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Santorini Dreaming – a dream comes true…

This is a happy story… a romantic story… a story of dreams and hope. It’s about daring to dream and giving yourself a chance to have your dream come true. It’s about “putting yourself in the running” for life’s delicious twists of fate. It’s about backing yourself to win the big prize… it’s about stepping up and believing in yourself. In Australian parlance it’s about “you will never know… if you don’t have a go”.

Some time last year a guy… who happens to live in a cave in Oia, had an idea. Why not give someone out there a chance to “live their dream”. Not just to visit Santorini… but to stay in the best possible hotels and to experience a once-in-a-lifetime holiday on this mesmerising island. So he announced a contest asking people to write about their own dream holiday on Santorini…the way they imagine it…the way they dream of spending time on Santorini if money was no object.

The people responded in numbers.

One girl had a dream… so she wrote an essay, an essay which she planned meticulously … an essay which she took very seriously because she believed it could result in an incredible life experience for herself and her husband.

The girl send her essay to the guy in the cave… and he liked it. The girl’s short essay won the “Santorini Dreaming” prize.

This past week, the girl –  named Christa – was on the island with her husband Tom… and they got to live their dream. They got to live it in style, staying at what I believe are the best two hotels on the island (Andronis Luxury Suites in Oia & Volcano View Villas in Fira). They got to enjoy romantic time alone, as well as time doing the things they had dreamed about. They also got to enjoy some grilled octopus and a glass (or three) of ouzo with the caveman… as promised.

Here is just a glimpse of Tom & Christa’s Santorini Dream holiday:

For their first night we had arranged for them to have a romantic dinner at the Andronis exquisite cliff-top dining area…

(Andronis Luxury Suites)

The photo above has Oia in the background…but just in case you have forgotten what the Andronis cliff-top dining area looks like… here are a couple of reminders…

(Andronis Luxury Suites)

there aren’t many people that sit at this spot and not pinch themselves…
to make sure they are not dreaming ! (Andronis Luxury Suites)

let’s face it …no Santorini dream holiday is complete without cocktails
in a cliff-top infinity pool (Andronis Luxury Suites)

or some quiet time gazing at the deep blue caldera… (Andronis Luxury Suites)

Following their time at the Andronis hotel in Oia… Tom and Christa moved to another hotel (Volcano View VIP Villas) just outside Fira. This time they didn’t just have a suite in a luxury hotel… they had their very own luxury villa, with it’s very own swimming pool and its very own villa manager to look after them. My old friend Niko made sure that the happy couple had the best of everything and they got to enjoy three nights of dreamy luxury on the cliff top of Santorini.

there is no place like the Volcano View villas anywhere else on the island. This is the private domain
of movie stars…Arab sheiks…heads of state and of course (ahem…) Christa & Tom !

somehow I think even Christa’s wildest dreams didn’t have anything like this
in the script…

one can only imagine what Tom (from Buffalo NY) was writing
to his family and friends back home…  (Volcano View VIP Villas)

as he always does…Niko made sure that Christa & Tom would remember this…
for a looooooooooooooooong time to come !
(Volcano View VIP Villas)

But despite all the luxury and the surprises, the organising and the excitement… this is really a very simple story. It was about dreaming… daring to allow yourself the pleasure to dream. Giving yourself a chance to make your dream come true. That, to me, was the very essence behind my original idea for the competition… to make someone’s Santorini dream come true.

From the hundreds of photos taken…I think the following image captures beautifully what the whole thing was about…

just a girl… and her dream !

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I would like to express my gratitude to Andronis Luxury Suites and Volcano View VIP Villas for their generosity and their endeavours to capture the spirit of this contest. My thanks go to Milto Andronis, as well his manager John  and all staff, for making sure that the couple had a very memorable stay at their hotel. I would also like to thank Niko at Volcano View Villas. He is already a legend with his VIP guests so we don’t to further inflate his ego… however there is nobody on this island that can look after guests better than him. If you are looking for the most romantic luxury hotels on Santorini you will not find better !

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

PS: despite some initial trepidation… the Santorini Dreaming short essay contest was very enjoyable to arrange. I would like to thank all those that participated by sharing their dreams with all of us. I hope you all show your support to the sponsors of the contest and I look forward to perhaps arranging a similar contest later in the year… M

PPS: you can read Christa’s winning essay here...

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“Santorini Dreaming” – 2 weeks to enter

If you haven’t followed this blog for long and you are not aware of the “Santorini dreaming” short essays contest, then you may be missing out on a chance of a lifetime. The idea is simple… tell us in one thousand words or less what you would like to do, what you have always dreamed (or dreamt) of doing or what you have already done on Santorini. In short… tell us your dream holiday on Santorini or the dreamy holiday you have already spent here in the past. The winner gets to enjoy an incredible holiday here next year… made possible by the sponsors:  

andronis

 

VVlogo

 

logo

There are over a million people that visit Santorini every year… but NONE of them ever experiences what the winners of this contest will experience next year.

There were a number of posts leading up to the Santorini Dreaming contest. I have compiled all of them on the Santorini Dreaming page… please visit and read about this opportunity to fulfil your Santorini dream.

You can click on the “Santorini Dreaming” page on the main menu or you can  click here !

 

Been a few days since my last post so today there are two…below is the real post of the day:  “Oia – paths less travelled”

Hope you enjoy !

Santorini dreaming & inspirational living !

 

I think “they” are wrong (“they” being the sad cynics of this world). I think there is a romantic lurking inside most people… some just need something to “nudge’ it out of them and it seems the images of the Volcano View villa I posted earlier this week did just that.

An imagination that has been stimulated is a wonderful thing and “possibility thinking” is a wondrous thing. Suddenly people can imagine themselves “being here” and by writing a short essay there is a “real possibility” that they can be. 

Suddenly there are emails from people that have been “following” the blog for a while but are now deciding to “out” themselves… to declare their secret desire to visit this island, or write about their dream to escape with their loved one to a “fantasy” destination, to spend a few romantic days and nights in a world that normally occupies their dreams. Suddenly there is a reason to think romantically… suddenly there is intent !

There are many stories about people who had been doing the same thing for years on end… then, one day, they changed their perspective and their whole life changed. There is the story of the father who was taken by his son for a mountain climbing weekend at the age of 60. He had stopped work and his health had seen better days. But something happened that weekend… he got out of his routine, got out of his TV-chair, he got fresh air, spent time with his son and he experienced the beauty of a mountain-top (albeit a small one). He came back a new man… a man with a dream, a man with a mission in life – to climb mountains of similar height in every continent on earth.

Suddenly his life had a purpose. Same person, different mind-set…. new perspective…new lease on life.

Then there are stories of a spouse who suddenly decides to do something special. A dinner by candlelight, a special weekend away, a picnic under the stars, a dinner & show. Something out of the ordinary, breaking the routine, thinking creatively and actually thinking of what would please the other person in one’s life. All of the sudden there is imaginative thinking going on… there is planning, there is anticipation and then there is pleasure and reward. It’s an addictive state of being… and it surely beats existing in a state of  “comfortably numb” !

I said on Monday that Volcano View villas were the first part of the dream holiday… the second half being planned in my village, the village of Oia. Now…I know you thought that the first villa looks special and it is. But  your hotel in Oia is also special my friends… very VERY special.
The “Andronis Luxury Suites” hotel was built only about a year ago by a friend who has impeccable taste… as you will see. You’ve already glanced at the cliff-top peninsula dining area… something completely unique on Santorini. Now let me take you by the hand for a brief tour of the rest of this fantastic place. If this doesn’t make you dream at night……..

andr6you saw it from above… but this is what it will look like during dinner ;-)

 

andr5Now…I know you have you’re fave restaurant back home, but this is a bit different.
This is the stuff that dreams are made of… 

andr2just imagine your elbows on that infinity edge…
 

andr1you could get very used to this… right?
 

andr7 I think this is enough to inspire anyone…

 

I do believe that many of you… if not all of you out there in blogland, should use this opportunity to do a number of things. Use it as inspiration to not only be creative for this particular “dream” essay submission… but also as inspiration of the sort of thing you should dare to dream about. Use these images as inspiration for a new perspective on life… for a new way of thinking, a new intent. It’s all possible… if you want it to be !

 

As previously mentioned all you have to do is tell us in 1000 words or less what is your dream romantic holiday on this magical island, what it would mean to you and what you would do here if you won.

The final details on dates and other surprises will be in tomorrow night’s post. Submissions can be made as of Friday 9th October 2009 and will close on Monday 9th November 2009. 

The list of surprises for the winners keeps growing, but I can assure that the two hotels alone are more than worth any effort you go into for your submission. So set your mind free, become inspired, dare to think about things you normally wouldn’t and allow your creativity to take over.

To be perfectly honest with you…whether you win or not should be neither here nor there. Use this to change your perspective on life. If you can be creative, innovative and imaginative for this… there is nothing to stop you from living that way all the time. Write to your heart’s content… you may just be creating the new YOU !

Till tomorrow…. enjoy dreaming ;-)

 

PS: I know this is a day late…. and I know it’s the second time this has happened, but life has a way of getting in the way my friends. Allison has a pinched nerve on her shoulder (far too much painting over the past few months) and my friend in Athens (owner of hotel above) is a very busy man. So in between chasing him, physio visits, running the studio, three children on the island and wondering why the fourth hasn’t written from London in two weeks… well, time just runs away from you. Apologies…but hope the images above make up for it.

Be inspired and live with passion !