Crystal clear waters, white and blue picturesque buildings, ancient sites that tells a whole lot of history, it’s hard to not fall in love with Greece. We again follow Nadia Atmaji, a television news reporter, while she travels to the magical land of Greece.

Text and Photographs by Nadia Atmaji.

Okay first things first, why Greece?
I was really attracted to the beautiful white buildings of Santorini and the historical significance of Athens. I went to two major destinations there, Santorini Island and Athens.

What kind of clothing did you pack for the trip?
I packed my luggage light. I brought the most comfortable clothes because a lot of walking is expected. Long and midi dresses, light tops and skirts are essentials!

Where did you stay?
We stayed in houses that we rented through Airbnb. The two main district in Santorini are Fira and Oia, the latter is very popular due to its sunset views. So, we chose to stay in the quieter Fira region, which is a plus because their food and souvenirs are way more affordable than it is in Oia. And in Athens we stayed in an apartment in the Syntagma area, which is the city center there.

What was the weather like?
It was very sunny and hot! I can even feel the burn in my skin. Because of this, I had to reapply sun screen every hour.

How do you get around the city?
We walked a lot in Fira. Meanwhile to explore the entire island, we booked a private car tour, along with a driver, named Phanos. We were so lucky to have him as a driver because he knew a lot about the history and customs in Santorini. It’s like we were accompanied by a local guide. Oh yes, if you’re wondering the half-day private tour cost about €260 (roughly about IDR 4,5 milion) for 4 people, which is worth it since I booked it on last minute.

Tell us about the places you visited in Greece?
We started the trip at Santorini Island which comprises of several attraction spots. We didn’t have much time but wanted to see the whole thing. The route started at Perissa and Perivolos where we visited the Black Sea, and then to Pyrgos—the first capital city of Greece. It then ended at Oia where we experienced the sunset.
In Athens, we went to Acropolis, an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city. Spending my time in Athens was my favorite, ‘cause I had the chance to travel solo, and had some quality me-time. I spent the day with a “One Day Cruise to 3 Islands” tour. I was island hopping to Hydra, Poros & Aegina‎ on a day.

Are the food any good?
Yes! I love Greek cuisine so much! In Santorini, I tried “Fanari” which offered many selections of Greek authentic cuisines. There were souvlaki (chicken/lamb meat satay), gyros (sliced meat, tomatoes, salad, fries, wrapped up into one sandwich) and moussaka (baked eggplant, with ground beef sauce, then smothered in white sauce). It was one unforgettable dinner experience because we ate by the caldera view! In Athens, the quest of tasty Greek food would end up in “Savvas”, they provided a great deal of Greek dish and a lot of Turkish food too. (PS: Greece was once colonized by Turkish Ottoman Empire for quite a long time).

Any custom or trivial information you find interesting?
In Hydra Island, cars and motor vehicles in general are not allowed. Residents and visitors can travel from the main town to the island’s beaches and other small villages by water taxi, donkey or on foot. Only a small part of the island is inhabited, therefore most people prefer to walk from one place to another and wander around in the small, picturesque streets and alleys of the main town.
And, have you ever wonder why Santorini’s walls are all painted in white and blue? You might think it has to do with patriotism, since the colors matches with Greece’s flag, but it was driven by a more practical reason. My Greek friend told me that the white paint is able to reduce heat of the island. Phanos—the driver said that the summer weather can be unbearable at times, so white walls do help. Then what about blue? Blue paint is readily available within the island and easy to find. The color combo quickly became a trademark of the islands in the late 1960s and, attracted money coming into the country because the region quickly became a tourist attraction. Then in 1974 the government made a law stating that all houses must be painted in white and blue.

What new things have you learned from your trip?
Santorini’s maze would never cease to surprise me. Every turn and climb gave me different landscape views. It actually gave me an insight abut life, where everything is just a matter of perspective. You may first see it as a problem but at the end of the day, it actually turns out to be a blessing in disguise.

What are the things you brought home from Greece with you?
Refrigerator magnets, snow balls, and pistachio. Pistachio is the typical kind of nut that’s planted in Aegina, an island in Athens. I shared the nuts to my office mates, they loved it so much and started to ask where I bought it from. It was super tasty indeed!

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