Trip to Sedona & Grand Canyon

August 24th - September 2nd, 2023

Thursday, August 24th to Sunday, August 27th


Sunset at Airport Mesa. Popular spot where you can park right at the top of the over look.

View from the room at the Inn at Oak Creek.

The Tlaquepaque Arts Village and Shoppes has beautiful art and sculpture galleries, Native American art and places to eat.

Tlaquepaque Arts Village has live music at night, but you need to check the dates online. On this night it was an 8 piece Flamenco band.

Within the The Tlaquepaque Arts Village is The Secret Garden Cafe. A great place to read and have breakfast after a morning hike.

The Chapel of the Holy Cross. 

Thursday May 26th To  Monday May 30th


Sunset from the Capital Town of Thira, where we are staying in a guest house owned by Kosmas. Dinner our first night at Niki Restaurant, also from where the sunset photo was taken.

Town of Oia

Oia (pronounced ee yah) is located on the northern point of Santorini where the famous blue domed churches overlook the Agean Sea.

View south down the coast. You can see the town of Thira in the farthest distance.

Santorini Beer Company has tastings along the store fronts of Thira and Oia. Crazy Donkey is Greece’s first IPA (India Pale Ale) and is produced with five kinds of hops, including Motueka from New Zealand and Carcade from Oregon.

Maddie found another ‘gem’ that serves vegan food. She had avocado toast with egg whites. I had the bar-b-q chicken with a Crazy Donkey.

Windmill on the farthest point of Oia, built during the 17th Century.

Pink church down one of the endless number of alleys in Oia.

Town of Oia seen from the sea. You can barely make out the blue domed churches from here, but you do get a sense of the devastation left by the 197 BC volcanic eruption. The homes along the coast all appear to be clinging to the island.

A small chapel in a cave below Oia.

According to legend, the Roman emperor Decius Trajan, (around 250 CE), ordered the inhabitants to abandon Christianity and begin to worship Roman gods. Seven young men opposed this and fled to a nearby cave. The emperor walled them up to starve, but they fell asleep for 200 years until Christianity again became the dominant religion.

Volcanic Island of Palea Kameni​

Our 3 hour tour boat ride to Santorini’s island volcano, Palea Kameni, can be seen just beyond the cruise ship and is still active under water. 

The Karavolades Stairs that lead down from the town of Thira to the port where our tour boat awaits. You can barley make out the cable cars along the hillside.

Maddie and I taking on the 588 steps (but who’s counting?) and 600 foot elevation. Instead of the donkey ride (my first choice) or cable cars (my second choice), Maddie decided to put me to shame with her Olympian walking prowess. (This was not the first time she turned to wait on me)

I feared this donkey, much like myself, was contemplating a quicker way down the slope.

Our intrepid 3 hour tour boat, the Alkyon. I kept referring to it as the S.S. Minno and our tour guide as “The Skipper.” Maddie was not amused.

After a 20 minute boat ride, more hiking.

The mouth of one of the eruptions that occurred on the island. The first eruption of this volcano was in 197 BC, devastating Santorini and forever changing its coastline. It’s last eruption was in 1950.

One of the hot springs along the coast of the volcano where I went swimming. The green color (it’s actually this green) is from the volcanic sulfur. The closer you swam to the rocks, the warmer and more yellow the water appeared.

At last, some level ground and refreshments at Port Thirassia on the adjacent island.

A fun, but long, hot day of hiking and adventure. We both headed straight for the cable cars with just a glance and a nod.

Akrotiri Lighthouse

Akrotiri (meaning cape) is Santorini’s Pompee. The 3,600-year-old city was buried by ash from a gigantic volcanic eruption in 1650 BC. It was one of the largest volcanic events ever recorded. Santorini overall has had 211 well-dated eruptions over the past 300,000 years. The lighthouse was happily built in 1892 AD.

Looking north back up the coast, you can see the charred volcanic island of Palea Kameni we visited on Saturday.

There’s a small bar cafe, the Charoula Canteen, below the lighthouse, and if you like, you can sit in these chairs and enjoy your beverage. However, if you lean over and look down you’ll see the image below here, some 460 feet to the ocean.

Black Sand Beach

The same volcanic event in 1650 BC also covered the other side of the island in pumice, volcanic ash, and lava. These ingredients are what give the black sand beaches their onyx color. There are approximately 20 black sand beaches in the world today.

All along the beach of Perissa there are resort style cabanas with swimming pools and bars open to the public. The name of this one caught our eye.

Naturally, for Maddie’s cousin Jordans’ sake, we had to look deeper into this one to see if it lived up to it’s name.

The lounge chairs, smoothies and macramé umbrellas were fantastic, however we stayed in the ‘free’ section. The same lounges at the water’s edge will cost you 100 Euros!

Venetsanos Winery

Maddie had a wonderful knack for choosing our next memorable stop on the trip. The Venetsanos Winery was among her many great instincts.

The “backyard” for the vineyard.

Santorini is know for it’s white wine from a grape grown in the arid volcanic-ash-rich soil called Assyrtiko. Both the bottles here use the Assyrtiko grape, although the Anagallis Rose is their most popular wine and it’s sold in the States.

Maddie and I immersing ourselves in the Greek culture. Of Santorini’s 37 square miles, there are over 20 wineries.

Monday, May 30th to  Friday, June, 3rd


It was just after sunset when we arrived at our Cycladic, “sugar-cube” house in the town of Tripiti on the island of Milos. This is the view from our rooftop.

The next morning, someone was waiting outside the door to greet Maddie. The tip of the iceberg, we would soon find out.

Old Fishing Village​

These multi-colored fishermen houses are known as “syrmatas” and the area dates back to 1100 BC. The bottom served as the boat garage and kitchen, while the second floor was the living space. Today you can find them for rent on Beautiful spot, if you don’t mind getting your picture taken by tourists.

All over the Greek islands you will find small white churches. This one is called Agios Dimitrios. Above it, on the side of the mountain is an ancient Roman theatre.

The inside of the church is even more striking than the exterior. Facing the alter and a place to light a candle, which we did.

Below is a panoramic view of Klima.

Sarakanico Beach

An original man-cave. 

Maddie and I enjoying the “beach.”

Town of Plaka

This view is from the very top of the town where a Castle and Greek orthodox church are located.

The town of Plaka was within walking distance of our house and its maze of narrow alleyways was built to fend off pirates. Plaka, along with the rest of Milos, took part in the Persian Wars and was later part of the Athenian Empire. It was destroyed by the Athenians when Milos chose to ally with the Spartans.

A few of the many cafés & shops below.