Welcome to yet another edition of Pause The Momentos, a monthly wrap up with a bunch of short excerpts, funny stories and interesting moments from my daily life as I follow my dreams and pursue my goal of living life to the fullest — all day, every day.


Did you read last months edition of Pause The Momentos? If not, check it out here.


View of Santorini and the Greek Flag Waving

MOM VISITS GREECE!

My mother had wanted to visit Greece ever since the day I surprised her with a large canvas print of the sunset in Oia, Santorini, one of the most famous sunset spots in the world.

As many of you know, I spent quite a bit of time in Greece this past summer. After settling into my apartment in Athens back in mid-August, I decided what better time to invite my mom to come visit me. She’s been dreaming of visiting Greece for years now.

So I flew her to Greece.

She arrived in Athens on September 7th. It had been almost 6 months since I had seen her last. Since it was her first evening in town and she was tired from her flight, I decided to take her out for a nice dinner in the city. After dinner we stopped into Bretto’s, one of my favorite bars in Athens, for a couple glasses of wine to put an end to a long day of travel.

Note: Don’t miss Bretto’s. It’s the oldest distillery in Athens! Wine, Ouzo, Absinthe. They have it all.

The following morning we woke up bright and early, had breakfast and we were out the door before 9AM. Our mission was to beat the stifling mid-day temperatures of Athens in early September and beat the crowds of tourists that flock to the Acropolis each morning.

Athens - Acropolis

We took a nice long morning stroll from my apartment all the way up to the Acropolis and wandered around the parthenon before the hoards of tourists took over.

Athens - Acropolis - Parthenon Athens - Acropolis

After wandering around the Acropolis it was time to head to a cooler and quieter location. Just 5 minutes walking distance from the Acropolis is the world-renowned Acropolis Museum (officially opened to the public in 2009). This museum is an absolute must see for all visitors to Athens.

We visited both the Acropolis and the Acropolis Museum independently. If you’re interested in getting the full experience on a tour with a professional guide, click here for more info.

Firostefani - Santorini, Greece

Finding Paradise in Santorini

Who doesn’t love Santorini? From the incredible caldera views to the delicious food and some of the most famous sunsets in the world.

People have been raving about this Greek Island for years now and I’m here to tell you that it’s still as visually stunning as it was during my first visit back in 2010.

My mother and I spent three incredible nights in Dimitrios Cave House, a traditional cave home built into the side of the cliff overlooking the caldera in an area known as Firostefani.

Below, you can see how spacious our front terrace was. It was fully equipped with a table, 4 chairs, two sunbeds and an umbrella.

Firostefani - Santorini, Greece

Here’s a look at what it means to kick back and relax in Santorini. I remember this day like it was yesterday. This is the life right here!

Firostefani - Santorini, Greece

On two of the three nights in Santorini we poured ourselves glasses of wine and enjoyed the sunset from the comforts of our terrace.

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Fortunately, the sunset views from Firostefani are some of the best in Santorini. Of course, Oia is the number one spot to be for the sunset but what comes along with that is mass tourism, huge crowds, very little places to stand sit and heavy traffic coming back to Fira and Firostefani after the sun goes down.

Sunset Santorini, Greece

For us, relaxing at our little cave house with a bottle of wine and some music was just as good if not better than the braving the madness in Oia.

Firostefani - Santorini, Greece

After the sun sets and dusk settles in the white washed cliff side homes and hotels give off this beautiful glow.

Firostefani - Santorini, Greece

When in Santorini, I highly recommend you rent a motorbike or four-wheeler and explore the island. There are so many things to see and do.

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Red Beach - Santorini, Greece

You can visit some of the unique beaches on the island, stop off at a few of the view points for photo opportunities, go wine tasting at some of the many wineries on the island and so much more.

Santorini, Greece

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As I mentioned above, the sunsets in Oia are literally home to some of the most incredible sunsets I’ve ever witnessed. The only other place on Earth that I’ve seen a sunset that can live up to ones in Oia are the sunsets seen from the beaches of Koh Lanta, Thailand.

Oia Sunset - Santorini, Greece

Below you’ll see a photo of a man hanging octopus out to dry in Ammoudi Bay. Ammoudi bay is a small village located at sea level below the town of Oia. You can either take the 300 steps down to Ammoudi or drive down there yourself.

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Tip: If you walk the pathway that runs along the edge of Ammoudi Bay you’ll pass by a few fresh seafood restaurants on your left hand side. Keep walking the dirt path along the cliff side until you reach the swimming spot at the tip of Ammoudi. Don’t forget your swim trunks!

 

After a memorable 4-day stay in Santorini, it was time to jet off to our next destination.

Pyramids of Giza - Cairo, Egypt

SURPRISE TRIP TO EGYPT!

That’s right. I took my mother on her first ever trip to Egypt! This surprise trip to Egypt was a long time in the making. I had managed to lure my mother over to Greece (no luring was necessary, of course) but I wanted to her trip that much more memorable by surprising her with a 4-day trip to Egypt. I had been meticulously planning this trip and ironing out all the little details for weeks prior to her arrival to Greece. When she landed in Athens and we arrived to my apartment I said oh and by the way… guess who’s going to Egypt?

Here’s what we got up to over the course of 4 days in the bustling city of Cairo.

The first evening after being picked up from the airport by my good friend Ahmed we made our way over to Islamic Cairo for a traditional sufi dancing show. This is something I had experienced twice before on two separate trips to Egypt back in 2010 and 2011 but since it was my mothers first time in Egypt, I knew I had to give her the full experience and take her to a sufi show.

Tip: If you ever find yourself in Cairo and you’re wanting to experience a traditional show, head over to the Sufi show at the Al-Ghouri Caravansaray. Unfortunately, there’s not too much information online but here’s a decent resource.

Sufi Dancing - Cairo, Egypt

The following morning we met up with Gabry, my friend and professional Egyptian tour guide and he took us over to our first stop of the morning; The Great Pyramids of Giza, a place that my mother has always wanted to visit since seeing the photos from my first visit back in 2010.

Pyramids of Giza - Cairo, Egypt

When we pulled up to the Pyramids my mother was in complete awe. She couldn’t believe her eyes. She was really there standing directly in front of the Great Pyramids.

Pyramids of Giza - Cairo, Egypt

I can’t even begin to explain how happy I felt to have planned this amazing trip for my mother and I. As we all know, life is very short and to travel and experience unique destinations like this with people you love is truly an incredible feeling.

Pyramids of Giza - Cairo, Egypt

After wandering around the base of the Pyramids we hopped back in the van and Gabry took us over to a spot where you can view the three pyramids in the distance. This was a first for me and I couldn’t believe I had never been up to this viewpoint in past visits.

Pyramids of Giza - Cairo, Egypt

Pyramids of Giza - Cairo, Egypt

Pyramids of Giza - Cairo, Egypt

Pyramids of Giza - Cairo, Egypt

After taking a bunch of really fun photos we made our way back towards the pyramids to see the Sphinx.

Sphinx - Pyramids of Giza - Cairo, Egypt

Sphinx - Pyramids of Giza - Cairo, Egypt

After a long day of fun in the sun in Cairo, we made our way back to the city and made one more quick pit stop at the Egyptian Museum. Inside, we viewed some ancient artifacts, tombs and other insanely preserved antiquities.

Egyptian Museum

Overall, we had a great time exploring Cairo. Although the trip was quite short, it was almost too long to be spending in one city. Two to three days max in Cairo is sufficient for most visitors.

Note: If you’re interested in hiring a guide for your upcoming trip to Egypt, I can highly recommend and personally vouch for my friend Gabry. Genuine tour guides are hard to come by and I’m fortunate enough to know one personally. Gabry is a highly trusted, professional Egyptian tour guide that will go out of his way to make sure your trip to Egypt is a memorable one. For more information on Gabry, please feel free to reach out to me and I’ll provide you with his contact information.

And that’s a wrap! Hope you enjoyed this months edition of Pause The Momentos. If you did, please be sure to share it via Facebook, Twitter, E-mail, or word of mouth!