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Discovering Greece: Athens, Naxos, Amorgos

Historic Athens

What makes a vacation memorable?

The people?

The places you visit?

The events?

What if everything falls into place?

What if the trip is so good that it becomes your Best Trip Ever!


Athens in Black and White

Athens City
This story takes places in sunny and beautiful Greece, in the hot summer month of August. I had received an email from one of my best friends from college who had decided to take his summer vacation a step further and get married in Greece. A few quick emails and phone calls around the world and this were turning into a small college reunion of sorts. So, we all descended from far off places like Japan, Australia, America, India and not so far off places like Switzerland and Poland to the Greek capital of Athens as it prepared to host the 2004 Summer Olympics. What followed over the next 10 days can only be described as a near perfect vacation.

Athens: was to be our first stop and border of entry into Greece. I flew in to Athens using my trusted airline KLM from New Delhi via Amsterdam. One of my college friends, Jeanne, met up with me in Amsterdam and we headed together to meet the bride and groom, Brooke and Michael. It did not take long for me to fall in love with the place.

The people were genuinely friendly, the air felt fresh, the food different yet scrumptious, and the city simply vibrant. It was the perfect amalgamation of old and new, historic and the present, centuries old culture and modern day life. Since I am a sucker for all things antique/vintage you can imagine my joy at finding the ruins so marvelously preserved all around, only to be saddened by the thought of the sad state of historic landmarks in my own country?

The Beach - Amorgos

Our first day was spent walking around the streets of Athens and discovering the Greek way of life. I love to aimlessly wander in a new city to get a feel of the place and in doing so we ended up spending a considerable amount of time souvenir shopping (never too early to start) and café hopping in Monastiraki, a centrally located square buzzing with tourist activities, and in Plaka, the oldest section of Athens.

The second day was when we went touristy. Water bottles in hand and heads covered to protect us from the sun, we walked around the city hitting all the major attractions: the Acropolis, the Parthenon, the Athenian Agora, the Olympian Zeus Temple, the Odeon of Herode Atticus, and the National Archaeological Museum. What is so wonderful about Greece, not just Athens, is that there is history seeping out in every nook and corner. There are ruins and stories waiting to be told at every turn.



Naxos: An approximately five hour ferry ride from Piraeus, Athens took us to our next destination, Naxos, where more friends and family joined the group. If your budget permits try and get a first class ticket on the ferry. The seats are a lot more comfortable and indoors. 

Naxos will always be special because this was also the first time I rode a scooter. Yes, it was a gear less one, but nevertheless it proved to be the best mode of transport for the island.

The island in itself comes alive at night, especially along the port with its many bars and cafés. Safe and buzzing with life and laughter, even if you don’t drink, it’s worth walking down for a stroll to take in the energy that fills the salty sea air. 

One of the most prominent sites in Naxos is the Portara – The Gate of the Apollo Temple. Situated near the port it is visible from around the island and was supposed to be a temple for the God Apollon.

Our time in Naxos was spent riding along on winding roads discovering the small villages and beaches. It would be unfair to single out one beach as each and every beach in Naxos was unique in its own respect and there’s always a little excitement when while riding along you “discover” one on your own. 

During the day you are likely to find most people getting baked at the beach or recovering from their hangovers, but there is a much more laid back feel to this island. Naxos is an island that is touristy, yet doesn’t fall in the same category as say Santorin or Mykonos famous for extreme partying, especially now, as compared to a decade ago.

Searching for the Perfect Beach - Amorgos

Clear Blue Waters - Amorgos

Amorgos: Finally we headed towards our final destination, all together on a ferry, to Amorgos. Something I did not realize till much later was the fact that quite a bit of Luc Besson’s movie “The Big Blue”, which happens to be visually stunning and one of my favourites, was shot in Amorgos.

The island is a much relaxed and peaceful place, where Greeks and the French (partly because of the movie) go for their vacations. Part of the Cyclades group of islands, Amorgos has some of the clearest blue waters I have come across in the world.The beaches range from stony to sandy, each having its own identity and charm.

The most breathtaking site on the island is the cliff hanging Monastery of Virgin Chozoviotissa, one of the few places in the world that have to be seen to be appreciated.

Once again, hiring scooters on the island was essential as they proved to be the ideal form of transportation. Amorgos is one island that I recommend everyone visits when they plan their trip to Greece. It is an island I hope to take my family to some day.

Monestary - Amorgos

Roadside Eating - Amorgos

The Food: Greek food, which was relatively new to me, literally blew my mind. Souvlaki (Pita bread with meat, salad, sauce), Spanakopita (spinach, cheese, onions in a pie/filo pastry form), Moussaka (meat and eggplant baked layer casserole), Dolmadakia (vine leaves stuffed with rice and vegetables and/or meat), Tzatziki (a yogurt and cucumber sauce), gyros, baklava (nut pastry with honey on top), Halva, Marides (small deep fried fish that can be eaten whole), Kalamarika, and Ouzo are just some of the most amazing foods and drink available that I managed to try.

One of my favorites was octopus, at least until I witnessed a local catching octopi and then thrashing it on to a nearby rock to what I can only assume stun them. It reminded me of the famous Dhobi Ghat in Mumbai, India where clothes are cleaned in a somewhat similar fashion (more about that in the next post).    

Overcoming the Problems: The trip was not without problems, and when I think back they just brought a certain character to the entire vacation. These were moments of discovery for me and a sign of things I could handle, but then again when there is a problem there is always a solution.


Riding to Chora - Amorgos

Heat Rash: Greece was where I finally discovered that I am allergic to heat, especially when in contact with sea water. Although I swam in the sea in Naxos, it wasn’t until I reached Amorgos that I was suffering from this itchy and scratchy skin reddening heat rash, thankfully not yulky to look at. And because I was majorly tanned, that covered up the redness further.

Nevertheless, rather than suffer the darn thing I figured that I already have it now, so how bad can it get and continued to enjoy the beaches. It wasn’t until I reached Athens on our way back that I was itching no more.

The Room without an AC: An important aspect of booking your hotel room (or picking one up as you are greeted at the ports by local Bed & Breakfast owners) is making sure you have air-conditioning in your room. We made the mistake of not checking and being in need of cool air (a hot room didn’t help my “heat” problems) I ended up sleeping under the stars in the balcony (the night providing a cool sea breeze) while in Amorgos.   

Vintage Athens

The Special Moments:

The wedding, the reason for this wonderful journey, took place on August 8, 2004. We took a bus to the Town Hall in Chora, Amorgos where we walked through the narrow streets throwing rice on the couple with Greek musicians leading the way as people peeked out of their windows offering their blessings. Eventually, we reached a little square, with a cafe, outside the town hall where the Mayor came and gave a wonderful speech about marriage before Brooke and Michael signed the necessary papers.

And since this was a first for me being the “official” ring keeper and one of the two best men, it just made the entire day even more special and full of pure unadulterated celebrations.

This little trip of mine will always have a special place in my heart. It was all about just being there and sharing moments and memories with friends. It was about sitting till the wee hours of the morning playing “Truth or Truth” (too tired to do a dare) with friends, or having the father of the bride, a tarot card reader, tell my future.

It was also about dancing till late in the hot and humid night, not bothered about your clothes dripping with sweat, and not caring too much about anything except enjoying the present.


It was about riding a scooter for the first time and enjoying eating an octopus and discovering new flavours (a hint towards becoming a food blogger). It was about being adventurous, exploring new places, new cultures, and discovering myself.

Mostly though, it was about making new friends and strengthening old friendships.

Wait… it is also about keeping a memory of a time when I had a head full of hair and tummy sans fat.  

Sunset in Amorgos


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  • dNambiar
    Posted 17 August, 16 at 7:03 AM

    It was a holiday of many firsts, I see.
    That it was a great vacation, is totally believable. Thank you for the travel story and the sights. I enjoyed this post very much. 🙂

    • raghavmodi
      Posted 17 August, 16 at 2:06 PM

      Thank you, it was truly special.

  • Shelley @Travel-Stained
    Posted 24 September, 16 at 7:53 AM

    You’re so lucky to have visited Naxos on your first trip to Greece! And Amorgos sounds absolutely wonderful too. Once Greece gets under your skin, you can’t wait to go back again and again…it’s my perfect summer destination, and it’s the one place I’d choose to go to over and over again once the temperatures rise. But ouch…heat rash… 🙁

    • Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 24 September, 16 at 9:24 AM

      The heat rash is a curse. I love the beach and the water and this is what I get in return. Oh well…

      Yes for Naxos and Amorgos as well. I guess I have to thank my friends for getting married there. Still want to do the touristy islands but the quieter ones interest me so much more.


  • GeorgieMoon
    Posted 29 October, 16 at 11:02 PM

    Great post! It brought back lovely memories of our time in all these places. We loved Amorgos, one of our favourite islands.

  • traveling9to5er
    Posted 13 November, 16 at 2:51 AM

    So many beautiful things to take it. I need to get to Greece and explore some of these. I particularly have a thing for amphitheatres and would love to go see more of the ancient ones.

    • Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 13 November, 16 at 6:58 AM

      Definitely, Greece is just amazing in all respects and especially when it comes to history. Thanks

  • Chrysoula Manika
    Posted 13 November, 16 at 4:30 AM

    I visited Naxos this summer and I really liked it! Such a pretty island. When you book a holiday to Greece especially in the summer you have to make sure there is an air condition. It is so hot during that period.

    • Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 13 November, 16 at 7:00 AM

      Yeah, that’s the one mistake we made. Also found that booking at the spur of the moment once you arrive also has some advantages. Next time. Thanks

  • The Traveling Fool (@thetravelfool)
    Posted 13 November, 16 at 5:09 AM

    Sounds like you made a lot of memories. I find the best trips are the ones I have taken with friends and had little plans other than to explore the area, search out new experiences and have fun. Sounds like you did a lot of that.

  • Elaine J Masters
    Posted 13 November, 16 at 5:54 AM

    What lovely memories and sweet times with friends. I hope to see more of the islands one day and if it’s on a trip there for a wedding, so much the better.

    • Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 13 November, 16 at 7:01 AM

      Thank and yes I still think about that holiday so many years later. It truly was special. Thanks

  • Christina
    Posted 13 November, 16 at 11:15 AM

    Greece is full of history and mystery. I do so love exploring the beautiful historic buildings in Athens. And Greek food is amazing.

  • durhamslovelifetravel
    Posted 13 November, 16 at 10:47 PM

    It’s one thing to have the best wonderful vacation spot but to be able to share with friend traveling from all over to share is so precious! Very cool photos!

  • erikastravels
    Posted 14 November, 16 at 3:31 AM

    What an amazing reunion! I’d absolutely love to reconvene with my college friends for someone’s wedding in an exotic place! Greece has long been on my list of places to visit and I’m hoping to make it there within the next year or two. I’m intrigued by Amorgos, as I haven’t heard much about it until now. Will have to look into going there when I finally make it to Greece!

  • Anita Hendrieka (@AnitaHendrieka)
    Posted 14 November, 16 at 4:40 PM

    Ever since studying classic in high school I have wanted to go to Greece. It just has such an interesting history. Great article!

  • Anita Hendrieka
    Posted 14 November, 16 at 4:46 PM

    Ever since studying classics in high school I have been interested in travelling to Greece. Such a fascinating history! Great article, I really enjoyed reading this.

    • Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 14 November, 16 at 5:15 PM

      Thanks and it’s really one super duper amazing part of the world.

  • clrudder
    Posted 15 November, 16 at 4:06 AM

    Greece is awesome. I love the food and the people. I would go back to Athens and Santorini in a heart beat and I will be back to explore other islands.

    • Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 15 November, 16 at 8:21 AM

      Definitely! And I recommend visiting the non-touristy islands highly.

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  • PackYourBaguios
    Posted 1 May, 17 at 2:09 AM

    I’m going to be in Greece 6 short weeks from today. Your lovely pictures made me even more anxious to get on the plane!

    • Ticker Eats The World
      Posted 1 May, 17 at 8:34 AM

      Have to say I am very jealous. I can’t wait to go back. It’s been far too long. Enjoy

  • Culture and Couture (@CoutureCulture_)
    Posted 8 April, 18 at 9:58 PM

    My friend and I went on an island hopping trip around the Cyclades a couple of years ago and had a fantastic time – Athen’s we didn’t have the best experience, it was just after the economic crash when all the cash machines had been switched off and crime was rife, but Naxos was my favourite of all the islands we visited! Santorini was lovely too but I just loved the laid back vibe of Naxos. Thanks for sharing!

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