Island Vibes April 2024

21 sle of Palms residents Allen Owens and Bryan Stevens visited Greece in 2001. They’d hoped to return in 2020 but, like many, their plans were derailed by the pandemic. Fast forward to 2023, when their friend, Steve Rogers, was set to sail the Greek Isles and suggested they meet in Hydra at the end of his voyage. The trio, joined by Cameron Capel, set out on their unforgettable Greek vacation last September. “Hydra has an amazing mix of rustic charm, European-island sophistication and the benefit of not allowing cars or scooters on the island,” explained Stevens. The group spent seven days in Hydra, enjoying an unstructured itinerary and ending each day with sunset cocktails overlooking the Mediterranean. “We loved sunsets at the Windmill Bar in Hydra with creative craft cocktails, a great unobtruTRAVEL I It’s no longer Greek to them By Isabel Alvarez Arata sive soundtrack and amazing sunset views along the pedestrian path and stone knee wall,” recalled Stevens. After Hydra, they visited Santorini. Their travel dates coincided with the island’s annual Ifestia festival, meaning “the celebration of the volcano.” The festival, dedicated to the historic volcano eruption that changed the landscape of Santorini around 1620 B.C., would become one of the trip’s most memorable moments. “We had dinner reservations on an outdoor terrace with a perfect view of the amazing fireworks recreation Two Island Marina at Breach Inlet Boat Slips For Sale Matt DeAntonio | Carroll Realty, Inc. | 843.532.6288 of the volcanic eruption,” Stevens mused. “They even somehow recreated the lava flow using fireworks -- can't imagine the engineering that went into that.” Rogers described the festival as one of the most impressive fireworks shows he’d ever seen. Owens and Stevens had toured Santorini on their 2001 trip, but this visit was different. They opted to stay outside Santorini’s capital city, slightly removed from the bustle of cruise passengers descending on the area, but only a 10 to 15-minute walk from Fira’s many landmarks. A friend recommended the group consider a guided tour of Santorini. As part of the tour, the group visited Ancient Thera, the oldest town on the island and Akrotiri, a Cycladic cultural settlement associated with the Minoan civilization. “The entire excavated site is now under proper cover and conditioned to avoid further deterioration. We were amazed at just how advanced the village and its people were given the day and age when it was a bustling village, prior to being buried under volcanic lava and ash. We ended that day's tour at a beautiful winery with a wonderful wine tasting with food pairing and gorgeous views of the water,” Stevens reminisced. From traditional Greek recipes to modern Mediterranean cuisine and everything in between, the group frequented smaller, family-run restaurants. They enjoyed a hearty lasagna-type dish called pastitsio, fresh Greek salads and a variety of delectable dishes paired with vibrant Greek wines. Stevens couldn’t contain his excitement as he described the lamb chops they enjoyed at a family restaurant on Hydra. “The entire meal was served family-style and wow, everything was delicious!” Embracing the Greek spirit of "kali oreksi," meaning "good appetite,” this crew devoured every mouthwatering morsel of their Greek adventure.