ONYEKA & MIKE UGWU: A Trip To Santorini
(as narrated by Onyeka Ugwu).
Newlyweds, Onyeka and Mike Ugwu, share fond memories of their honeymoon to the island of Santorini in Greece.
I had no idea where we were going. Earlier, I had told my husband, Mike, that I wanted our honeymoon to be a pleasant surprise and I trusted him to deliver. He was the mastermind behind everything. I didn’t have any particular expectations but I certainly knew he was up to the [task]. There were times when I’d get really curious and ask him where our honeymoon destination was and he’d just plainly tell me Wales. He would then add that the biggest Tesco is in Wales and that I was going to like it. I never believed the Tesco story anyway, but I knew that wherever it was we were going, there was going to be sand, water and sun so I packed accordingly. I was so excited to be making our first trip as a newly married couple.
After the wedding, we went straight into our honeymoon. We basically drove right from the wedding venue to the hotel at Heathrow Airport for an early flight the next morning. Our wedding was on June 9 and we landed in Santorini the morning of June 10. It was about a 4-hour long direct flight from London, with British Airways. Throughout the flight, the pilot kept mentioning ‘Thera’ which I’d never heard of before; I clearly knew we weren’t going to Wales but I still had no clue where in the world we were going until we landed in Thera, which I would then learn is the traditional name for Santorini.
It was our first time in Greece but Europe wasn’t foreign to us as a couple. We’d been to France and The Netherlands a couple of times and we had earlier planned for the wedding to be held in Paris but changed our minds to London at the last minute. But Santorini was different.
A very small intimate Island on the Aegean Sea, Santorini was not the typical European city. Upon our arrival, we got a very warm reception from the sun. It was early summer in London and leaving behind the rain and cold weather felt really good. We learned that the city welcomes about 5,000 people everyday via air and sea, so the locals were very used to receiving and entertaining international visitors. Communication was easy and there was no language barrier; tourism is the lifeblood of the island so speaking English is imperative for all inhabitants. The whole city was geared up to the tourist market and I must say that the general reception was the best of pleasant.
We stayed at The Mystique Luxury Collection Hotel in Oia. We were advised to rent a car as there were limited taxis and no Uber on the island. Renting a car also made it easy to find activities on the other side of the island as well as coming and going as we pleased throughout the day. For activities, we took clues from TripAdvisor and a company called Uncharted Escapes.
Everyday we spent on the island was special. Very special. There were honestly too many beautiful moments that it is difficult to pick one that stands out. It was an action-packed week to say the least. There were lots of water sports and loads of interesting activities for the adventurous traveller. Waking up every morning and looking at the white cliffs over the bay was breathtakingly beautiful. The city is such a unique, picturesque place that it was almost impossible to stop taking pictures of the scenery.
The people of Thera have a very rich culture; the island is actually an active volcano, which erupted years ago to create the Santorini that is so famous today. There is a myth that the destruction of the Island is associated with “The Legend of the Atlantis”; the city under the sea.
The food did not lack any bit of sensation too. You just cannot beat the traditional Greek salad. The cuisine was very Mediterranean, with lots of flavor and beautiful, tasty spices. Portions are also very healthy so get ready to add some weight during your holiday if you’re not careful.
We also took a ride to Fira, Akrotiri, Caldera as well as other places on the island of Thera. It is a really small island, so you can literally drive from end to end in a few hours. We didn’t get a chance to visit other parts of Greece but next time we will definitely visit Ithaca and Mykonos.
At the end of our honeymoon, we parted with some souvenirs, which will remain treasured pieces of memory for us: the Santorini fridge magnets, a bottle of sweet wine from the oldest family-owned winery in Santorini (The Venetsanos Winery), and a praying rosary from the Monastery. And lots and lots of amazing pieces of memories too.
The seven nights we spent in Santorini were a memorable blend of romantic, bonding, luxurious, relaxing and adventurous. It was such a beautiful start to our life as a married couple. My husband lived up to his name – Mr Magic – as he always does and I will always cherish this wonderful memory.
If you’re planning on visiting Santorini for the first time as a couple, the best time to visit is between June and August when the weather is at its best. Hire a car because there are limited taxis. Check out the quad bikes (make sure you get a 450cc). Take a sunset sailing cruise with dinner. Visit the Open Air Cinema and the Venetsanos Winery (lots of history and great wine). For the best views and an uber romantic trip, make sure you stay in Oia. You can check out Uncharted Escapes to make your visit more exciting.
One more thing – we’re definitely going back!