Santorini Sunset Cruise

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*Check out my video of our catamaran cruise here!*

One of the highlights and favorite things of my entire abroad experience was the sunset cruise my friends and I took in Santorini.  Once we arrived in Santorini and saw all the storefronts trying to sell sailing cruises we were really interested in doing one but figured that we wouldn’t be able to afford it.  We stopped in at several different tour companies and finally said what the heck we have to do it.  We booked through Sunset Oia and did a semi-private tour meaning that we did not have the entire boat to ourselves but would be sharing it with about 15 other people. Being college students studying abroad we were on a budget but willing to splurge a little and this was a great option!  Because we were still off season for Santorini the sales guy at Sunset Oia gave us a really great deal! We couldn’t pass up such a memorable experience.

We were a little worried about the weather since it can be hit or miss during this time of year but the weather gods were on our sides because we ended up having a hot sunny day!! The Sunset Oia van picked us up at our hotel at about 12 pm and drove us across the island where we would be embarking on our catamaran.

When we arrived we put our shoes into baskets and climbed onboard the most beautiful catamaran.  I felt like I was dreaming.  We all gathered in the cabin while we taxied out of the harbor and were informed of the safety rules.  We were then given free reign of the boat.  The crew served us Greek wine while we laid out on the front of the catamaran.  We were all in heaven and pinching ourselves asking if this was real life.

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When the boat docked for lunch we decided that we had to go swimming.  I mean we were in Greece and were being provided snorkel gear how could we not?!  The other guests on boat and the crew thought we were slightly crazy for jumping in and swimming around but I have to say we were in for a good 30 minutes and I could have stayed in longer.  The water was so clear and fish were swimming around I honestly didn’t know how life could be much better than in that moment.

The captain then called us in to eat.  We were served the most delicious assortment of traditional Greek foods.  The meal was delicious and it was really nice getting to try some local cuisine. We then set sail again for the hot springs.  Since we had dried off and the sun was starting to sink a little it was starting to get a little chilly so we decided against jumping in again.

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Finally we arrived at Oia, the tip of the island and where the sun sinks into the water on the horizon.  We had a great view of the sunset and my friends and I sat in awe of the beauty reflecting on such a fabulous day.

When the sun finally sank into the inky black water we headed to shore where were got a van back to our hotel.  Taking the sunset tour was such an incredible experience and so worth every penny.  It was so fun and so relaxing at the same time.  It is a memory I will have and look back on for the rest of my life.

To see how we spent the day here is my go pro video recap of our week in Greece!

xo,
H

Greek Getaway: Santorini

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Oh Santorini.  Photos do not even do this beautiful island justice.  For our second part of spring break my friends and I headed down to Santorini after a wonderful few days on Corfu (read that article here!)

But let me back up a little.  Before we even arrived in Santorini we had to spend the night in the Athens airport.  There is a first for everything isn’t there!? It was so eery being in the airport into the wee hours of the morning without the normal rush of travelers.  It was quite the experience to say the least but not as bad as I thought it was going to be haha

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We took an early flight to Santorini arriving on the island at 8 am.  It was a chilly, overcast day which actually turned out perfectly because all we wanted to do was to shower and take a long nap.  When we arrived at the village entrance to our bed and breakfast we lugged our heavy bags along a long and winding stone walkway only to find out the owner would have brought his donkey out to pick us up.  We were slightly disappointed that we would not be living out our Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants dream but I think we saved that donkey’s back from all of our heavy luggage 😉

The place we stayed at was the cutest.  It was your typical cave style suite.  It was more like a bed and breakfast.  We had our own room which they came in and tidied up and cleaned each day and each morning they left a picnic basket pull of delicious foods for us each morning to snack on throughout the day.  I loved our location (in a little village 5 min. from Oia!) and would 100% go back and stay there again.

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When we were finally able to enter the rooms we jacked up the heat, each took nice long showers and then crawled into bed to take a nap.  I was out when my head hit the pillow,  and when I woke up several hours later I felt like a new person.  Even though it wasn’t the greatest day we decided to make the most of it and headed out in search of some Greek food.  We stumbled upon this Greek tapas restaurant where we sat on the rooftop overlooking the sea and ate the most delicious food.  We tried all of the tradition dishes and devoured everything.  We then browsed the countless shops that lined the street making wish lists to come back for later in the week.

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The next day we went to Fira (aka Thira)  Funny story.  We took the public bus to save money and when we were on the bus we were having a loud conversation about which stop we should get off, Fira or Thira.  Later we come to find out they are the same place, one is the greek way of spelling.  People must have thought we were idiots!  It was another slightly overcast day but it was still so fun to explore the streets.  We got lost and hit quite a few dead end streets but that is how you truly get to experience a place right?! 😉  Each of my friends and I bought greek leather sandals in a cute little shop and a bunch of other souvenirs.  I could have bought so much stuff but my suitcase was already stuffed to the gills. Later that afternoon we showered, got dressed up, did our hair and makeup and set out to get some good sunset photos and groups pics.  We found a prime location with great lighting and proceeded to have a little photo shoot. We then headed over to the tip of Oia to catch the sun sinking into the water on the horizon.  The place was packed and I don’t even want to think about how crazy it must get during peek season. We then headed back to our rooms where we decided to stay in and cook at our place.  We spent the night drinking wine and watching Momma Mia.

Our third day we did a Sunset cruise on a catamaran so be on the lookout for a separate post tomorrow.  So I am not going to get into that here.

IMG_8361.JPGHere is a little sneak peak 😉

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Our final day in Santorini we woke up and decided to take advantage of the beautiful day and lay out on the rooftop deck to catch some rays.  Those times laying out and just talking and hanging are some of my favorite memories.  We wanted to catch one last sunset in the most beautiful place before we had to head back to reality so we headed into Oia.  We had a farewell dinner and then just walked the streets trying to take everything in.  When we finally got back to our rooms we began to pack and the power went out. Like not just our hotel but the entire freaking island! It was really scary because it was pitch black.  We used our phone lights so we wouldn’t be sitting in complete darkness and it was a good 30 minutes before the lights came back on. Whew!

It was an early bed time because we had an early flight back to Athens and a long day of travel ahead of us.  (My friends and I were all on different flights. Luckily I was with one of my friends where we made three connections to get home! Santorini –> Athens –> Milan –> Barcelona –> Madrid! See told ya it was a long day!) To make it worse it was Easter Sunday ( My easter dinner consisted of McDonalds for lunch in Athens and McDonalds for dinner in Barcelona! #gourmet) But I wouldnt have changed the trip for anything!

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Santorini was truly breathtaking and everything and more about what I thought it would be.  My friends and I did not want to leave.  We kept trying to hatch ideas of ways we could justify missing our flights and stay!  It was the perfect place to spent spring break and one of my favorite trips from my entire time abroad.  And the people I spent it with only made it more memorable and special!

Sorry for the long post! If you ever get the chance to go to Santorini jump on it because it was a stunning place and so magical.  Also I highly recommend staying in or near Oia and also going off season because it is so much more quaint and less touristy during that time!

xo,
H

 

Greece Getaway: Corfu

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Spring break 2017 was one for the books.  My friends and I decided at the beginning of the semester that we wanted a relaxing, warm destination for our spring break.  We had all dreamed of visiting Greece and figured this week and a half we had off would be the perfect time to do it.  Let me tell you, it took a lot of planning and flight watching and research and deciding to get this trip to happen.  And to only complicate things even more it was Holy Week (Easter week) so everyone in Europe was off on holiday.  But we did, we pulled the trigger and paid a little bit more than we were hoping but we figured, hey this is a once in a lifetime trip!  I will say I was a little skeptical that it was all going to work out and that the weather was going to cooperate but all the worry was for nothing because it was truly a trip of a lifetime.

(side note: here is my video recap of the entire trip! It is one of my favorite videos yet if I do say so myself 😉

One of my friends and I had spent a few days in Rome before heading to Greece so we met my roommates in Athens.  We then took a (long) bus ride to the coast, then hopped on a ferry for two hours to get to our first stop in Corfu.  It was a planes, cars, buses and ferries adventure haha.

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The first part of our Greece Getaway we had known all along we were going to stay at the Pink Palace in Corfu (Yes everything at the resort is pink!! swoon!).  This place is legendary.  My Dad stayed there in the late 80s! The Pink Palace is a mix between a hostel and motel.  It is no 5 star hotel by any means but for college students studying abroad it was paradise.  My friends and I were all able to stay in the same room and breakfast was included! And for a (very) small extra cost dinner would be provided too. I mean this deal couldn’t be beat.

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After a wild ride along the mountain side we arrived to The Pink Place.  We were greeted with welcome shots of a famous Greek alcohol called ouzo.  It was definitely an interesting stay but one full of so many memories and stories we will be telling forever.  We contemplated exploring the island or downtown but once we went to the beach the following morning we were hooked on staying and just relaxing on the deck above the rocky beach below us.  The views of the water were truly stunning.

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Because it was considered off season there was hardly anyone there while we were so it was as if we had the entire place to ourselves.  After a crazy busy last few months of traveling and go-go-going lifestyle it was so nice to finally be in a place where we could just relax and soak up some much needed rays.  Our three days on Corfu consisted of laying out, napping, reading, walking the beach and swimming.  People thought we were crazy to swim but I didn’t think the water was that cold! Oh and the water was soo clear and salty!

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Also the Greek sun is so strong! We all overcommitted in the tanning department day one and ended up looking like tomatoes with the sun burns we had.  Lets just say we had to venture down the road to the market to pick up some aloe and some stronger SPF sunscreen.

We were going to take the bus and ferry back to Athens where we would be catching our next flight but last minute found a cheap flight that would only be about 15 dollars more than the bus and it gave us an extra day at the beach! Score! (the only downside…we would be spending the night in the airport…but more on that later 😉

Our three days on the Greek Island of Corfu were just what we needed mid semester.  It was so nice to catch up on sleep and just relax.  My friends and I made so many amazing and hilarious memories.  One of them being singing the Momma Mia soundtrack nonstop because we were in Greece!

Stay tuned for the next installment of my Greek Getaway tomorrow!

Thanks for reading!

xo,
H

My favorite Clothing Stores in Spain

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(Skirt is from Mulaya; Purse is from Mulaya; Shoes are from Primark)

The shopping in Europe, especially Madrid is like no other.  Being a bigger city, Madrid has anything and everything you could ever want.  It was actually quite dangerous guys…and I am not usually one to spend money shopping.  But these stores were just too good and the deals just couldn’t be beat!

Mulaya

This store was by far one of my favorite stores in all of Madrid.  Being a chain there were locations all over the city and I am embarrassed to say I hit almost every single one.  There was a store located just a 15 minute walk from my apartment and my roommates and I would always reward ourselves after studying with a trip to Mulaya! They had the absolute cutest things, I literally couldn’t walk out of the store without purchasing something.  It was an actual issue!  Also the prices could not be beat! I had to resist myself constantly because the prices were that good.

 

Primark

Just think of this as the forever 21 of europe but 100 times better.  I know how can that be?! But just trust me on this one.  The store located in Gran Via in Madrid was 5 stories and would take me at least two hours to thoroughly go through the store.  While I tried to pack almost everything I would need in the four months I would be in Europe I was bound to forget something and this was the place to go when I realized I was missing an item.  An extra pair of pajamas to wear while mine were in the wash…6 euro for a matching fleece set.  Bathing suit tops for spring break were 4 euro! I mean I felt like I was committing robbery! I even comteplated buying an extra suitcase to fill and bring back with me, but I resisted.  But dont worry friends. I did some extensive research and actually discovered there are a few Primark east coast locations, in Boston and Connecticut.  They also offer limited items online so check it out!

 

Zara

Zara is another spanish store that has become super popular in America.  It is a little more pricey than the other stores I loved but you could definitely find great deals and sales.  Zara is also more high fashion items that make a statement.  They offer shipping to the united states and have stores here in America in a lot of big males and in major cities!

 

Mango

This Spanish store is very comparable to the H&M of Spain.  They have super cute and trendy pieces that are a bit better quality than the more inexpensive stores.  This items are a little bit more classy or more grown up than say the items in Mulaya which I really loved.

 

Pull and Bear

This store is sort of like the American Eagle of Spain.  The clothing are geared to young adult audience and my friends and I found so many cool items with unique details special to Pull and Bear.  When I visited Spain in high school this was my favorite store, however, I feel like now the items are a little bit trendier than I remember them being.

 

Honorable Mentions:

-Stratvarious
-Bershka
-H&M
-Springfield
-Lefties

Have you ever been to any of these stores?! Do you have a favorite store that is not on this list? I would love to know!

xo,
H

 

 

Rockport adventures

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(This building is called the Motif #1..It is the most painted building in America)

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This past weekend my family and I headed up to Rockport Massachusetts to visit my brother’s roommate and his family.  Over the last two years our family has gotten close with my brother’s roommate’s family so we were invited up to stay with them for the weekend.  They were the best hosts and showed us the grand tour of all of Cape Ann.

The first day we arrived we did some damage shopping on Bearskin Neck.  A famous street in Rockport with adorable shops and local artisans.  Actually funny story…but also super embarrassing.  So we arrive to my brother’s roommate’s house and I can’t find my suitcase anywhere.  I could have sworn I saw it in the trunk when we pulled out of the driveway buttttt low and behold I come to realize I left my bag at home (how does that happen you may ask…good question)  I swear, I was so good Abroad, never forgetting a single thing and then I come home and forget my ENTIRE bag for the weekend.  So looks like shopping spree for me! (JK but I did buy a really cute Rockport t-shirt to wear as a pajama top for the weekend).  Luckily there was a Marshalls down the road to pick up some underwear, a bathing suit and another shirt to wear for the weekend.  Double lucky for me my mom way over packed in the clothes department so I just borrowed from her for the other things I needed (Love you mom…thanks for being the same size as me 😉

So after the suitcase fiasco got straightened out we got onto the fun stuff. Saturday morning we did the grand tour of Rockport where we visited the quarries (unfortunately it was too cold to swim..) which were so beautiful.  We saw all the famous lookout spots and beaches and even took a boat ride on a fun little party boat.  It was really cool to get to see Cape Ann from the water.  I also couldn’t resist snapping photos of all the beautiful boats and housing lining the water.  That night we headed out for Mexican and there was a really fun block party occurring in downtown Gloucester.

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I am telling you this weekend was quintessential New England.  This area, known as Cape Ann, is an island where Rockport and Gloucester are located.  It is that type of small town where everyone knows everyone and it was so funny seeing our friends greet so many people while were were out and about.  I felt like I was in the set of a movie (fun fact: the movie The Perfect Storm is a true story about a huge storm and a fishing boat from Gloucester…our friend’s cousin unfortunately was on the boat and was played by Marc Walberg.  The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds is also filmed in Rockport!)

It was a fabulous and relaxing weekend filled with good food, friends, fun.  I snapped way too many photos and had the best time exploring another coastal New England town.

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Thanks for reading,

xo,
H

When in Rome

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For my first leg of spring break my friend Katie and I headed to Rome.  We decided to skip a day of classes and start our spring break a little early 😉 In all honesty I wasn’t planning on heading to Italy at all.  I had decided that I wanted to do Italy right and a weekend here or there wasn’t going to do the beautiful country justice.  I was just going to save Italy for another time.  However, after looking at the cheapest flights to get to our final destination, Greece, we found that the cheapest way to do it would be to stop in Rome! I was excited that I would get a little taste of Italy in the two short days I was there.

(Check out my recap video here!! In the comments below tell me if you know what movie the songs I used for the video are from!)

Our trip got off to a rocky start when my friend almost missed our flight out of Madrid! I was freaking out a little (typical) but she made it!! And our luck than began to look up when we were randomly given the exit aisle seats on a Ryanair plane (if any of you know Ryanair you will understand my excitement!!) Yay extra leg room!  We landed in Rome late Wednesday night and headed to our hotel.  We actually stayed at the Generator Hostel group.  They are a super trendy really chic hostel and my friend and I ended up booking a private room so it felt like we were in a hotel!

We decided to sleep in a little the next day, getting up at 9 am.  We then quickly got ready and headed out the door.  We wanted to walk to Vatican City so we just sort of began heading in that direction.  We stumbled upon a little street market set up and bought some delicious fresh fruit for breakfast.  It was a bit of a walk from our hotel to Vatican City so when we finally made it we were pretty hungry.  We made the rookie mistake and ate at what was probably a touristy restaurant but you live and you learn haha.  We then waited in line for a little so we could explore Saint Peter’s Basilica.  This church was truly stunning.  After spending some time there we made our way out and actually ran into people from our University in madrid! They were with a friend who was studying abroad in Rome so he gave us some restaurant recommendations.

My friend and I spent the rest of the day wandering around Rome hitting some of the sights and eating a few gelatos while doing it (I mean when in Rome 😉 you can never  have too much gelato!)

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We headed to one of the restaurants that our friend had recommended. As soon as we made it the skies opened up and it began to pour.  We lucked out and grabbed one of the last tables inside.  One sort of awkward thing was that in these little restaurants they place you at the same table as another party of people.  So we were seated next to this couple.  We said hello and both kind of agreed how odd it was that they did this but it ended up being such a lovely dinner.  The husband and wife were so friendly and gave us so much great wisdom and life advice and my friend and I really enjoyed their company (and the delicious Italian food too 😉  When the rain finally let up we started to head back to our hotel.  It was a bit of a walk but we decided to save money on cabs and wander the streets.  I mean that is how you truly experience a city!

Oh I can’t forget!! On the same street as the restaurant I stumbled upon this adorable shop called Antica Sartoria.  Lets just say this place is a boho mermaid loving girl’s heaven.  There was just so much eye candy in this store and it was closing in 15 minutes that I couldnt focus! I ended up purchasing a scarf (for 10 euro!) and a really fun necklace for (8 euro!) The scarf is actually pictured in a bunch of these photos because I just couldn’t resist wearing it the next day 😉  Amy from I Believe in Pink and Rhiana from    Wear Bows and Smile have talked about discovering this brand on their travels to Italy recently too! I looked into it and there is actually a store in Palm Beach! Sorry I digress 😉

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Our second and last day in Rome we decided to hit a bunch of the must dos in Rome.  We went to these ancient Roman bath ruins which was really cool to walk through.  We then made our way to the Colosseum.  My friend and I ended up paying to go in and I have to say I was a little unimpressed.  I guess I had just hyped it up in my head so much.  It was still cool to see but I would say that if you are short on time than you can skip this.  After exploring the Roman Forum a little it was 2 pm and we hadn’t eaten anything all day.  I was hangry to say the least but I was also on antibiotics so I had to eat something before I took my medicine.  We ended up stumbling upon this outdoor cafe where my friend and I split a caprese salad and each ordered our own pizzas.  We then headed to the the Pantheon and the trevi fountain to get that Lizzie McGuire shot 😉 and finally to the Spanish steps to have some gelato.

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We spent the rest of our last day just wandering the streets of Rome (okay and shopping for Italian leather purses too 😉  I also had to stop into my new favorite store from the night before one more time just to be sure I didn’t need anything else haha.  I almost bought a cute purse and another scarf but my suitcase was already busting at the seams so I resisted ( I know I have extreme self control 😉

For dinner that night we ate at the same restaurant as the night before ( I know we were so adventurous but hey it must have meant it was good!) My friend and I split a dish since we had a big lunch and decided to get Cannolis and gelato to enjoy back in the hotel room.  Lets just say that Rome isn’t known for their cannolis (not the best I have ever had) butttt the chocolate gelato I had was as if I died and went to heaven.  Maybe one of the best things to have ever touched my mouth ( I am not exaggerating!)  I have decided that when you are in Italy it is socially acceptable to have gelato at least twice a day…I think it actually should be a rule!

We then headed back to our room, packed and hit the hay because we had a 3 am wake up call to catch our flight to GREECE!!!  It was a great two days full of great food and great memories and now that I have a taste of Italy (no pun intended) I have a itch to go back and explore even more of the country!

If you made it through this post and are still reading props to you.  That was a long recap.    Anyways if you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email or dm me on instagram (@haleyonthedailyblog)

Ciao for now!

xo,
H

Walks on the beach

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One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to take long walks on the beach at low tide out on the sand flats.  Low tide is my favorite time of day at the beach.  The tide goes out revealing rippled sand riddled with sea shells.  I love walk up and down these flats collecting shells while also getting some steps in for the day.

There is just something so therapeutic about this for me.  It as if as soon as I get out on these sand flats all of my worries melt away and I just instantly relax.

However, my absolute favorite times out on the sand flats are when it is still a little foggy out early in the morning.  There are not many people and it feels like I have the whole place to myself. These photos were taken when the sun was beginning to burn off the fog but the haze hanging over the sand and water just looks so majestical.

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On these mornings when it is low tide I like to throw on a comfy pullover and a pair of shorts.  Will you believe me when I say that I scored this adorable stripped pullover from Benny’s (sort of like a walmart but on a smaller scale) for only $7!! I mean you can’t beat that! My mom even went back to our local Benny’s to pick up one for herself and they were all sold out.  Good thing I snatched mine up while I did! I know that it will be my new go too for walks on the beach.

I know Vineyard Vines makes pullovers like this that are very similar so I would suggest checking them out if you are on the hunt for something similar!

Thanks for reading.  Does anyone else have a story about a steal they found recently!? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

xo,
H