48 Hours in Santorini

Hi all,

Long time no speak! I’ve been adjusting to life back at school, as well as a new job but I’d like to think that the blog posts will be back to a more regular schedule! I’m starting back with a super fun post: what to do in Santorini for 48 hours.

When we were planning and researching our Greece trip, I spent so much time trying to find things to do in Santorini because we were going to be there for less than 48 hours. I thought I’d share what we did, as I feel pretty content with our somewhat unplanned itinerary.

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Day 1:

  1. Arrive to Santorini either by air or ferry. We arrived from Crete (via ferry) and had pre-arranged the pick up from the port with a shuttle company our hotel works with. I highly recommend this because you won’t need to worry about getting a taxi when you’re all frazzled and tired from your travels.
  2. Lunch: When we got there, our room wasn’t ready so we decided to walk around and grab a bite at Pitogyros.
  3. After checking into our room, we went to the Black Rock Beach (Katharos Beach), down the road from our hotel which was in Oia. **BRING WATER SHOES!!!** We had actually brought water shoes with us on the trip but didn’t think to take them when we went to the beach, which was a huge mistake! There’s no sand; it’s all pebbles and larger rocks so it really hurts! We only went out to the water once because the walking was too painful. The water is very cold, but it’s a really interesting place, different than anything we had ever visited. We stayed there until it was time to get ready to watch the sunset.
  4. Sunset: we had a room with a balcony, so we opted to grab a couple of beers and watch the sunset from there. If you don’t have one, I recommend finding a good spot about an hour or two before (the streets get very crowded and very quickly!)
  5. Dinner at Skala.

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    The moussaka- delicious!

Day 2:

  1. Breakfast at Vitrin Cafe Creperie. The sweet waffles are super delicious! (see below)
  2. Boat tour/excursion. We booked with Spiridakos Sailing Tours and we highly recommend them! We were a small group, the boat was luxurious, and the crew was so nice. We sailed around the island, stopping in a few different places to swim and snorkel.
  3. Once you’re back from your excursion, take a couple of hours to relax and watch the sunset before dinner.
  4. Dinner at Skala.

Day 3:

  1. Breakfast at Vitrin Cafe Creperie.
  2. Head to your next island.

Thoughts on Santorini

Honestly, I wasn’t that impressed with this island, or at least with the area we stayed in: Oia. I don’t think it lives up to the hype. I do think that everyone should visit it once in their life to see what it is, but I don’t know that I would ever go back. Although, I do realize my perception of the entire island might be skewed by the fact that we only stayed in one town. During the day, it is SO crowded; it’s nearly impossible to get around without bumping into someone. I will say though, that being out of the busy streets and watching the sunset from our balcony was a real treat.

Also, you’ll notice that it’s pretty deserted at night (an hour or so after the sunset) since all the cruiseships have departed. There was such a difference between walking the streets at night and walking them during the day, I guess you could say it was like night & day πŸ˜‰. This was probably our favourite time to roam around. Note: it gets cold when the sun isn’t out. I was wearing jeans and a sweater both nights!

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Quick note: We stayed at VIP Suites in Oia and I don’t know if I would recommend it. It was the least expensive room with a balcony we could find, which is why we opted for it. On our second day, after placing our towels on the ground, they were picked up but not replaced. We were glad that we had brought our beach towels because if not, we wouldn’t of had anything to dry off with. There was also a strong rotten egg smell when we came back from our excursion. Luckily, it had dissipated when we returned from dinner. We didn’t bring these issues to management because the “front desk” was quite a ways away and we didn’t feel like hiking/walking for 10 minutes for towels. I don’t want this “rant” to be taken the wrong way. I’m extemely grateful to have been able to stay in that type of accomodation, and I know that these issues aren’t real issues. But for $250 a night, we expected a little bit more than what we received. And for the sake of this “review”, I want to be as honest as possible.

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The front of our room.
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Our room.

That’s all for today! I hope you enjoyed this little itinerary recap + mini review.

Have you been to Santorini? What did you think about it?

Marilyn

 

 

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September Reading List

Hi all,

I’ve decided to try something new: share my reading list every month. I find that when I’m in school it becomes difficult to consistently read and next thing I know, I haven’t picked up a novel in months. Reading helps me de-stress and when I read right before bed, it helps me fall asleep faster. So to hold me accountable and purposely make time for myself, I wanted to share the books I plan to read this month. Feel free to join me in my readings, we could even discuss the books after we read them!

  1. Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brownwatch me disappear
  2. Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriartytruly madly deeply

Do you have any other suggestions for me?

Have a great week!

Marilyn

East Asia Bucket List: My Top 5

Hi all,

It’s time for another bucket list post (it’s so fun to dream, isn’t it?)! This time I’m focusing only on East Asia, since Asia is such a big continent and there’s so much I’d like to see. Β We’ve pretty much decided that we will definitely be going here in the next few years, which makes me so excited to dream about this!

  1. Shanghai, China

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    Image from Pixabay.
  2. Tokyo, Japan

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    Image from Geography.name
  3. Beijing, China

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    Image from Pixabay.
  4. Kyoto, Japan

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    Image from Pixabay.
  5. Osaka, Japan

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    Image from Pixabay.

I hope you enjoyed reading this! Have you been to any of these cities? If so, I’d love to know what you thought of them! Should I add more cities to this bucket list? I’d love to hear your recommendations!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Marilyn

August Favourites

Hi all,

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a monthly favourites post! There were a few things this month that I really fell in love with that I thought would be worth sharing. Let’s get into it!

  1. EOS lip balm- I’ve used the ball for years, but I much prefer the stick version. It takes up less room and can fit into almost any bag.eos
  2. La Croix sparkling water- for the last two months, I have been obsessed with sparkling water (or more precisely Club Soda). I saw these at the store and loved that they have no artificial sweeteners so I wanted to try them. My favourite flavour is the Cran-Raspberry; I find that it’s the strongest flavour.la croix
  3. Coconut cream pie Lara bars- I feel like I’m late to jump on the Lara Bar bandwagon, but wow are they good! I’ve only ever tried this flavour so I can’t compare it to others, but it’s so tasty. It’s made mostly with dates though so you do have to really like dates. I also love that there are only 5 ingredients; I love having healthy alternatives for when I’m craving something like a granola bar.larabar
  4. Big Little Lies novel by Liane Moriarty: I have this thing with books and their movies or television shows. When I know a movie or show based on a book is coming out, I always like to read the book first, which is why I picked up this book. It is so good!! I literally could not put it down. She writes so incredibly well; it makes me jealous of her skills. And she also knows how to pack a punch! I won’t spoil the end, but towards the end, we find out something quite important, and I was not expecting it at all. I sat there for a solid three minutes, saying “what?!” over and over. Like most movies (or shows), the book is so much better. The series is still good, but I would highly suggest reading the book first. If you haven’t yet, go grab it!

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That’s all for this month, I hope you enjoyed it!

I’d love to know what some of your favourites were this month! Leave them down below πŸ™‚

Have a great week!

Marilyn

A Pastel Review: Paris For One by Jojo Moyes

Hi all,

After reading Me Before You and After You, I was hooked onto Jojo Moyes and wanted to start reading all of her books. I got this one for Christmas and finally got around to reading it last month.

Paris For One and Other Stories is exactly what the name suggests; it’s a collection of short stories. Paris For One is the longer one, taking about half the book, and there are 8 other ones. They explore love, marriages, relationships, and infidelity.

I had never read a collection of short stories before and I must say that I really did enjoy it. I tend to read mostly at night, and I always find it difficult to find a convenient place to stop reading. With this book, it wasn’t an issue. I read one or two short stories per night, never having to worry about where to stop for the night.

Moyes writes so well, and even though each story is only a few pages (with the exception of Paris For One), I got attached to the characters right from the start. The themes she explores in each story are relatable and you feel like she could be talking about you or someone you know. With the common, every day issues she brings up, I feel like I learned a couple of lessons/new things by reading these.

My favourite story was Paris For One. This particular one is about a young adult girl who finds herself in Paris alone for a weekend and learns to embrace the unexpected and just go with it. Without spoiling too much, she ends up meeting someone who makes her feel like she can do anything. It was a page turner and I was definitely hooked from the get go.

The only thing I would have to critique about this book is that I wish each story wasn’t a short one; I want to know what happens after!

I really recommend this book, especially if you want a light and non-committal read.


Have you ever read it? If so, what did you think of it?

Have a great week!

Marilyn

Las Vegas: August 8th-11th 2017

Hi all,

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I was in Las Vegas last week with my mom and brother for a quick trip. That was my 6th time there (my first one being legal, though!) and I never get sick of the atmosphere.

I just thought I’d quickly share where we stayed & ate, along with some pictures.

Our Stay: We stayed at the Bally’s and although it’s not the nicest hotel on the strip, it’s in a prime location. It’s smack in the middle of “all the action”, being right across from the Bellagio. You can easily access the North end of the strip (towards Treasure Island, Encore, etc.) and the South end (New York, New York, MGM Grand, etc.). The rooms are quite large and the beds are comfortable.

We swam twice while we were there and the pool is great! It’s not big (compared to other strip hotel pools) but the water was so warm, it was like going into a bath.

Recommended: Pay a few extra dollars per night and stay at the Paris.

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Where we ate: We tried the breakfast buffet at the Paris and Bellagio, and the former was our favourite. We had dinner one night at the buffet at Harrah’s and it was awful- definitely not worth the money. Our second dinner was at In-N-Out (in the courtyard behind the Linq hotel) and we loved it! We also ate at the Cheesecake Factory at the outlets, and you can never really go wrong with that! We also got candy from Hexx Chocolate & Confexxions every night… they have so much choice!

Recommended: In-N-Out and Hexx Chocolate & Confexxions.

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What we did: We mostly spent our time strolling through the different hotels and doing some shopping at the outlets. Some of the hotels have such cool decorations. We did the roller coaster at New York, New York which was fun, but it definitely shook us a lot. Now that I look back on it, it doesn’t seem like we did much, but we literally stopped in every hotel on the strip. My brother went to see a show one night, so my mom and I spent a couple of hours playing the slot machines at the Bellagio.

Recommended: If you’re into jewelry-making, head to Discount Beads (4266 S Durango Dr. #G, Las Vegas, NV 89147, United States) for a great selection & prices!

Getting Around:Β We mostly stayed on the strip, but we did go to the outlets, as well as a craft store I had heard great reviews about and wanted to visit. We took the city bus both times and it went really well. The buses have screens that show you the upcoming stops, so it’s almost impossible to miss your stop (make sure you press the button to request it, though!).

Tip if you’re taking the city bus back from the North Premium Outlets: There are two stops and if you get on the first one (in the direction of the strip), you’ll be pretty much guaranteed a seat! We stood at the second one because it was the closest to the entrance/exit we came out of, and there were lots of people; it was a packed bus the entire way.

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Bellagio & Caesar’s Palace.
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New York New York Hotel.
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A display inside the Bellagio.

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Inside The Venetian Hotel.

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I hope you enjoyed this quick little recap!

Have you ever been to Vegas? If so, what’s your favourite thing to do or place to eat at?

Marilyn

 

Recap: Rethymno + Lake Kournas

Hi all,

I’m back with yet another recap post. This time, it’s our one day in Rethymno. If you read the post from July 20th (if you haven’t, you should go do that now and come back!), you know that we were in Chania for 3 days before going to Rethymno.

**You must rent a car on the island, the drives are so beautiful. The drive from Chania to Rethymno was the most scenic and impressive. There were massive mountains all around us, at certain points we felt like we were in the Swiss Alps, it was incredible!**

We didn’t really have concrete plans for what to do in Rethymno, but we knew that we wanted to stop somewhere on the way. We chose to go to Lake Kournas and we are SO glad we did it. I was a little bit hesitant at first to go here, because the pictures online didn’t seem that great but it quickly turned into one of my favourite places we visited on the trip.

Lake Kournas is a freshwater lake nestled in the mountains. It’s quite large; about 1km in diameter and the water is a deep blue that I’ve never seen before. The edges of the lake are turquoise, due to the shallow sand. We rented a pedal boat for 2 hours and went around the lake. We stopped a couple of times to swim. It was such an amazing experience. The water was a little chilly, but we quickly got used to it. There was something so magical about swimming in this lake, with the mountains surrounding us. We kept looking over at each other and telling each other just how beautiful it was.

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After our time there, we drove to the city of Rethymno. We circled around for parking, and after finally finding some, we lugged our suitcases to our hotel, which was about a 10 minute walk.

We stayed at Casa Vitae and we are so glad that we did. After staying 3 nights in a very small room, with barely any hot water, it was so nice to come into this big, comfortable and luxurious room. The staff was so nice and the grounds were beautiful, we felt like we were staying in a whimsical garden. We had breakfast at the hotel the next day (it was included in the price of the room) and it was delicious, there was so much food!

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This was the view from right outside our room.
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The courtyard.

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Breakfast area.
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Back gate.

After checking into the hotel, we walked around to go to the fortress. It was so impressive, there were so many structures. I found it quite fascinating to learn what each of them were used for. Plus, the view from up there was amazing, we got to see the reflection of the setting sun on the water.

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View from the top of the fortress.

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As per our hotel’s recommendation, we had dinner at Othonas and it was the best meal we had on this trip. I had the Pastitsio, and Michael had the Lamb stamna, which he still raves about.

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My pastitsio and Michael’s lamb stamna.

After dinner, we got a Nutella crepe and explored the town. I initially thought it looked very similar to Chania because of the lighthouse and harbour, but the vibe was very different. There was a street lined with palm trees and I felt like I was somewhere very tropical. It was really beautiful.

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Harbour.
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Lighthouse.
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Harbour.

I hope you enjoyed reading this!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Marilyn

Why You Should Do Things That Scare You

Hi all,

Today I wanted to discuss something that has become important to me in the last few months: doing things that scare you. I’ve always been confused about what to do with my life but it hit me particularly hard at the beginning of this year.

I made the decision to withdraw from my classes midway through my semester and take a break. Although it was frightening, it was exactly what I needed: to re-charge and focus on what my next step would be, school wise. It ultimately led me to find another program that I think I will really enjoy.

A few months after making this change in school, I made the decision to quit my part time job. I was working in customer service and found it extremely stressful. Although everyone tells you to not take it personally, at some point, I just realized that I didn’t want to be stressed out over a part time job, I have the rest of my life & career to do that ;). So after a lot of thought, I decided to quit. For me, this was scary, as I had worked nonstop since I was sixteen. This was quite a higher paying job than my previous ones, so I was terrified of leaving and not having a steady income. But I did it, and it led me to discover so much and gave me the time to start a couple projects that I’m very, very excited about.

All this thinking led me to come up with reasons as to why we should do things that scare us.

  1. You’ll discover new things about yourself: When thrown into a situation you’ve never been in before, you’ll have to adapt and make decisions that you’ve never thought you’d ever have to. You’ll most likely be surprised at the decisions that you make, giving you lots of insight as to the kind of person you are becoming.
  2. You’ll learn what you’re capable of: You never know until you try. Whether it be jumping off a cliff or quitting your much hated job, you will find out what your mind and body are capable of doing, when put to the test. For me, quitting my part time job and finding something I was passionate about lead me to see that I actually was capable of starting a business, something I had wanted to do (but was afraid of) for quite a while.
  3. You might find your passion and discover what you love/hate: You might end up loving or hating that thing you did, but at least you’ll know where you stand on that front. You will then be able to base your next move on this and tailor your life according to your new-found knowledge of yourself. Also, although this might not apply to every situation, you might end up finding your passion and at the very least, how you’ll be able to enrich your life through that passion.
  4. If you don’t do it, you might miss out on a great opportunity: Sure, you might do it and fail, but at least you will have tried. What if something great ends up coming of it? You wouldn’t have found that until you tried.

At the end of the day, (as cheesy as it sounds) we only have one life to live. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather step out of my comfort zone and try new things that might lead me to discover something great (or not), rather than do nothing and later have regrets.

What do you think?

Marilyn

Elafonisi Beach, Crete

Hi all,

Today I’m sharing a recap of our day trip to Elafonisi beach on the island of Crete.IMG_5632

After a couple days of exploring, we were really excited to finally get a beach day, but it didn’t go exactly as we had thought it would.

We were staying in Chania and decided to drive there ourselves, which took about 2 hours. We didn’t know this, but we had to drive through the mountains for about 40 minutes. This was 40 minutes of winding roads, the road being so narrow in some spots that only one car could fit. Also, there were barely any rails on the side of the road and if there were, it was definitely not enough to stop a car from falling over. Needless to say, we got really nervous driving here and we were just really thankful that we had cars both ahead and behind us.

When we finally made it, we got 2 chairs under an umbrella, which cost us 8 euros. It was extremely windy, so windy that we couldn’t just leave our towels on the chairs, we needed something heavy to hold them down.

We tried going into the water a few times but despite what it may look like on pictures, the water was freezing. We didn’t even make it in past our waists, we were just too cold.

Also, this really is our fault, but towards the end of the afternoon, we decided to get some drone footage. We must have been out in the sun for a good hour, and we got so burnt. The tops of our feet and the back of our legs got the worse of it. We were burnt for the rest of the trip, which was slightly annoying because we had to be super vigilant about our sunscreen application.

Apart from all this, our day was great! The beach was breathtaking, definitely the nicest one I’ve ever been to. Despite not really being able to swim as much as we would have liked, I’m really glad we got to see it.IMG_5658IMG_5647IMG_5665IMG_5634IMG_5653


Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think down below! πŸ™‚

Have a great weekend!

Marilyn

Recap: Chania, Crete

Hi all,

I’m so excited to share the first “recap” post of our trip to Greece. In these recaps, I’ll be sharing what we did, where we stayed, where we ate, along with loads of pictures! They won’t be travel guides per se, as I don’t think we know enough of each city to really be able to give a “professional” opinion.

Let’s start with the few days we spent in Chania, on the island of Crete. We stayed in the old town and it was seriously beautiful. It’s filled with narrow, cobblestone streets and colourful houses. It actually reminded us of Italy.

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I’ll start with a general overview of our stay and will then go more into day by day details.

Where we stayed:

Room Honeymoon. We had the room on the ground floor (there are only 2 rooms in this hotel) and it was very small. We couldn’t comfortably move around the room if our suitcases were open on the ground. However, for $50 per night, we couldn’t really argue. It was in a prime location and was so affordable.IMG_5424

What we did:Β 

  • Visiting the old town, stroll through the harbour
  • Venetian lighthouse
  • Ancient Aptera + Fortress
  • Elafonisi beach

Where we ate:

  • Breakfast: Kormoranos Cafe and Bakery. This cafe was a 30 second walk down the street from our hotel so it was super convenient to have breakfast here. We ate here twice.

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    This is “the view” from the cafe.
  • Dinner: Β –Lithos Restaurant: Facing the harbour. It was tasty but seriously overpriced. Palazzo Almare: Facing the harbour. We had the seafood platter and while some fish was good, we didn’t enjoy all of it, and it Β was very expensive. Semiranos: This one was tucked into tiny streets but it was very good. We had the Cretan pies as a starter and it was probably the best appetizer we had on our entire trip. It was stuffed with spinach and feta, but it had a different shape than the normal spanakopita.
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    The Cretan pies.

     

We also ate gelato every night

Now I’ll go a bit more into detail and our thoughts on this city.

Day 1:

We landed in Chania in the late afternoon and picked up the car at the airport. We rented a car for our 5 days on Crete and I would highly recommend this, especially if you want to see multiple cities (and you most likely want to, since it’s a really big island!).

We drove into Chania and found public parking right down the street from our hotel. We used the car every day and never had an issue finding parking when we came back in the afternoon.

It was raining that day so we just spent the evening walking around the harbour, going to the light house, and just visiting. Dinner: Lithos Restaurant.

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The Old Venetian Harbour.

Day 2:

Breakfast:Β Kormoranos Cafe and Bakery.

We didn’t really have a set plan for the entire island of Crete, so on our first full day in Chania, we decided on a whim to go to the Ancient Aptera. It’s basically Roman ruins, but not nearly as well preserved as in Rome. Some of the structures were very impressive, but the sight itself was kind of an eyesore. There is a theatre, which is nicely preserved though. We also visited a fortress that’s about a one minute drive away from the Aptera.

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The theatre.
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The fortress.
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View from the cliff next to the fortress.

After our time here, we drove back towards Chania and had to stop at a small shopping mall in the beach town of Platanias for some new shoes for Michael, his had gotten completely ruined somehow.

We spent the rest of the day walking around the old town of Chania and doing a little bit of shopping. We tried going to a couple of the museums in town but they were very small and we didn’t really feel like paying for something that would take us 20 minutes to visit.

Dinner:Β Semiranos (this was our favourite dinner in Chania!)

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Day 3:

Breakfast: Starbucks… We really wanted Crepes but the crepe restaurant only opened at 5pm (?!) and we wanted something quick, so this was our only choice…

Lunch: We went to the supermarket the day before and made salami sandwiches.

We went to Elafonisi beach, but I will be doing a whole post just for that beach, as the whole day was a really interesting experience! Once we got back from the beach, we had dinner at Palazzo Almare and just walked around.Β IMG_5428IMG_5429

Day 4:

Breakfast:Β Kormoranos Cafe and Bakery.

We started our drive toward Rethymnon and decided to stop at Lake Kournas, which was probably the best idea we had on the entire trip! Once again though, I will be going into more details about Lake Kournas in my next Greece recap post: Rethymnon.


I hope you enjoyed reading this! Let me know what you thought by leaving a comment down below πŸ™‚

Have a great weekend,

Marilyn