Grecian Adventures: Part 2 – Santorini

In Part 1 of my Grecian adventure (https://ishasverdict.com/2016/03/31/grecian-adventures-part-1/) we had made it to Santorini and I had managed to traipse around the island wearing my blue Pankaj and Nidhi top! In this post, I am going to briefly cover the things to do in Santorini and most importantly what I wore in Santorini (OK that wasn’t the most important but this is a fashion blog!).

As Santorini is a relatively small island, we decided that the day bus tour would be a good way to see the whole island. The bus tour (which most hotels will be happy to arrange for you) left at a respectable 11AM (so plenty of time to tear kids away from electronic devices) and covered the highest point on the island, the various blue and white churches dotting the landscape and the historical ruins and excavations at the ancient city of Akrotiri. It then proceeded to the black beach where we had a lovely lunch and the kids got to play in the water for a short time.  This was followed by a trip to Santo winery, a local winery, for a wine tasting to make us happy but not drunk (tour guide’s words not mine!). The Vinsanto dessert wine was delicious and the views were amazing. From here, we went to Oia, the northwest side of the island, which is widely considered to be the best place on the island to view the sunset. The sunset from Oia has been voted the 6th best in the world by National Geographic magazine. It was spectacular and watching the sun literally disappear into the ocean was a humbling moment in terms of the sheer grandeur of nature. Following this, it was time to return to the hotel, where my children hugged their apple devices like they had just found the holy grail!

In the following days, we took the cable car down to the pier where you can take the boat tour to a volcano island off the coast of Santorini ( and hike up to see the craters) as well as hot springs where you can jump off the boat and go for a brief swim in the ocean. Donkey rides are also available up and down to the pier but I decided to save that for next time! My favorite part of the boat ride – the gentleman who, despite multiple announcements stating clearly that only people who are confident swimmers should jump into the ocean, decides to jump in anyways and then in order to save himself from a public drowning had to ask for a flotation ring to be thrown to get him back safely to the boat. He also had to withstand the pubic humiliation of having the whole boat crowd watch this and for a minute I did think that drowning may have been less painful!

Beyond the sightseeing, there are plenty of bars, restaurants and coffee shops to entertain yourself. In terms of shopping, there are all the usual island shops selling clothes, shoes and souvenirs. As Greece is a huge jewellery producer, there are multiple jewellery shops selling beautiful gold and silver jewellery. Did I buy anything you may ask – of course I did! Stay tuned for some pictures of my purchases in a following blog post.

I would like to give a special shout out to Sujata from Edgware, London who proved to me today that the world is indeed a very small place! On our way to the airport from Athens, we went to see the Temple of Poseidon located an hour away. On my way out from the restroom, a lady approached me and asked if I was Isha.  I said yes and she introduced herself and said that she reads the blog and enjoys it. We chatted for a few minutes and she became the first reader of the blog that I have met who I did not know previously! Thank you so much for approaching me and for your kind words Sujata – you made my day!

In my next blog post (which will be the last on post in this series) I will cover where to stay and what to eat in Santorini. I will also lookbook my new ‘rescue mission’ outfit. As always, thanks for reading and have a great Monday!

(Clothes and Accessories: Blue shirt – Uniqlo, Blue Handbag – Karen Millen, Intials Bracelet – Azendi, Yellow Dress – H&M, Clutch Bag – Henry Bendel, Green Maxi Dress – Dosanjh Shroff)

 

Grecian Adventures: Part 1

One of the many wonderful benefits of Easter break is the chance to go on a vacation, especially in pursuit of some sunshine! This year we decided to go somewhere where no family member had been before, which is a harder task in the modern world then one would think.  Greece sounded like a wonderful destination that ticked all the boxes and we decided to visit Athens and Santorini.  We arrived in Athens on Easter Sunday and embarked on our city tour the next morning with our first destination being the Acropolis of Athens. Pictures do not do the ancient citadel perched atop the city of Athens justice – the ancient buildings are a magnificent sight to behold as is the sprawl of modern Athens below. Amongst the many buildings on the Acropolis are the Parthenon, The Temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion. The Erechtheion is an ancient temple dedicated to Athena and Poseidon supported by a porch on its South side called the ‘The Porch Of The Maidens’. This porch is supported by six caryatids (sculpted female figures that serve as architectural support in place of a column or pillar) and their unusual and tragic story had me intrigued!

It all started with the  guide asking us if we thought these caryatids were original or replicas.  I guessed original and I was wrong – the six caryatids supporting the ancient temple are replicas.  Five of the original six sisters have been moved to the New Acropolis Museum, which was our next destination. Where is the sixth sister you may ask? The sixth caryatid sister was removed by Lord Elgin, a Scottish nobleman diplomat, who was the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1799 to 1803. He took this sixth sister, along with various other marble antiquities (known collectively as the ‘Elgin Marbles’) back to Scotland to decorate his mansion.  Later, he sold these antiques to the British Museum for 35,000 pounds to repay his increasing debts. The sixth caryatid remains in England, and can be seen at the British Museum.

As we headed towards the New Acropolis Museum I couldn’t wait to see the five sisters.  They stand together, tall and glorious, but I felt a great sadness as I looked up to view them. In the middle of the group of sisters, stands an empty space for their sixth sister and this continuing geographical separation has all the hallmarks of a Greek tragedy.  Legend has it, that when the sixth statue was removed, the other sisters could be heard wailing at night for their sibling!

I am fully aware of the ongoing debate about whether the United Kingdom should return the Elgin Marbles to Greece.  It stands as one of the most prominent repatriation cases in this domain and I have read the arguments for and against returning the antiquities taken by Lord Elgin all those years ago. Standing at the Parthenon, looking across at the six sisters that represent part of the ancient glory of Greece, I cannot help but feel a sense of injustice at this forced separation!

The next day we left for the island of Santorini.  I had heard so much about its natural beauty and the blue and white island does not disappoint!  Blue and white are the official colours of the island, with the blue symbolizing the heavens and the surrounding Aegean sea and the white to reflect the intense heat in the summers. Many of the blue and white domes that dot the landscape are private and public churches. According to our tour guide,  there are 550 churches on the island, with more churches than there are priests! More about Santorini later……….

I hope you enjoy these pictures of Greece and I hope to bring you many more in my next post.  By pure chance (yeah right!), I brought along my blue Pankaj and Nidhi embroidered kaftan top to wear and the gorgeous blue was the perfect complement to the magical surroundings – I felt like a Hindi movie heroine but my husband warned me not to sing as it may lead to us being asked to leave immediately!

(Clothes and Accessories: Red Sweater – Cos Stores, Blue Top – Pankaj and Nidhi, Jeans – Zara, White Trainers – Dolce Vita, White Sandals – Arturo Chang)