Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Greece Day 4 - Exploring Athens

06 Jun - Time is our enemy as we left the beautiful Santorini behind. For Athens, we planned about a day to spend in the city while trying to cover as many landmarks as possible. Athens has a great heritage with its recorded history spanning 3400 years - from ancient monuments, to Romans and Byzantine artifacts and finally Ottoman sculptures. Athens by itself houses 2 UNESCO World Heritage Site - the Acropolis of Athens and the medieval Daphni Monastery. As the Daphni is closed to public for restoration, we made visiting the Acropolis our top priority.

the Acropolis of Athens 

Wondering among the ruins 

Open air plaza 

The classical theater 

The Parthenon 

The Erchtheion 

The Propylaea 

A bird's eye view of the city of Athens 

Excavation in progress of ancient city 

After we are done with the Acropolis, we headed to the Temple of Olympian Zeus to take photos of its ruins

Temple of Olympian Zeus 

Panathenaic Stadium

Athens Parliament House 

Though it seems peaceful now, little do we know that it will be at the center of demonstration as Greece falls on the brink of bankruptcy and risk being kicked out of Euro a few weeks later.

Athens flea market

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Greece Day 3 - Santorini's old port

05 Jun - Though Santorini has nice weather and good scenery, the price to pay for staying here is not cheap. Before we fly off to Athens later, we took some time to visit the Santorini old port right at the foot of a caldera. Even the cats here know how to relax.

Santorini old port right at the foot of the caldera

Santorini old port

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Greece Day 2 - Santorini, a scenic city of blue and white

04 Jun - Santorini, a place where beautiful sunset, beautiful scenery and nice weather all combined into one. The trademark of Santorini are their blue and white buildings, where you can find them easily around the caldera. It is no wonder that tourist keep flocking to this place for holiday.

 Trademark blue and white buildings


On our way to the Red Beach by foot

A church by the red beach cliff

Red Beach

Seems easy to climb? Do not be fooled

Oia just before the Sunset

The legendary sun set of Oia

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Turkey Day 6, Greece Day 1 - Goodbye Istanbul, Hello Santorini

03 Jun - As we woke up to a bright sunny morning, it is time to bid farewell to Istanbul as we have to catch another flight to Santorini, with Athens as a transit point. We were really lucky to be in Greece at a period where it is still calm. Should we arrive 2 weeks later, there will be in the midst of demonstration all over Athens due to austerity measures demanded by the creditors to keep Greece in Euro.

Aegean Airlines flying us to Santorini 

Welcome to the Sun, Sand and the Sea. Beautiful Santorini 

Trademark color of Santorini - Blue and White 

And a beautiful sunset to end the day

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Turkey Day 5 - Istanbul

02 Jun - Having done with the "Cotton Castle" of Turkey, enjoying the natural calcium carbonated water in the hope that it will have a smoothing effect to our skin, it was time to bid goodbye to Pamukkale. We woke up early in the morning again to catch our flight back to Istanbul. This time, we had the time to take a proper photo of the plane we are embarking. 

 Turkish Airline plane taking us back to Istanbul

Istanbul can be said to be at the crossroad between Europe and Asia. Wars has been fought in the past over the control of this land, contributing to its rich culture and history. In the area of religion, Istanbul was also instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times, before the Ottomans conquered the city in 1453 and transformed it into an Islamic stronghold and the seat of the Ottoman Caliphatem.

Safely landed to welcome the hot weather of Istanbul 

The main mode of transport in Istanbul is trams 

Beautiful park and nature to rest your soul during your rest time 

A toilet in disguise, but with a gantry? 

First peek of Hagia Sophia 

Hagia Sophia has an interesting history. It is a former Christian patriarchal basilica (church), later an imperial mosque, and now a museum (Ayasofya Müzesi) in Istanbul, Turkey. From the date of its construction in 537 until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and seat of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire. The building was a mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. It was then secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935 (Wikipedia, 2015).

Gold painted interior 

 The hallway of Hagia Sophia

The interior of Hagia Sophia 

The place of the coronation ceremony of the Eastern Roman Emperor  

A unique structure displaying both Islamic and Christian traits together 

Islamic designs painted over Christian crosses, showing the past history of Hagia Sophia as a church in the past before converting to a mosque. 

Hagia Sophia in full view 

Blue Mosque 

Interior of the blue mosque 

 Beautifully decorated Islamic designs

After touring the Blue Mosque, we moved on to visit the Basilica Cistern, which has the capacity to store 100,000 tons of water, though not more than a few feet of water remains currently.

Wikipedia. (2015). Retrieved 22-Jul-2015 from