Europe is a haven of beaches, history and beaut views. Enter travel Instagrammers Annie Tarasova (@annietarasova) and Matt Cherubino (@mattcherub), who recently escaped the Aussie winter to take on European summer. Over 27 days they explored both Italy and Greece. Here they share their memories and incredible images from their trip, waking up every day to 30 degrees, sunshine and clear blue skies.
We were driving from Naples to the Amalfi Coast, gasping every time we turned around a corner. Its narrow winding streets, although breathtaking, required quite a bit of attention. Keeping eyes on the road was close to impossible - in our minds we were already exploring Amalfi’s old streets rich with history and diving into crystal clear waters.
One of the many things we noticed straight away as we explored the towns along the coast of Amalfi, is that we felt no need to carry phones - leaving them at home with no need to reference time. The church bells did that for us. Every hour the bells would ring, letting the whole town know what hour it was. Although time didn’t matter. We completely immersed ourselves in the atmosphere of Amalfi.
Spending our days at the beach eating Limoncello sorbet (special recipe of Amalfi, made out of local lemons), time wasn’t a thing. Just being present was enough. This is by far one of the best ways to get lost in what a culture has to offer.
Dynamic, lively Florence intrigued me a whole lot. I realised how much reading a tad about the city's history can alter your experience - I realised the importance of every historical building I looked at, imagining what it was like ‘back then’, when it was used for its purpose. The architecture blew me away. The intricate details and ornaments were absolutely mind bending, and knowing that humans created this beautiful city made me realise the creative power of us.
Cinque Terre, Italy
I spent two days in Cinque Terre, in the midst of my Florence trip. Only two hours on the train, and I was surrounded by colourful coastal towns. With walls painted maroon red, yellow and deep blue, I found myself unable to stop taking photos and videos wherever I went.
I stayed in Riomaggiore which was a choice not any less than perfect - this turned out to be my favourite coastal town. One morning I woke up at 7am hoping to buy some fruit and eat it on the cliffs overlooking the town. Little did I know that 7am in Italy is unbelievably early - the shops opened at 9am on the dot, and I was left to stroll around absolutely empty streets in the morning light. This was an experience in itself.
As soon as the local fruit shop opened its doors, I grabbed a whole watermelon and a few juicy peaches and found myself a secluded spot on the rocks. Eating breakfast in the sun, listening to the sound of water while the town is still waking up was one of the highlights of my trip.
Santorini - especially the cliff-situated town of Oia - was unlike any place we had visited before with its ivory white painted walls and azure blue domes surrounded by the sea, almost like a dusting of snow on a mountaintop. The town of Oia reminded us of a massive playground with hidden treasures everywhere you go.
Beautiful paved streets ornamented with magenta bougainvillea resembled a fairytale. Every night the town was alive in the golden light of sundown over the sea of Crete. Knowing that you are all here for the same reason, to admire a daily phenomena, which had a new meaning in the Greek Islands, created an incredible sense of bonding and connection with absolute strangers.
Milos. What a unique experience this was. That’s when we realised the true colours of Greece, perfect white and sapphire blue. That is what that island was. Moon-like landscapes and crystal clear waters, empty beaches and baby pink sunrises made us feel as if we were on another planet.
Created volcanically, its stark white rock formations provided a perfect base for a day's activity of swims and siestas. The cool and gentle sea breeze was a constant refreshing feel, however incomparable to the feeling of diving into the vibrant blue waters. Such beauty is greatly admired, understanding its origin of the many types of minerals and volcanic compounds which harmonise to create the tiny slice of Mediterranean paradise that is Milos.
This is just a glimpse at our experience in Europe. Amongst the countless gelatos and hours spent under the sun, our European instalment was one we leave with many beautiful memories and moments now frozen in time. Highlights include driving a boat along the Amalfi coast and watching sundown on the volcanic rock formations in the Cyclades. It’s hard not to already consider our return to add to the list of forever growing travel plans.