Equanimous

O Palm Tree,

You sway without any worry,

And grow at your own pace,

Ye know its not a race;

O Orchid,

You mesmerize me,

And beautifully bloom within and without;

O Wind,

You pass by magnificently with much ease

Unruffled and unaffected so

By earthly matters,

Like no man could be!

You are oh so calm,

In the midst of a mental storm;

Hey Nature,

You are there for me

Equanimously!

HOLINESS

Tranquility is life, but is your life tranquil?

stop and listen to your heart beat

sip away that coffee in leisure

stare at that auburne autumn

take in that passerby’s infectious smile

gaze into that dog’s eyes

discern that ocean sand

get to the end of that cliff

whiff that sunflower after rain

savour that butter

reminisce that dream

dig into your soul, absorb the state of being

as holiness is to BE…….


A Greek Fantasy

“Travel opens your heart, broadens your mind and fills your life with stories to tell.” – Paula Bendfeldt

Greece is a beautiful country, being every honeymooner’s (including my) dream destination! Having visited Greece for our honeymoon, this article is a short guide on things to do when holidaying in Greece, based on our personal experience.

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Typically, the best time to visit Greece is during the summer months, i.e. May to October, when there is no rain and temperatures are not too low, i.e. between 12 and 20 degrees celcius.

PLACES WE COVERED: We did an 8 day Greek trip covering Athens, Mykonos and Santorini. From Dubai, we took a direct flight to Athens and thereafter took a ferry to the Cycladic islands of Mykonos and Santorini.

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ATHENS: Athens is a historic city with magnificent architecture, pretty & photogenic streets and some amazing Greek food! We spent two days in Athens and began our trip with a scrumptious Greek meal which was a perfect start. Some of the popular local dishes to try are: 1) Greek Feta in a Phyllo pastry with honey 2) Gyros 3) Tzaziki & Greek salad 4) Moussaka 5) Greek desserts such as Kataifi, Greek Baklava, Greek milk pie. Our next agenda was to visit the Acropolis of Athens which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Acropolis is a complex built on a hill which houses the ancient Greek monuments and temples. The most famous structure of the Acropolis is the Parthenon i.e. a former Greek temple dedicated to the Greek Goddess Athena. There is also a massive stone open air theatre called Odeon of Herodes Atticus where concerts and events are held till date. It is recommended to take a guided tour of Acropolis to get enlightened on the history of Greece and the significance of the monuments. Moving on, we spent the evening in Plaka, which is walkable from Acropolis. Plaka is a beautiful neighbourhood in old Athens with lively little streets, cute cafes, restaurants, small shops and amazing gelaterias where one could leisurely stroll and easily spend a good day. Girls do not miss the Greek sandals and delicate Greek jewellery when in Plaka! A specialty in Greek jewellery is the black lava stone created from the volcanic ashes from the Greek volcanoes. Rare designer semi-precious stone jewellery too is available in Greek boutique stores. Another attractive neighbourhood is Monastiraki with narrow streets and loads of souvenior stores. Most of the city is accessible on foot, however the Athenian sun is a bit harsh in the peak summers. Lastly, though most people recommended us against visiting Athens, we gave it a shot & ending up loving the vibe of the city.

Odeon

Key takeaways: a) Great food with vegan options too – Da Vinci’s gelato is a must do; b) Acropolis of Athens; c) Walking tour of old Athens; d) Greek sandals and jewellery; e) Sunscreen, shades and shorts necessary in the summer.

MYKONOS: Next, we took a ferry from the Piraeus port of Athens to the island of Mykonos, which was about 2 hours away. The ferry is quite reasonable costing around 20-40 euros per person. Mykonos is the party capital of Greece and is often referred to as the Ibiza of Greece with vibrant beach clubs, sunset bars, crazy nightlife, white washed houses, windmills and rocky beaches. We stayed in Tagoo, Mykonos for 3 days in a boutique cave hotel with a fabulous view of the Aegean Sea, which was only a fifteen minute walk from the centre of Mykonos town. The walk to the centre of town is quite picturesque and breathtaking towards sunset time. One of the central and must do neighbourhoods is Little Venice which encompasses cute blue and white houses in tiny lanes laced with cafes, souvenir shops, restaurants and sunset bars. All the sunset bars are at the edge of the sea and have a postcard view of the entire town and windmills of Mykonos. It is indeed a blissful experience to watch the Greek sun setting in the midst of white washed houses and clear blue waters while sipping a delicious cocktail at a beautiful sunset bar. We went to Caprice, one of the best sunset bars in Mykonos. There are sensational beach clubs in Mykonos, the popular ones being Scorpios, Nammos, Cavo Paradiso Club, Paradise and Super Paradise where one can groove to great party music while taking a dip in the sea! Scorpios was my favourite beach club as it had a rustic and eerie vibe to it with some brilliant lighting, music and view. Our time flew by in Mykonos and it was time to catch our next ferry to Santorini, the island which we were most excited to visit. For Mykonos, two-three days is the perfect duration to stay.

Key takeaways: a) Caprice sunset bar; b) Beach clubs; c) Party in Little Venice; d) Windmills (tours available too); d) Wine tasting tours; e) Sweater weather in the evenings as Mykonos is a windy town.

SANTORINI: Santorini being the most tourist frequented island of all times, boasts of the world-famous panoramic sunsets, magnificent landscapes, volcanoes and a pleasing romantic atmosphere. Oia, Fira and Imerovigli are the best towns to stay at, since they offer amazing views of the caldera and sunset. As these areas are on a hill, it is likely to have tons of stairs to reach your hotel so make sure to travel light. We stayed at a cute resort in Oia, which is quite central & and has amazing boutique stores, churches, elite restaurants and mind blowing photo spots. Fira has a lot of good restaurants, shops and the port for taking cruises for touring Santorini. It is recommended to stay in a cave hotel and most of the rooms have an attached hot tub or plunge pool making it more worth the while. For commuting in Santorini, taxis are rare and expensive, therefore, it is best to walk and explore, use public transport or rent a quad bike. Unlike the common opinion of renting a car to move around in Santorini, we did not find it necessary. We visited Old castle in Oia, i.e. the most popular sunset point in Santorini, to witness the pink summer sunset over the vast landscape of the island. I have never seen a more extraordinary sunset than this! Santorini also has amazing day & sunset catamaran cruises where one can explore the volcanoes, hot springs, have a refreshing dive in the sea, indulge in water sports, gorge on barbecue supper & drinks, and lastly, watch the gorgeous sunset from the cruise. Local boutiques in Santorini sell unique Greek handmade artworks, paintings, souvenirs & gift items. Santorini is famous for its wine & it is recommended to go for a wine tour for an enriching wine tasting experience. Don’t miss the Greek frozen yogurt which is absolutely delicious & necessary on a peak summer afternoon. Again, two-three days would suffice for Santorini.

Key takeaways: 1. Visit the wineries; 2. Take the catamaran cruise; 3. Old castle for sunset; 4. Greek paintings and unique artwork at local stores; 5. Click loads of pictures & make tons of memories in this aesthetic & heavenly island.

TO END: For us, Athens was a great European city experience with a balance of sightseeing, local food, shopping & walking in sunshine. On the other hand, Mykonos and Santorini, the most popular islands in Greece, each has its own charm. While Mykonos is more of a party destination, which we thoroughly enjoyed, Santorini has more of a relaxed vibe where you can sit back and enjoy that glass of wine while taking in the astonishing and breathtaking landscape view which one can’t get enough of. Though we missed covering numerous Greek islands, we had a ball of an experience and this country will always remain in our hearts with wonderful memories. The Greek locals were extremely hospitable & helpful & we found Greece to be vegetarian and vegan friendly as well. Overall, a luxurious 8-10 day holiday in Greece would cost around INR 3,00,000 – 4,00,000 for 2 persons which is definitely on the expensive side, but it is a spectacular once in a lifetime experience! However everyone spends differently on holiday and it depends on what kind of trip you’re choosing at the end of the day.

XOXO

BOM TO DXB AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN!

Here I am! Mrs Jogan Mohit Bhojwani (new name and all ;). My husband and I got happily married on 3rd March, 2019 by celebrating with a big fat Sindhi wedding in Bangkok! I can safely say that my life has definitely changed since I met the man of my dreams. From the planning of our engagement to the wedding preparations and moving countries, every part of it was overwhelming but also magical, as I had faith that things would be amazing on the other side, i.e. a new chapter of my life. It was a good kind of nervousness and excitement!

Let me tell you, having a destination wedding and then directly moving to a new country is no joke! There was an overflow of emotions, apprehensions and restlessness. Tons of checklists, wedding outfits, trousseau shopping, dance performances, jewellery planning and so on had all of me. Ultimately, with my husband’s passion for planning and our families’ joint efforts, our wedding turned out to be picture-perfect and flawless (I’m sure you all can vouch for that). As they say, the best moments are over before you know and realize it. That’s how the wedding flew by.

However, reality, i.e. a marriage begins once the courtship and wedding finishes! There are so many life changes from the minutest to the greatest of things. For me, some of the highlights were: moving from a noisy home and environment in India, to a peaceful abode in Dubai, from the small groups of friends I was comfortable with, to the day-to-day social life in Dubai, from partying every weekend to satsang, from conformity to individuality, everything was different! Nevertheless, the transition from single to married happened effortlessly most of the time, but still had its difficult moments. My husband has been there for me throughout and my new family also welcomed me with abundance of love and blessings.

Therefore, in order to keep up with moving countries and stay sane in the midst of my new marriage, I decided to pursue the following: move out of my comfort zone and accept what life has in store for me, have patience, stay positive, embrace the changes with open arms, and lastly, go with the flow! Not every day is the best day, but after every storm, there is sunshine!

It has been an amazing six months in Dubai, and in no time will those months turn into years. Just live, love and laugh your way through!

XOXO

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