My 30th birthday in Santorini

Hello unplanned hiatus! Turns out that whilst I am great at scheduling content for whilst I’m away, apparently I’m not so good at picking up again once I return. Normal service will now be resumed!

As regular readers may know, because I wouldn’t shut up about it, I recently turned 30 and I was lucky enough to do so on the beautiful island of Santorini.

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and was lucky enough to do so in Santorini. This is what I got up to.

Now, I’m someone who typically isn’t bothered by birthdays and I don’t tend to make a big hue and cry about them. However, I figured I should make a bit more effort for my 30th. I don’t think turning 30 has any particular significance except that which you assign to it, so I decided to make my 30th symbolic for me. This is how I spent my day.

Santorini Sunrise

I’d heard the sunrises on Santorini were equally as spectacular as the sunsets, and I thought seeing the sun rise on my thirties would be quite cool.

One thing I learned is that it’s not that easy to predict where the sun is going to rise if you’re generally not up to watch it! If I’d been on my A game I’d have planned a little better but this was more of a spur of the moment decision…

We decided to watch the sunrise from a very glamorous car park where our hire car was parked. We thought it would have a clear view of the sunrise, which we figured would be over the water.

Actually the sun rose behind a hill. And the scenery was definitely not your typical Oia beauty – a desalination plant, plenty of telegraph poles, and our very attractive hire car.

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and was lucky enough to do so in Santorini. This is what I got up to.

Still, it’s not about whether it was picture perfect or not, it was the magic of standing in the stillness on the morning of my thirtieth, watching the sky gradually turn from milky white to light pink to orange before the sun finally broke free from behind a hill, and sharing that moment with my husband.

Breakfast with a view

Alright let’s be real, after watching the sunrise at 6am I went back to bed. I was on holiday after all.

Then my lovely husband surprised me by making me pancakes!

Let me set the scene – I’m coeliac, so he’d had to bring the flour with him. He was a bit worried about bringing an unlabelled bag of white powder onto a plane for obvious reasons, so he’d brought a packet of gluten free pancake mix. For some strange reason, he’d chosen a mix that was for both pancakes and Yorkshire puddings. Alright, fine. The problems then got more pronounced due to our somewhat basic AirBnB kitchen (full review here) as he then had to add the right amount of milk to the mix with absolutely no means of measuring said milk, and mix it in a saucepan with a fork because that was the only thing available. Luckily there was a frying pan, at least!

Anyway that’s the story of why my birthday pancakes looked a little bit like this.

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and was lucky enough to do so in Santorini. This is what I got up to.

I actually think they looked pretty good. And you know, I couldn’t have cared less either way. If someone wants to make me birthday pancakes it’s going to take a lot for me to complain about it. And other than looking a bit strange, they tasted great and I had a generous stack with some local honey on so I couldn’t have been happier. Plus the view from our terrace was breathtaking.

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and was lucky enough to do so in Santorini. This is what I got up to.

I opened some cards from family and friends, with my husband and my pancakes and my juice, with the sun beaming down. It was good.

Oh and my husband was particularly fascinated by this boat you can see in the picture because it had a digger on it. For some reason boat + digger = pure joy. Is this true for anyone else’s husbands or is it just mine??

Oia photo tour

We’d already spent half a day wandering around Oia, but that had been when the weather was a bit overcast. So, given that the sun had come out in full force, we went back to our favourite spots for some more photos.

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and was lucky enough to do so in Santorini. This is what I got up to.

Oh, Santorini.

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and was lucky enough to do so in Santorini. This is what I got up to.

Moar photos.

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and was lucky enough to do so in Santorini. This is what I got up to.

The place is just ridiculously photogenic, after all.

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and was lucky enough to do so in Santorini. This is what I got up to.

And of course I had to pose for a birthday photo by the beautiful tree from the day before. Note: this is the infamous Boden dress that you all persuaded me to buy (I am totally blameless in this) and it’s amazing.

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and was lucky enough to do so in Santorini. This is what I got up to.

Note: Fitbit to track the insane number of flights I was climbing. I think we made it to over 100 by the end of the day. Mostly due to…

Skaros Rock

After a quick lunch of some sandwiches, which I may or may not have shared with a cute dog who showed up out of nowhere, we decided a walk was in order.

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and was lucky enough to do so in Santorini. This is what I got up to.

I’m not normally one for mega hikes, especially not in the heat, but I decided it was time to stretch my pasty legs. We decided to try and walk to Skaros Rock, which is that promontory with the flattened rock on top you can see in this photo. Cruise ship for scale.

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and was lucky enough to do so in Santorini. This is what I got up to.

We drove to the nearby village of Imerovigli, which you can see hovering behind it on the top of the cliff. Then we walked down, down, down; past some extremely fancy resorts and infinity pools to die for. After all the climbing down, there was a small amount of climbing up again and then there were the most amazing views.

I’ll share a sneak peek here but stay tuned because I’m going to write a whole post about this awesome hike.

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and was lucky enough to do so in Santorini. This is what I got up to.

Skaros actually used to house the capital of Santorini until the 18th century, and there were around 200 houses perched on this tiny rock! I’m surprised they lasted that long given there are frequent earthquakes in the area. The drop to the ocean is dizzying.

We admired the few ruins still left, and contemplated our return back up the hill. It’s quite a long way.

If you follow me on Snapchat (anestingnomad), you’ll know I had to sing myself up the path to make it. Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me…

We arrived at the top of the cliff somewhat sweaty but utterly triumphant. It’s not exactly the hardest hike in the world, but it was for me and I’m glad I challenged myself on my birthday. I think I might start doing that in future years.

Ambrosia

This restaurant had been recommended to us by our AirBnB host and seriously, he had the best tips. The place was out of this world. The entrance was ridiculously cute for a start, and we entered past tourists taking photos underneath this arch.

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and was lucky enough to do so in Santorini. This is what I got up to.

Then we came to our table, which was perched seemingly on the edge of the cliff. It felt like we were eating our supper actually floating out over the caldera.

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and was lucky enough to do so in Santorini. This is what I got up to.

Of course the service was excellent and my shrimp risotto was very good, but the piece de resistance was the pudding. They had a pudding which was a) gluten free and b) chocolate based so I was in heaven. This is layers of tempered chocolate, white chocolate mousse, strawberries, chocolate sauce, and crème Anglais. Yep.

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and was lucky enough to do so in Santorini. This is what I got up to.

Heaven.

Santorini sunset

This, along with seeing the sunrise, was on my 30 before 30 list and I managed to sneak it in just in the nick of time. After some debate as to whether we’d watch the famous Santorini sunset from our roof, from which we wouldn’t be able to see the very last bit of the actual sunset as it’s slightly the wrong angle, or go to the classic sunset lookout point in Oia, we decided that if we were in for a penny, we’d better be in for a pound.

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and was lucky enough to do so in Santorini. This is what I got up to.

Well, watching the sunset from the sunset point in Oia is quite an experience, and I’ll write about that another day. It was a cool experience, one that I shared with approximately 350 of my closest strangers, a couple getting married and a drone, but it was unforgettable nonetheless!

Family traditions on the terrace

We returned to our terrace when the light was fading, and I just had to sit out a bit longer and admire the view. And also admire our pool which was looking very Pinterest.

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and was lucky enough to do so in Santorini. This is what I got up to.

Now in my family we have a set of candle holders which we’ve had ever since I can remember. They come out every birthday, and only on birthdays. The Wombles are a family institution, and I didn’t want a birthday to go by without some Womble representation. There are about 8 total in our family set, but I chose just one jetsetting Womble to accompany me for the occasion. So, Great Uncle Bulgaria came with me, and I had a lit candle in a brownie to end the day.

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and was lucky enough to do so in Santorini. This is what I got up to.

And that was my 30th birthday. Rounded out with two puddings, because that’s just how I roll (literally).

-Rachel

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday and was lucky enough to do so in Santorini. This is what I got up to.

Travel Tuesday

All good things must come to an end, and unfortunately that time has come for this #TravelTuesday link-up. Due to Bonnie’s departure and the real-life demands of the current co-hosts, next week will be the last #TravelTuesday as it presently exists.

But before the #TravelTuesday link-up is disbanded, we would like to celebrate all that has been accomplished and shared over the last few years of its existence! We are inviting all past participants and former co-hosts to join together for one last link-up next week (May 31st) with a theme highlighting the Best of #TravelTuesday! Share your favourite memories from the link-up or provide a personal montage of the blogger-friends you’ve made through #TravelTuesday. Feel free to share up to five posts, whether yours or favourites from other bloggers, so that this last link-up features the best of what #TravelTuesday provided!

Next week we will be sharing a list of travel link-ups that will encourage your passion for adventure and allow you to connect with even more people in the travel blogging community.

Theme Prompts:
> What are your favourite memories or posts from #TravelTuesday?
> Did you become friends with any of the bloggers you met through the link-up? Provide a personal montage of the friends you’ve made through the link up!
> If you could spend the day with any of the co-hosts (past or present), who would it be and where would you go?

We look forward to linking up with all you wonderful people one last time next week for the best #TravelTuesday link-up yet!

And now it’s your turn!

1. SHARE a post about travel! From road trips to trips abroad and from past travels to dream vacations. You can write about travel tips and tricks, favourite places to stay, or anything in between! Just make it about travelling somewhere!
2. LINK back to your hosts, Diana, Katrina and I.
3. LINKUP goes live every Tuesday at 0800 GMT.
4. FOLLOW your hosts on Bloglovin’.
5. CONNECT with your fellow travel loving bloggers! Be sure to leave a comment, and share your favourite posts on social media.

TIPS:
1. Please only one linked up post per blogger. Save other posts for our big finale next week!
2. Include a (vertical 735px x 1102px) pinnable image in your blog post; as at least one of the co-hosts will be going around pinning your posts.
4. Don’t forget to use the #TravelTuesday hashtag on your social media platforms!


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57 Comments

  1. Ahila Thillainathan
    24th May 2016 / 08:08

    Looks like you had an awesome birthday celebration, Rachel. Santorini is on my places to visit so thanks for sharing your amazing photos of the place.

    • 24th May 2016 / 14:28

      It really was the best. I’m so lucky! Santorini was absolutely beautiful, like nowhere else I’ve been before. It was pretty packed out with tourists but I can see exactly why!

  2. Jen
    24th May 2016 / 13:25

    What an amazing way to spend your birthday!!!!!! 🙂

    • 24th May 2016 / 14:29

      Amazing is the word. It was absolutely unreal and I’m so glad I got the chance to go somewhere so pretty.

  3. Kerri Taylor
    24th May 2016 / 13:41

    i really have no words for this – it sounds like the perfect birthday. i REALLY love the idea of watching the sunrise and sunset and i may have to do this on my next one! what a lovely day full of all the walking, pretty views and a wonderful dinner. yay!

    xoxo cheshire kat

    • 24th May 2016 / 14:30

      It was an unbelievable day. I had to keep pinching myself! I figure, why not start the decade as I mean to go on…?! I highly recommend seeing the sunrise and sunset on your birthday – I actually saw the sun set on my twenties the night before and that was pretty cool, too. However I’d also recommend a nap at some point if you do go the sunrise/sunset route!

  4. 24th May 2016 / 15:07

    Wow… look where you get to celebrate your birthday – I am happy if I make it to Olive Garden 😉 haha…
    That your hubs thought to bring flour for pancakes for you? That is the SWEETEST THING I have ever heard!
    & how are you 30? You look like you’re nearing 21

    • 24th May 2016 / 15:30

      I know, how lucky am I?! We love to travel so any excuse to go somewhere new is mercilessly exploited. I figured a 30th definitely counted. And yes, my husband got major points for the pancakes! I was very impressed.

      Sigh, the babyface is real. I am constantly mistaken for a teenager. But the amount of grey hairs I have tells a different story!

  5. A Mindful Migration
    24th May 2016 / 17:17

    Wow! Rachel – these pictures are gorgeous! I don’t have a lot of wanderlust in me but Santorini has made my list! I’m so glad you had a wonderful birthday and I love that your husband made such an effort to make you breakfast for your birthday. How sweet!

    • 24th May 2016 / 22:49

      I’m glad to hear it! It’s a beautiful place. Although I would say that whilst the scenery was breathtaking, it was very crowded so if overly touristy places aren’t your thing, this may not be the place for you after all. Not that I want to dampen any wanderlust, just being real! My husband is the best, I did good with that one 🙂

  6. 24th May 2016 / 18:18

    OMG! Santorini is my dream. It is on the list and it WILL happen…it’s just a matter of when. Looks lovely. So glad your husband didn’t get detained for having a suspicious white powder!

    • 24th May 2016 / 22:50

      Yes! I believe you can make it happen! And I hope you have the most fantastic time when you do go. Let me know and I’ll give you some tips about where to stay, eat etc. And goodness yes, that would NOT have been a good start to the holiday. And would have required some awkward explaining since I’d have no idea what the powder was…

  7. 24th May 2016 / 19:51

    Gosh, seriously – all your photos are so beautiful!! And you’re so cute in that dress too 😉 I definitely want to visit Santorini asap now!

    • 24th May 2016 / 22:51

      I love that dress! It’s magic. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, and I really do hope you make it at some point. It’s crazy beautiful.

  8. 24th May 2016 / 19:51

    So your 30th Birthday was the most perfect birthday ever! You got to watch the sunrise and sunset in Santorini and then that amazing hike! I can’t wait to hear more about it! And hooray for them having chocolate pudding that was gluten free! They obviously knew that it was your birthday!

    • 24th May 2016 / 22:52

      Haha, yep it basically was, wasn’t it?! Gluten free chocolate pudding never happens, and we hadn’t even called ahead, so it was definitely an auspicious start to the decade. I’ve now got an unrealistically high standard for birthdays, I’m going to have a bit of a comedown next year I feel!

  9. 24th May 2016 / 21:40

    Now THIS is how you celebrate 30 with bang! Santorini looks like a dream come true. I also love your candle holder birthday tradition and that you brought it with you for your birthday. With that said, Happy belated birthday Rachel!

    • 24th May 2016 / 22:54

      Yeeeeah! Well if you can’t go all-out for your 30th, when can you?! It’s certainly a dreamy place, and I’m so glad the weather picked up for our last two days. Those endless blue skies meeting the sea were breathtaking.

      I’m a big sucker for traditions so I just knew I wanted a Womble with me for such a significant occasion. I’m glad I did, it was the next best thing to having my family actually there with me!

  10. 24th May 2016 / 22:06

    This has to be the most amazing way to celebrate your 30th, wow!! 😀 First you made me want to go to Istanbul even more, and now to Santorini. I mean it is stunning, seriously. I’ll just sit here for a little bit longer and swoon over your photos!

    • 24th May 2016 / 22:55

      It’s by far the most spectacular birthday I’ve ever had, that’s for sure! Haha, sorry I’m having such a detrimental effect on your potential future travel budget! Glad you’re enjoying the photos though, although I can’t take any credit for them. Everywhere you point your camera it’s like a perfectly framed masterpiece, so I had a blast!

  11. 25th May 2016 / 01:24

    Beautiful photos! So sad TT is coming to an end, looks like I found it too late in the game. So grateful it introduced me to so many inspiring travelers though.

    • 25th May 2016 / 21:22

      I know, we’re all really sad about it. But at least we’ve found each other through it and we can still follow each others travels without the linkup 🙂 Glad you like the photos!

    • 25th May 2016 / 21:22

      Thanks! I had so much fun taking them. It’s an unreal place.

  12. 25th May 2016 / 04:00

    You said it. This does indeed look like the “perfect birthday”. All of the pictures are so stunning!!!!

    • 25th May 2016 / 21:23

      Thank you! I’m glad you like them. It’s easy to take good pictures there, everywhere you look it’s like a postcard.

  13. 25th May 2016 / 04:17

    Wow! This would be a birthday to remember. I like everything you wrote in here. It was so nice of your husband to bring the correct flour. That is very cute! I also like the story behind the candle holders.

    • 25th May 2016 / 21:23

      Yes definitely! It won’t be easily forgotten. My husband is the sweetest, I really appreciate gestures like that so it meant a lot to me. And with the candles, can you tell I’m a sentimental old thing?! Ha!

  14. 25th May 2016 / 16:34

    how sweet of your husband! and what a lovely way to turn 30! hopefully, this is a foreshadowing of how awesome of a year 30 is going to be for you 🙂

    • 25th May 2016 / 21:24

      I know he’s definitely a keeper. I had the absolute best day, and I’m hoping it will set the tone for the year! I’m all about making your own luck so I’m going to be trying very hard this year to make it a good one 🙂

  15. 26th May 2016 / 01:29

    I said this on your last post, but still – beautiful pictures. It looks like you had a wonderful birthday! Good for challenging yourself with the hike! 🙂 And I can totally understand paying for a great sunset view. I’ve done it more times than I want to admit. :-/ But, and this is where the problem comes in, it’s usually worth it. *shrugs* Love your birthday candle! It’s awesome that you have such a fun tradition in your family!

    • 26th May 2016 / 23:07

      Thanks! It really wasn’t so difficult in the end and I think I’m going to push the boat out more often. I really enjoyed it! So we didn’t actually pay for the sunset view, you just go to a certain point in Oia and watch from there. The only trouble is, so does literally everyone else on the island so it gets a little crowded! I’m glad we had the experience but I don’t think I’d choose to do it that way again. And I love our birthday candles, they’re the best 🙂

  16. 26th May 2016 / 14:51

    Happy Birthday! What a beautiful place to have celebrated! Loved looking through all of these beautiful photographs! And I would have also paid for the sunset view as well – I mean when on holiday you might as well make the most of it, right?!

    Rae | Love from Berlin

    • 26th May 2016 / 23:09

      I know, how lucky am I! Glad you enjoyed the photos 🙂 So we didn’t actually pay for the sunset view, we just went to the same spot as everyone else to watch it. It was crowded and not at all the romantic experience we might have hoped for… Actually if there had been an option to pay and go somewhere more relaxed, I definitely would have! I’m all for making the most of things whilst on hols 🙂

  17. 26th May 2016 / 21:24

    awww i love the candle holder tradition. so freaking sweet. i also like that you showed a bit of not typical Oia beauty so I wouldn’t feel too jealous 😉 that Ambrosia place looks and sounds amazing, but I don’t know about sitting on the edge of a cliff! i suppose i could do it for that dessert, yum!

    • 26th May 2016 / 23:10

      I love it too! Families are weird but that’s what makes them family, right? So we weren’t literally on the very edge of the cliff. There was a path somewhere below us… It wasn’t as scary as it sounds! Just really nice to be over the ocean, kind of like being on a boat. And the pudding was crazy good. I mean seriously, how often do we get gluten free puds that good!?

  18. 26th May 2016 / 21:41

    What a beautiful way to celebrate your birthday! I can’t believe that S made you pancakes and went to all that trouble – that is the sweetest thing and such a lovely way to re-start the day after enjoying the sunrise 🙂

    Jealous of the yummy desserts too – a birthday is definitely time to eat lots of sweet treats!

    Away From The Blue Blog

    • 26th May 2016 / 23:12

      It was so special! I had to keep pinching myself the whole day. If this is thirty then so far I really like it! S definitely got major husband points and they’re now blog-official husband points so he’ll be dining out on this one for a while 🙂

      I generally need little excuse to stuff my face with sweet treats, so my birthday was the ideal excuse. Actually, I didn’t have any ice cream that day which was a huge oversight. I did make amends for that the next day though!

  19. 27th May 2016 / 01:02

    How sweet that your husband made you birthday pancakes, and the candle tradition is awesome 🙂

    • 8th June 2016 / 20:57

      It was so lovely of him 🙂 the candle thing makes me very happy. I love family traditions!

    • 8th June 2016 / 20:57

      I know, right?! How lucky am I! The pancakes were basically the best bit.

  20. 29th May 2016 / 06:16

    What an epic birthday! Between the location, the adventures, and your sweet husband, I don’t know how it gets better from here!!

    • 8th June 2016 / 20:59

      I know, me neither! How am I going to top this one?! Hopefully I won’t be too sad next year when it blatantly doesn’t come close!

  21. 30th May 2016 / 18:57

    it looks like you celebrated your birthday in the best way possible! and I love how all your clothes are a dark blue, perfect color for this place imo!

    • 8th June 2016 / 20:59

      I know! It does help that I wear blue a lot anyway. Perhaps I should start co-ordinating my destinations to my favourite colours..?! Too far?

  22. Grey World Nomads
    30th May 2016 / 20:51

    What a stunning place to celebrate your 30st birthday. Lucky you!

    • 8th June 2016 / 20:59

      I know, I’m really lucky! It was beautiful from start to finish.

  23. 13th June 2016 / 08:43

    Beautiful spot to celebrate your 30th birthday! And you look gorgeous! I spent mine in a fancy hotel in Hanoi with a rooftop bar, it’s great to be in a special place on such a memorable day.

    • 21st June 2016 / 17:08

      Oh amazing! I love a good rooftop bar, and Hanoi sounds like a pretty great place to enjoy one in! You’re right, it’s really nice to have somewhere in particular that you can look back on as the place you celebrated such-and-such.

  24. 9th July 2016 / 10:52

    This looks incredible! I’m also celebrating my 30th birthday in Santorini in August this year (not long to go!)…. and this post made me feel all the more excited! 🙂

    • 7th October 2016 / 17:42

      Ooooh sorry I’m late to this but I hope you had a FABULOUS birthday in Santorini, happy 30th! It’s a good club to be in, isn’t it?!

  25. 31st July 2016 / 08:26

    Great post, happy 30th! What an amazing place to spend your birthday 🙂 Interesting that you watched the sunrise from a carpark but it’s all about the experience right?! Love your photos, thanks for sharing Rachel!

    • 7th October 2016 / 17:43

      Sorry for the suuuuper late reply, but thanks! I had such a lovely birthday, I’m glad I marked it in such a special way. Car park and all 😉

  26. 7th October 2016 / 17:40

    It’s amazing, Rachel! Accidently found your blog with this post – I have also celebrated my 30th in Santorini <3

    • 7th October 2016 / 17:45

      I’m glad you found me! Happy 30th birthday to you, and snap! That’s a pretty cool thing to have in common 😀

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