Travelling to new locations and experiencing different cultures is something I like to do. After visiting Japan last year and going on a pilgrimage tour of South India with my children, to further their knowledge and understanding of Buddhism and Hinduism this year; once again my wife and I decided to vacation at the exotic islands of Santorini, Mykonos and Athens in Greece.
Clear blue waters, old school whitewashed homes with signature bright coloured doors and a chilled out atmosphere made Mykonos Island a world-class destination. Chora, being the island’s capital, is famous for its landmark windmills called Kato Milli, which add a lovely touch to its picturesque beauty.
Sit back at the waterfront cafés of The Little Venice quarter and admire the breath-taking view of people just spreading happiness in the form of exchanging hugs, kisses, flowers and smiles.
Natural stone jewellery and windmill shaped candle holders are some of the most fascinating souvenirs that one must pick from this little place, apart from having your taste buds accustomed to Greek wine and Ouzo - a famous, strong flavoured Greek Beverage.
Whether you love some kind of adventure or crave seclusion, Mykonos offers a good balance, as it is a treat for water sport enthusiasts as well as for those who just like to look at the sky and bath in the vastness of it. Jet skiing and parasailing were absolutely ecstatic adventure sports that our kids just could not get enough of.
Since I realized that it is rather a brilliant idea to go island hopping via a ferry, our next stop after Mykonos was Santorini Island after making beautiful stopovers at the islands of Paros and Los. Not many know that Santorini was once the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in the world, and what remains today is a submerged volcano and a caldera.
Flanked by the pristine Mediterranean waters, Santorini provides the ideal serene environment to rejuvenate and is a fantastic treat to the eye.
Voted Europe’s best island in 2015 by Travel & Leisure magazine, Santorini is considered to be among the most romantic destinations in the world owing to its breathtaking views. And I would agree on that. One could not help but just admire the beauty of this place.
A striking quality about the Greek islands and Santorini, in particular, is that despite being tourist hotspots, they don’t have the hustle and bustle of other crowded tourist destinations. Even though thousands of people from all over the world must have been walking with me, I realized that getting some peace and privacy was not a challenge.
Reflecting the typical Greek architecture of white walls and colourful wooden balconies, villages of Santorini are to really watch out for. The most famous, one such village is Oia, which owns charming tiny houses in narrow streets, bright blue-domed churches, and a spectacular view of the water.
This is also the perfect place to experience the stunning sunsets of Santorini. A fascinating aspect of visiting Santorini is that not only did it feel luxurious; there were splashes of modesty everywhere by the locals. The red and black volcano pebbled on the beaches, the Red beach brings about the popularity the most.
Santorini produces some of the most exceptional wines, so it was absolutely worth our time to visit some of the wineries there. A vineyard tour provided us with a chance to not only taste some of the most delicious wines, but we also learned about the history of wine-making in the region.
After 10 days of relaxation and entertainment, we bid adieu to the wonderful and cosmopolitan islands of Greece. From Santorini, we took a quick 45 min flight to Athens where we spent the last leg of our trip. We visited the Acropolis, a citadel with monuments dating back to the ancient Greek civilisation. The Acropolis is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Perhaps the most famous of all the buildings at Acropolis is the Parthenon, which used to be a temple dedicated to goddess Athena. Although the Parthenon and other buildings at the Acropolis were damaged in the Morean War of 1687, their remains are of great historical significance.
This trip made us realize that no matter how occupied we might be, we must take out time to explore this beautiful world and bond with our families. No matter what age, we need to be open to trying different things, push our boundaries, and feel the thrill.
At the same time, we must remember to step back and relax by craving some rest and recreation time. Without a slight doubt, we all came back enriched and my family has already started hinting at our next adventure.
Dr Kishore Kumar
(Chairman and Managing Director, Cloudnine Hospital)