hotel apartment. I’m going to learn how to say “do you have an apartment available for rent” in Greek, go door to door and hope for the best. I have a plan B and plan C, so I’m not particularly worried and am aiming to avoid Santorini during the summer season.

May – September is Santorini’s high season. Everyone wants to stay on the island. So find your apartment early (or after September) if you’re really thinking about living on Santorini.

2. What’s the weather like on Santorini during winter?

I got sunburnt in February 2017. The weather’s cold during winter, with quite a lot of rain until maybe May. I’m considering myself lucky – I haven’t seen much of rain since I’ve been here, but I’ve also spent some time on Santorini a few years back and May was a hell of a rainy season.

But when the winter gets sunny, it’s exceptionally warm.

One thing I love about Santorini is its beautiful sky that allows for the sun to shine bright and make the place just a little bit warmer on cold days. I walk from Karterados to Fira on a daily basis and it’s funny how I have to take off my jacket the minute the sun hits my face. And then put it back on as soon as it disappears. Of course, summers are nothing but awesome.

Living on Santorini

3. Things you don’t know about living on Santorini

Santorini water is desalinated – vom.com to drink and I try to avoid cooking with it. This means that every week, I go and buy a six pack of a bottled water and tend to use it for everything (even drinking tea).

Everything’s closed on a Sunday – Which means you have to plan to buy enough water bottles to last you for the weekend (surprisingly, this has been the weirdest thing to think about).

Wi-Fi connection on Santorini – I have a love-hate relationship with my Wi-Fi connection. It’s a part of embracing the simplistic life, but as a digital nomad, it’s one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made. The upload speed means it takes about 5 minutes to upload any picture, yet alone video. But hey, that’s the price you pay.

You can’t flush the toilet paper. Yup. Not even number 2s. Gotta bin it. Or, you know, take the advantage of European bidets if you happen to have one.

4. But besides all that…

Living on Santorini is absolutely magical and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The privilege that I’m able to do this is beyond me and I am extremely thankful. I know this is a dream for many – and I encourage you to do it.

Living on Santorini

The friendliness of the locals – I love having talks with Lucky from Lucky’s – one of the best gyros on the island. No matter where I go, people are just astoundingly friendly and they have a lot more time to talk during the off-season.

The chill pace of life – I spend about 2 hours per day in Fira and those 2 hours feel like 2 days. You’re taking in every single moment and it does tremendous things for your mental health.

The food – I’m biased because Greek food is very similar to Slovenian food, but man. If you’re a fan of carbs (and you should be), Santorini’s the place for you. I love getting fresh bread from the bakery every single morning and get a 1kg of Greek yogurt and honey to get me through the week. Don’t even get me started on the gyros (shoutout to Lucky’s gyros in Fira).

The sea therapy – As someone who works more than 50 hours per week, being able to take an hour off to stare at the ocean (and the view Santorini offers) every day is extremely important. Listening to the waves, breathing in the sea air, watching the stars at night… Combined with the slow and chill pace of life, this is the best way to live.

Living on Santorini

The confidence of making your dreams come true – Santorini charms the lives of many. I’ve spoken to so many people that had the same mentality as me – after they left the island for the first time, they just refused to believe that this is it. It didn’t give them a break. I bought Santorini souvenirs and had them on my desk as an encouragement to follow my dreams. I had DREAMS of the island almost every day. I never wanted anything more in my entire life. It took almost a year to make this work. But I’m so glad it did. Will I stay here forever? I’m not sure – I’m very tempted to make Rhodes my base and return to Santorini for at least 4 months out of a year. But let’s wait and see what the future’ll bring. The most difficult step has been done, I’m just going to go with the flow 🙂

Follow your dreams. Just do it.

Favorite places in Madrid - Retiro park
Madrid, Where I've Been

My 5 Favorite Places in Madrid

It’s no secret that I absolutely love this city and after a year and a half, I managed to accumulate my 5 favorite places where you can find me on most weekends. Each of these places will forever hold a special place in my heart as it is where I’ve met amazing people, I was able to relax and self-reflect and most importantly just enjoy it. And here they are, in no particular order:

My 5 Favorite Places in Madrid

MY 5 FAVORITE PLACES IN MADRID

1. Desperate Literature

I could spend hours in this bookshop, browsing around, writing a poem on their typewriter, attending one of their events or taking a shot of whiskey with a deliberately purchased ‘boozey book’ (seriously, try it). And it got even better when I found that they also have a bookstore in Santorini (the place that will forever hold my soul and never give it back until I move there).

Desperate Literature in Madrid

2. Celicioso

I remember sitting here and catching up to Celebrity Big Brother (yeah I’m guilty, but come on, Katie Hopkins AND Perez Hilton locked up in a house together?!) while eating a cake and drinking my mint tea almost every Saturday after my Spanish lessons. Fantastic cakes (amazing cheesecake!!) and beautiful customer service. I’ll forever love Celicioso. Oh and if the name didn’t give it away, it’s completely gluten free and they have vegan options.

Celicioso vegan cake in Madrid

3. Jardines Sabatini

Jardines Sabatini was my frontyard for about 7 months and I absolutely loved it. This little charming park was my running route, my makeout spot and a place where I’d come to write, think, and listen do the beautiful man playing his violin every weekend. The sunsets here were magical – nothing like Santorini, but hey, I’ll take it!

Jardines de Sabatini favorite places in Madrid

4. Malasaña

Yep, the entire neighborhood. Malasaña is like the hippy barrio you just wish you could live in (and I am living here!). So many hidden bookshops, stores, cafes and cheap deals. Some of my favorite places include Lolo Polos natural ice cream, La Bicicleta, every ‘fruteria’, Ojala, the entire Calle del Pez street and Calle de Fuencarral.

Lolo Polos Madrid - favorite places in Madrid

5. Retiro

Where do I even start with Retiro. I used to come here after my Spanish lessons and just chill for hours until it was time to go home. Some of my favorite areas are the one most people don’t have the chance to explore as they are hidden within the park, such as the rose garden or the place I like to describe as ‘Alice in Wonderland’ where I sometimes still go to practice yoga. This park holds so much character – you will end up striking a conversation with random people (sometimes annoyingly), whether it be Mormons (who will make you read out loud a paragraph from the Bible!) or old people (does happen). Without a doubt, at least in my eyes, the best park in the world. <3

Favorite places in Madrid - Retiro park

Favorite places in Madrid - Retiro park

Favorite places in Madrid - Retiro park

 

Madrid, thank you for the unforgettable 2.5 years.