Skip Navigation Links


In September of 2011 , my wife, Radhika, and I spent two weeks travelling in Greece and Turkey. It was a honeymoon, just a year late; as many of you know Radhika was finishing her residency till July. Our trip was a daily adventure. Each day offered a fresh discovery of both the landscape and the culture around us. We wandered through the mountain villages, climbed hills by sunset, savored the Mediterranean cuisine, and tried our hands at deciphering the Greek and Turkish words we saw.

Why Greece? Why Turkey? I couldn't help wondering the same question when my wife first posed the idea (though like any good husband I knew better than to oppose her). She had travelled through most of Europe in her college days, but the Greek isles and Turkey remained a mystery. Greece, for her, was a beautiful idea built up by years of reading the classics. Istanbul was the great colorful capital straddling two continents, wrapped in many different layers of culture and history.

What we found was a mix of classical imagination and traveler's adventure, of history and landscape woven together.

Naxos, Greece

Visually, Greece presents a terrain much different from what one is used to seeing in the US. We discovered rugged mountains, purple sunsets, olive groves scattered among sandy hills, and the brilliant, sparkling blue of sea and sky—a blue unlike any I have seen in Mumbai, Chennai, San Francisco or New York. The air itself seemed of a different flavor in Greece, purer somehow, thick with scents of fresh herb, or jasmine, or pine. Amidst such surroundings we would discover the ruins of ancient temples. It is these, like the Temple of Demeter on Naxos, or the Temple of Hera on Samos, which most impressed me, more than the Parthenon in Athens. We discovered such sites after driving on a scooter, through hills and villages, winding our way through gardened paths or lonely meadows. One could feel the spirit of antiquity as we wandered by ourselves amongst these ruins, lost in paradise-like valleys; and we were glad to lose ourselves there.
Even greater than history or landscape, though, was the pleasure of encountering a new culture. We enjoyed the sounds of a different language and the hieroglyphic charm of a new alphabet. I had to remind myself often that the Greek tongue, though strange to our ears, was a language spoken by more than eleven million people today, and centuries ago was the language of scholars. And we were only touching the edge of this language, this other existence! People seemed to genuinely appreciate our small efforts at speaking the language. A simple ya sas (“Hello”) or efharisto (“thank you”) drew smiles from the people we met. We drove through villages where old Greek women sat together on their doorsteps, weaving cloth and chatting with each other; or small cafes where old men sat playing backgammon by shade of a sycamore tree. Such was the different world we saw while in Greece. Even if it differed from our own way of living, the very encounter with it was fruitful.
While I was growing up, every few years my mother would force us to go on a month long trip to a different part of India. In a few days, I would get accustomed to being out and making friends with other people. After about 13 years, I experienced the same effort of going out of the comfort zone and I feel fuller because of it. The world is a large place, and we are only a part of it. We do touch it every day. Once in a while, we can attempt to touch a different part of it.
Please enjoy the rest of the pictures.

Santorini, Greece

Kusadasi, Turkey

Pamukkale, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

Ephesus, Turkey

email login