A BEAUTY SO DIVINE: GREECE

Hello Seekers!! As promised, today I will take you on a trip with me to Greece.

Greece treasures – thousands of exotic islands, assorted beaches and perfect locations to observe spectacular sunsets. I was lucky to witness some of the unbelievably beautiful spots of this picturesque country.

Culturally rich and physically magnificent, Greece is the perfect amalgamation of beauty and abundance. For many, its pristine white buildings, vibrant blue doors, colourful ornamental vines of bougainvillaea and sparkling blue waters are symbolic “Greek beauty”.

WHEN TO VISIT?

Officially, Greece opens for tourism in April and the perfect time and weather to visit Greece are from mid-April to mid-June and from September to mid-October. 

HOW IS THE WEATHER?

Greece experiences a Mediterranean climate which is pleasantly warm and ranges from 12ºC to 26ºC from April to May and 15ºC to 26ºC during September – October.

HOW TO REACH?

The best way to reach Greece is through the air. Rail and road connectivities are good for surrounding countries like Albania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania etc.  

First, reach Athens via air and then easily commute to different islands via ferries. Pre-booking always helps!!

HOW TO COMMUTE WITHIN CITIES?

Greece has a well-established and connected transport network for the internal commute. Buses are available and can be booked online. Hop on hop off (HOHO) buses are there for city tours.

WHERE TO STAY?

Well, that is something that varies with the budget and personal choices. So, I won’t be commenting on where you should stay but for sure will let you know where I stayed during my trip. I believe that a good stay is the most important part of a trip and so I am quite selective.

I had a good budget and wanted luxurious hotels, where I don’t have to worry about anything, so I opted for the following-

In Athens, I stayed at Electra Metropolis. The stay here was luxurious and comfortable. The staff was polite and super co-operative.

In Mykonos, I stayed at Petasos Beach Resort & Spa. The resort was a boutique hotel with infinity pool and a spectacular view. The stunning sea view and the super private and relaxing ambience made it one of my favourite spots of the trip.

In Santorini, I stayed at Lilium Hotel. This too was quite luxurious and comfortable. 

HOW TO PACK?

It is always better to travel light. If you are planning to visit from April – June, the weather is mostly warm during the day and pleasantly cool during the evenings. A few short dresses and accessories are enough.

During the day, go for comfortable and airy dress items like shorts, midi, miniskirts, crop tops and vests etc. Pair the short dress with the sun accessories like sunglasses, a hat and a scarf. Unless you are planning a romantic dinner or date, don’t go for high-heels, a pair of good sneakers or any sort of flats will be both comfortable and elegant for roaming around in Greece.

For beaches, we need some swimming sets and sunscreen. Sunscreen is a must while you are roaming around in Athens during day time from April-June. The weather is generally humid and warm. 

The evenings are pleasant and don’t require extra work, a light jacket will suffice the need.

If you are planning to visit during September-October, the weather will be pretty much towards cooler sides and it’s better to carry jumpsuits, onesies, jackets and long skirts. Sunscreen is must even in this season. Other sun accessories like scarf and hats are optional but it is always good to have them.

A small portable umbrella should always be there with you. Though it is always good to check the weather before leaving the hotel but still to escape those occasional unpredictable drizzles, umbrella is must.

WHAT TO VISIT?

A short trip to Greece of about a week is enough to visit Athens and a couple of islands. But to visit more than this you have to take out substantial amount of time. Greece is a treasure of beautiful locations and has several things to visit.

I went there for a week and visited Athens, Mykonos and Santorini. These three are the main tourist attractions and should not be missed. I stayed for two days at each of these locations and left for home on day 7.

ATHENS

I began my trip with Athens, the capital of Greece and took a HOHO tour bus for touring the city. We covered the following places on our HOHO tour –

PANATHENAIC STADIUM

So I took the bus from the Panathenaic Stadium, which is known for being the stadium where first-ever modern Olympics were played. This huge stadium has enormous seating space and is one of the important tourist attractions.

The Panathenaic Stadium as on April 2018.

PARLIAMENT HOUSE

I then boarded the bus and went on a guided tour. The next destination was the Parliament House, Athens. Here we saw the famous ceremony of “changing of guards”. The official ceremony with the official customs takes place every Sunday morning at 11 a.m. and people assemble at Syntagma Square to watch it. 

The Parliament, Athens

ACROPOLIS

The next stop was Acropolis. This beautiful and archaeologically significant structure dates back to 5th century BC. It has building remains of various ancient buildings, the most famous of which is Parthenon. The Ancient Agora, the Roman Forum, Kerameikos, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus are the other ancient structures connecting Acropolis to the city. The Acropolis gave a spectacular view of the city. This is another universally renowned locations in Athens and is a must for every tourist.

Parthenon
Me at Parthenon.
View of the city from Acropolis.

ACROPOLIS MUSEUM

Next, we visited the Acropolis Museum which is yet another very famous structure among tourists. It is a glass and concrete structure that is beautifully constructed and reveals the excavation site below. It houses numerous ancient artefacts and Parthenon sculptures. A guided tour here gives a detailed insight of structures within this museum.

Acropolis Museum 
Excavation site at the museum.

MYKONOS

My second destination after Athens was Mykonos. From Athens I took a catamaran ferry to Mykonos. Mykonos is an island from the Cyclades group located in the Aegean Sea. The ineffable beauty of this place made it my favourite destination of the complete trip. 

Soaked in the beautiful blue and white, the architecture here was breath-taking. The first day here was mostly leisure, enjoying private beach, wine and swimming pool. 

My beautiful hotel in Mykonos
Blending with the pristine white decor of Mykonos.
The private beach at my hotel that makes way to the infinite pool in the sea.

The beauty of this place was heavenly and a sight to behold. On the second day here I went to the following places-

PARADISE BEACH AND ELIA BEACH

These are the famous beach destinations in Mykonos. The experience at both these places was very calming and comforting. I spent the complete afternoon getting relaxed and tanned and then I headed to Kato Mili. 

Getting tanned at the PARADISE BEACH

KATO MILI

A group of windmills on the famous landmark of Chora Hill. A spot for scenic beauty. After Kato Mili, we headed to our penultimate destination of the day.

MATOYIANNI STREET

A destination synonym to heaven for ladies. This street has a collection of various designer stores and boutiques of accessories, apparels, handcrafted items and much more. After an intense shopping session, I moved to the last stop of the day and of our stay in Mykonos – Agios Ioannis.

MATOYIANNI STREET

AGIOS IOANNIS

This place was party hub and had global music playing from English to Hindi to Greek. I had a crazy and most fun ending to my Mykonos trip. I then headed to the last destination of the trip – Santorini.

After a tiring dance session at beach party.

From Mykonos, I took a high-speed catamaran ferry to the third and final destination – Santorini.

SANTORINI

It is a brilliant blend of beauty and drama. Fira (Thira) and Oia are the two of the most famous towns of Santorini. These are outlined by the deep blue sea filled volcanic crater. The spectacular blue colour of the sea outstretches the beauty of this place. On day one of Santorini, I went to Fira and covered the following –

One of the iconic blue domed churches of Santorini.

CALDERA

This volcanic crater was formed 3,600 years ago due to volcanic eruption that left a deep cavity which is now filled deep blue sea. 

Mesmerizing Blue Sea filled in the crater.

FIRA/ THIRA

A ferry and a mule ride took me to the cliff-top town of Fira. One can also opt for stairs or cable car instead of the mule. Fira is the capital of Santorini and has blue-white houses, narrow lanes, blue-domed churches and several houses converted to small hotels, restaurants, cafés, souvenir shops, boutiques and crafted-jewellery. Beautiful olive trees and several olive wood item shops decorate the town of Fira.

Mule ride to Thira.
Thira
Buildings turned to beautiful boutiques in Thira.

ANCIENT THIRA

Dating back to 9th century, Ancient Thira is a site where one can see ruins of administrative buildings, theatre etc.

VOLCANO 

I took a tour boat to the volcano bay from the old port of Fira. A guided tour took me to the top, where I saw the active volcano. Next, same tour boat took us to Palea Kameni.

The site of active volcano.
Exploring the site of active volcano.

HOT SPRINGS

The island of Palea Kameni is home to famous mud baths formed due to volcanic eruptions. At the bay of Agios Nikolaos, the temperature of the water ranges from 30 to 35 degrees Celsius. Here, tourist can take the healing bath. The boat then took me back to Fira.

Hot spring, open for a swim.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM

Towards the top of Fira is a museum that displays the archaeological findings from Ancient Thira. The museum exhibits clay figures of animals, ceramic pottery among various other items.

SUNSET

Santorini is known for giving excellent sunset views. Therefore, I took a stroll of Fira and fortunately found the best spot to witness one of the most sought-after views of all time.

Sparkling sea during sunset.

It was getting late after sunset, so I ended my tour for that day. After a boat and shared shuttle bus ride, I reached my hotel and enjoyed the remaining time at the pool with the wine.

The next day, I took a ride back to Fira as I had to visit the beaches.

RED BEACH

A bus or boat from Fira can take you to the beautiful Red Beach resting at the foot of the spectacular red cliff wall. 

BEACH AT PERISSA

A few kilometres from Fira, there is a beautiful black sand beach. It is a long stretch of fine, black volcanic sand. Numerous seafood outlets and restaurants overlooked the beach. I relaxed here for the leftover time and then took a bus back to my hotel.

The rocky black beach.

WHAT CUISINES TO TRY?

Some must-try dishes in Greece include –

  1. tzatziki – a yoghurt, cucumber and garlic dip. It goes well with falafel and almost anything.
  2.  taramasalata- a fish roe dip.
  3. Grilled meat and Moussaka (lamb dish).
  4. Olives and olive oil dishes.
  5. Fresh Seafood.
  6. Baklava – a dessert, goes best with honey.

And last but not the least

WHAT PRESENTS TO BUY?

No trip is complete without the presents for the dear ones. These are a few items that you can buy as gifts when in Greece.

  1. The first and foremost is – the olive tree products, like olive oil, olive tree wood pens, boxes, jewelry etc.
  2. Ouzo- The Greek alcoholic appetizer, consumed before or with meals.
  3. The Kompoloi or worry beads can be worn as a piece of jewelry and is believed to be a mean of relaxation and stress therapy.
  4. A backgammon set – A checkered game played by people of all ages.
  5. Handmade leather sandals
  6. Handmade soaps and oil
  7. Handmade ceramics
  8. Evil-eye catchers
  9. Dream catcher

So guys! this is it. I tried to cover the most and have uploaded the unedited actual clicks here for giving you the true picture of this beautiful country. I hope you guys will like it. Waiting to hear from you all, keep inspiring and motivating. Loads of Love.

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Adventure 4 # Exploring World.

Hi Seekers!! How are you all?
It has been a while since we last met. My PhD was keeping me hooked and didn’t allow me enough time to blog.

Anyway, the current COVID-19 situation has given us a chance to think about our life choices. We need to have a tenacious grip on our thoughts and should look for positive.

I seriously want to dedicate much of my time to things that genuinely matter to me. Though I can’t leave my PhD, due to “obvious” reasons, I am now determined enough to extract maximum time for things that I love. I received a few emails from you guys. I am so thankful to you all for motivating me to resume blogging. So, here I am with a new adventure where I will take you all on a ride with me to amazing places around the world.

I have been to several beautiful places in the last two years. I want to share my experience and cover most about these places. So that if ever you guys plan to visit these places you know where and how to go about it.

I will be starting with my experience in “Greece”. I went there in 2018 and experienced a completely different and spectacular world there. In my next post, I will share the beauty of this gorgeous country.

So, guys stay tuned and do go through my next post to explore the beauty of Greece. Once again thank you for all your support and motivation. Loads of Love.

Upgrading Ourselves by Learning Together. Adventure #3

Hello Seekers!!
Before starting today’s post, I would like you to have a glance at my latest work. I have been working on this one for a few weeks now. Though it looks too easy, it involves too many layers. It is unfinished and needs some more efforts. Therefore, to get my dose of motivation from you guys, I am showing it off here.

It’s an image of a rusted car in the forest. I still have to grow a tree into one corner and add more layers to the car.

Guys, do comment, like and help me gain enough motivation to finish this painting before the year ends.

My adventure with writing is still going on and in a very few days, I will be posting my new work.

So seekers, coming on to our today’s rendezvous, I would like to take you to another journey with me. This certainly will be more vigorous than any of our previous adventures. Also, this one is different from our current genre of work. Besides, I also have a selfish emotion for taking you guys along on this mission. And, that is, I get anxious and tend to quit midway if I go on such roads alone.

Therefore guys, without creating more horror in my story, I would like to introduce you all to our latest project. We will be learning together, a new domain of science, that is Machine Learning.

I am a biologist and am using it at my defense. I have bare minimum knowledge of data science and machine learning. However, current technological trends force me to believe that they hold quite a significant role in the future.

Honestly, this is not my first attempt to learn Machine Learning. I have struggled with various online tutorials and courses earlier to get hold of this field. But, everything is so out of my domain and requires tremendous efforts that mostly, I quit after a week or two.

Therefore, I have decided to start again but not alone. Every 2-3 days, I will document my learning here. I will share as much as possible. We can study together and discuss as we proceed. We can set the pace as we move.

We will begin tomorrow and with the book given below. It is an amazing book for learning the basics and getting familiar with the terminology. I also happen to have it as an ebook, so any of you willing to have it can let me know. I will send it via email.

So guys, let us get together to upgrade ourselves and walk the path of success. Lastly, keep commenting and motivating to bring out best in everyone around us.

There is more to life Adventure #2 – Writing

Hello seekers!! How have you been?
In my previous post, I shared my love for painting and also gave you guys a visit to my very own art gallery. My latest artwork is on the verge of completion and will be out for you very soon. Meanwhile, the advent of this blog helped me realize, my other, yet very passionate love – ‘Writing’. I have admired works of classic authors like Leo Tolstoy in Anna Karenina and War and Peace and Jane Austen in Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, to name a few. These authors have a very engaging style of writing which kept me hooked in their novels and wondering after. These writers have made time travel possible for me. When with Jane Austen, I experience the English households in the 1800s and with Tolstoy, the diversity of his work from illustrating Russian culture in Anna Karenina to his critical historical accounts of war struck Russia in War and Peace. So, guys, you might be wondering why am I throwing knowledge about good reads on you. This is because good reading takes you to good writing.
Good reading does not always include classic authors. This is all about personal preferences. I enjoyed the Harry Potter series as much as I enjoy self-motivation books by Rhonda Byrne and Charles F. Haanel. So, the choice of genre is personal and there is no claim as to which one is better than others. The point is to keep learning from the masters of the art.
Before, this blog I have tried my hands on various online competitions on writing. But frankly, so much talent is out there that I felt a need for subtle improvement in my writing style. Below is one of the many poems that I wrote. I am sharing it to motivate you guys to explore your hidden talents as there is nothing to lose here. I am a very immature and amateur writer but certainly not a scared one. So, guys, if you are not exploring your talents because you are scared of opinions then I advise you to forget others for once and live for yourself. Trust me it gives immense pleasure.
Lastly, below is the piece I wrote, leave your comments on it and share with me the work that you might have attempted once but are shy or scared to share. This platform is meant for us where we share our work or excerpt from it to motivate many others out there.

This is my poem “SHE”, about women in my country..

My First Blog Post

Help me discover myself, you might discover yourself in the process !!

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

To all the seekers out there…Hi!! I am also a seeker like you all and am starting my journey to explore my potentials. As the journey is more significant than the destination, I want to share the whole process, from start to the end. Therefore, I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

WHO AM I??? WHY I WISH TO EMBARK ON THIS JOURNEY??

Inside me breathes an artist. I have special feelings for music, flirted with colors and have romanced with writing. But like most of my peers, I too am caught in the “meaningful” and “worth” career. And so you can tell, I am in a fake relationship with my work. Thus, I am recording here my endeavors in finding my one True Love. So, here starts my ride towards self-discovery. It might get bumpy or slow or even boring sometimes but, I hope not to stop before, it finishes.