One of the things you simply have to do if you visit Santorini is spend an evening at the Open Air Cinema in Kamari - it's an incredible way to experience sunset on the island and see the latest movies at the same time. When I was invited along to review the cinema I was so excited for the experience, it's something a bit different to do of an evening and a great family activity. My family and I love going to the movies whether it's the latest comedy, something a bit soppy or the old classics, and we couldn't resist a visit. I actually had my first open air cinema experience when I was in Australia and couldn't recommend it enough - it's just such a wonderful way to experience your favourite movie and take advantage of the good weather. Our movie of choice was the newly-released Disney remake of Tarzan, a movie we'd all been keen to see as big Disney fans.
We caught two buses to get from Perissa to Fira, and then on to Kamari, arriving a bit early so we had time for dinner. Stopping at an amazing fish restaurant, Zorbas Taverna, in the village, we couldn't resist the freshly caught sea bass, which was genuinely one of the tastiest fish I have eaten, it was served with saffron rice and a fresh Greek salad. The wine was delicious and the service was quick, we were very impressed by everything, especially when they presented us with a complimentary dessert as we left. For a pre-cinema dinner it's lovely, just be sure to allow enough time to walk to the cinema with a full stomach, it's about a 15 minute walk up and out of the village. Be sure to arrive in plenty of time to join the queue before doors open at 8.30pm, seats are first come first served so you want to be there on time to secure the centre rows. The cinema itself is absolutely beautiful, like a modern-day amphitheatre surrounded by trees and with high walls that do a good job to block noise from the road.When you arrive you queue to get in and purchase your ticket which costs 8 euros, then usher in your loved ones to find seats - whether you prefer deck chairs at the front or the slightly more upright at the back. If you're chilly, blankets are provided and there is a very well-stocked bar at the back offering wines, beers, cocktails and all kinds of snacks. One thing I loved about the cinema was the atmosphere, everyone is chatting away before the movie starts, enjoying cocktails or wine to a background of 1920's music. Then once the film starts up everyone falls silent, lost in the setting and the screen. The surround sound is incredible - trust me, when your dad is as deaf as mine, that's important to make sure he enjoys the film as much as we do. Over the years, as technology advanced and theatres became less used, many across Greece were converted to make way for the cinematic era and now have become a big part of Greek life. This was clear from the sheer number of locals and travelling Greeks who were enjoying the show.
Tarzan was amazing, such a fantastic remake of a great film and we were all gripped from start to finish. They threw in a few breaks for those needing to pop to the loo or restock on drinks. But I think for all three of us, it was our second visit to the cinema that was the real highlight. Being there for two weeks, we couldn't resist returning for another show as we had so much fun the first time. This time we headed to a screening of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 - who could honestly resist while in Greece? It was one of the best film screenings I have ever been to. Not only were we watching the Greek antics on screen but we revelled in the amazing Greek families chuckling along at the movie and voicing their agreement with some of the funnier moments. The whole thing was hilarious and an absolute highlight of our final days on the island. Trust me, if you're looking for something a bit different to fill an evening on Santorini, this is the perfect answer and an experience you don't want to miss.
Have you been to an open-air cinema? When travelling, do you tend to look for evening activities or prefer to relax?
I've always been part of a travelling family - we've always had our base in little old Norfolk but have been constantly dreaming of holidays in countries far and wide, dreams that have then become reality. I'm very lucky to have grown up that way and I think a lot of my curiosity about the world has stemmed from my parents' attitude to travel. At just 18 years old, my dad boarded a plan and flew halfway around the world from his home in Mauritius - leaving behind all his friends and family - to train and work as a nurse in the UK. My mum, for as long as I can remember has always needed to be by the sea and to have a holiday planned and booked so she doesn't go stir crazy - I was never built to stay in one place. From the moment I was born, I was holidaying across Europe, Africa and the US, but I've always had plans for bigger and crazier places, stories and moments. I'm always looking for the next adventure and when I decided to come travelling, my parents were so excited for me to head out on a brand new one. Their support and encouragement meant I never really worried about doing it on my own, it meant I just looked forward to it until it was too late to turn back. That was just what I needed to not feel the fear, to not second guess myself. It was just what I needed to realise that adventure is in my blood and jetting off to the other side of the world is just another step in the rollercoaster of my life.
The more I travel, the more I want to travel. It's addictive - the people, the sights, smells and sounds - once you start it's impossible to imagine stopping and going back to what you knew before. Whether you're backpacking long-term or just on holiday for two weeks, we all have that moment where we ask ourselves - what would happen if we just stayed, if we never went back? But what about those people that never do it? You know the ones I mean - the ones who daydream about sipping cocktails on the beach or walking the Great Wall of China but leave it at that. The ones who talk about doing amazing things and falling in love on a desert island somewhere in the Pacific or dancing until dawn on a beach in Thailand but allow themselves to be put off by stories in the media, or worse, money. I can't stand when people talk to me about the money of travelling - when they assume that I managed to travel for nine months without working because of daddy. When they don't realise that I actually worked my arse off for a full year in five jobs and saved every penny, so I could live the dream. When they don't realise that I haven't had a full day off from work in weeks because I never turn down a shift in either of my two jobs while I save for my next adventure. I read something interesting the other day about how people who don't go travelling blame the money for not going, but they also buy lunch for work every day and how this can add up to around £2-300 a month. By saving that money and taking a packed lunch, in around three months you could already afford to buy a plane ticket to almost anywhere in the world. That these people are just too lazy to make lunch.
Most of the backpackers I know are some of the poorest people in dollar but they make up for it in the richness of their character and stories. They will happily live off instant noodles and sleep in bedbug infested hostels to save the money to do amazing things like trek up a mountain or party on a Thai beach. They spend their days working every hour available and all the while are envisioning sunbathing on a gorgeous beach or swimming in waterfalls somewhere, dreaming big gives them the motivation to work and save hard. It's how I can stand to go and live in the middle of nowhere for three months to complete my regional work so that I get my second year visa - I'm thinking about the long term when I can return to Australia and the road trip I get to do after I finish. It doesn't matter whether you're a backpacker or holidaymaker - you should always dream big when you think about your next destination. Whether you fancy stunning Asian beaches, dusty African deserts, the skyscrapers of the US or the quirky history of Europe - there's something for everyone and it can all be tailored to suit the kind of trip you really want. My dream trip would be to travel around either Africa or South America, discovering the different cultures, foods and traditions that each individual country has to offer. In Africa, I have always dreamt of that hot air balloon ride over the savannah at sunrise or sunset, while South America conjures up visions of improving my salsa skills and spicy food. Both would be incredible and I'm sure that they will happen one day, travelling has made me all the more determined to keep exploring the world around me.
In need of some travel inspiration for your next big trip? Look no further than Wexas! They can tailor the perfect trip just for you, you family or friends - plus they have some great articles from the best last minute deals to the most incredible worldwide trips! Check them out and see where you fancy going next!
What is your dream trip? If you could go anywhere in the world and do anything - what would you choose?
This is was a collaboration with Wexas.
When we think of backpackers, we definitely have two very different images in our minds - some of us might have a rather rose-tinted view of sun kissed limbs stretched out on the beach in skimpy bikinis watching on as muscly guys play football on the beach in their shorts. Those who have actually been backpacking will know there are usually big bags under our eyes from late nights, that we're all a bit soft around the edges and around 20lbs heavier than we were before travelling thanks to indulging in too much pizza and beer. It's pretty difficult to keep with any kind of fitness routine, or to maintain healthy eating while backpacking - often the easiest and cheapest options are the least beneficial for your body. (Read my top tips on how to try and stay fit and healthy while travelling here)
Despite the fact that you might not always be at your absolute peak of physical fitness while backpacking, I think it is fair to say that many people feel the most body confident they ever have. Body confidence is something that plagues us all, whether we want to admit it or not. Some of us have it in bucket loads, others barely have enough to keep them going for a two week holiday in the sun. But something I've noticed about backpackers is that despite them coming in all shapes, sizes and colours, they all have this radiant glow of sheer confidence and knowledge of their fabulousness that shines through. When you look at them, you don't notice their love handles, cellulite, beer belly or stretch marks. All I see is the huge smile on their faces, the golden brown glow of their skin and the fun that sparks out of them. Where does it come from? Well it's all down to confidence. But why are they so confident?
This post was originally published on the Base Backpackers blog and won me a free bed for the night in a Base Hostel! Find the original here.
What do you think makes backpackers so beautiful? Do you feel the most confident and happy you've ever been?