An image consultant by profession, Priya Rajiv has worked with airlines for 10 years, which helps foster the passion for travel that she shares with her family. Every now and then the family switches off from the monotony of daily life by taking a break and travelling. This time, Priya, along with her husband, mother-in-law, and two children went on a week-long trip to Athens and Santorini in Greece. Here she shares with us some of the most memorable moments of her vacation.
“I have been to Greece twice before and I simply love the place, so I wanted my family to experience the country as well,” she begins, “We first went to Athens, which is a very nice combination of a party place, a commercial hub and a tourist spot. The locals just make it that much better, as they’re very friendly and helpful, and rarely ever let you feel out of place.”
The family stayed at the centrally located Athens Studio – walking distance from practically every tourist spot. On the first day, Priya and her family took a walk through Plaka, a street that is dotted with tiny art corners and shops selling jewellery, clothes and local ceramics. They then arrived at the Acropolis, an ancient citadel that contains the remains of several ancient buildings including the Parthenon. “The ancient Temple of Zeus at Olympia was our next stop. Looking at these places that we had only read about in history books got the kids really interested, and they started delving into Greek mythology, which is a very vast and interesting topic,” Priya informs us.“We even visited the Panathenaic Stadium, where the first Olympics were held, and my kids were fascinated to see things like the arena, the track, the place where the first torch was lit, etc. It’s an entirely different experience to visit a historically significant place like this and experience it, rather than to just look at artefacts in a museum.”
The family also took a cruise to the Saronic Islands, first to the charming little island of Hydra, where the kids took a dip in the Mediterranean Sea. “The colour of the water is breath-taking. It’s a shade of blue that calls to you and makes you want to constantly be around it,” Priya reminisces. Next they went on to Aegina, the place of birth of the legendary Greek hero, Aeacus. “Aegina and Poros were slightly more commercial than Hydra. I preferred the quaintness of the first island.”
On the third day of their trip, the group travelled to Santorini. “We were initially a little surprised by the laidback town, but when we got settled in, it was the experience of a lifetime,” Priya smiles. The two principle towns of Santorini are Oia and Fira, where several Bollywood movies and songs have been filmed. Their home for the next few days was Fira, a cave-like hotel that had a private pool and a hot tub –an authentic yet luxurious vibe. “The food and wine in Santorini are out of the world, while the music creates a beautiful vibe. The water, cliffs, sky and hues of sunset are absolutely magical!” Priya gushes.
“On the last day of our trip, we returned to Athens and visited Syntagma Square for a day of shopping. Greece is great to shop for bags and shoes! My daughter and I had a gala time shopping our hearts out,” she recalls.
The travellers loved every bit of their trip and were especially impressed by the monuments in Greece and how well people respect and maintain the heritage sites. Priya informs us that while her daughter loved the buzz of Athens, her son was taken up by the cruise to the Saronic Islands. As for Priya, in spite of having travelled to the country twice already, she would love to go back again. “I love the vibe of Athens, and it’s something I would certainly recommend to anyone,” Priya concludes.