Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 15 June 2015 • Abroad
We’re back! It’s been two weeks since our last post, the longest break we’ve had on blogging. It’s not that we forgot to, on the contrary we missed blogging so much! But work, crazy deadlines, and me going on a month-long trip to the land of gods, had to be in the way. I didn’t even have time for jet lag! But that’s all over now, I can finally breathe again, go through my Greece photos and share my Greece highlight with you. Here is Hellas, as the Greeks call their land in the archaic time, from my point of view.
When I’m writing this, I’m a bit hungry, and I’m thinking of Kuluri. It’s the Greek bun with sesame on it. I had this Kuluri in Gioras Wood Bakery, a family-run bakery in Mykonos, that has been supplying bread and cakes for the towners for 500 years! They bake the bread with wood fire, the only place around that still applies such traditional method. George Vamvakouris, the heir and the main baker has been baking since he was 8 and is still doing it with love. His wife, Cloe Papaioannou, helps in the store and café with her daughter Irini. I had a very long and interesting conversation with Cloe about Greek cultures, among others, and enjoyed the sight of her wearing matching blue and white outfit.
The Museum of Typography near Chania, the second biggest city on the island, displays a lot of historical press machines. A few are copies, most of them are the real stuff. They even have the oldest printed poster! It’s a very important museum. Students from all over Greece go there for field trips. And it was a very important visit to me, one who adores the art of arranging type. I looked at those printing machines like my niece looks at Disney’s Frozen dolls.
Diyan dragged me into hiking a few times in Greece, I ended up loving it. Samaria Gorge in Crete is gorgeous! We hiked down to and walked through the gorge, in total of 12 km, for about 7 hours. At first I thought I wouldn’t make it, but I actually underestimated myself. We did more hiking after this one!
We hiked up the mythical Olympus Mountain, starting from the 1100 meters ASL to the refugee camp at 2100 meter ASL. We decided not to get to the top because Diyan read that it gets harder to climb after the refugee. Zeus could be waiting for us on the top, but who knows, he could also be going undercover as donkeys or fluffy dogs that we passed by along the way. Even though we only went halfway, the view was godly beautiful. We couldn’t help stopping so often just to admire the scenery – and to catch a breath. A bit of snow was still left coming near the refugee. Diyan was psyched to see his first snow. I was nervous knowing melting snow could be so slippery.
It’s amazing to visit some monasteries up on the super high cliff in Meteora. But the more amazing view to me was people taking, maybe, hundreds of stair steps to praise the Lord and to learn about Orthodox Christianity, even the really old nuns. And the most amazing of all, is how these stone buildings were built centuries ago on high cliffs, only using simple tools and technology.
Traveling slow means we could take time just to sit and enjoy the street musicians perform. This was taken on the street right between the Acropolis and the Museum of Acropolis, Athens. We were having our packed dinner when the duo came and started to play. I took my time sketching while Diyan was taking pictures of the surroundings.
A day trip to Hydra Island, a 2-hour boat trip from Athens. No motor vehicle is allowed to operate on the island. The beaches are gorgeous, but seriously, Indonesia is much luckier to have long stretch of sandy beaches. Something I didn’t see in Greece eventhough I went to a couple of beaches.
One of the must-visit and totally touristy places in Athens, the Acropolis ancient complex. This is the ruins of the main temple, Parthenon, dedicated to the goddess Athena. It is the biggest temple in the complex and has gone through so much in history. It is actually a replacement building after the original one was destroyed in the Persian invasion in 5th century BC. Then it was used as a treasury before it became a Christian church, and then functioned as a mosque after the Ottoman conquest. If the Parthenon’s Doric pillars could talk, I can’t imagine how much it would tell. But anyway, I couldn’t believe I was finally there!
One of the alleys in Mykonos, selling souvenirs and olive soaps. Mykonos and Santorini islands, the two most prominent islands for tourism, are widely known for their blue-white nuance. Even many of the visitors dress themselves up in blue and white, including yours truly. However, the more I moved around the country, the more colors I see of Greece. They’re not just about blue and white. They’re also red, brown, green, gray, and all colors in the world that you can think of.
I could not be happier to see so many cats on the streets of every place we went in Greece. Even the stray cats are cute, fluffy and friendly to human. Wish I could take them home with me.
The small – but the most beautiful – town Oia comes more alive at night. We didn’t see much of the town late at night because I was having a sore throat and had to turn in early. Unfortunate, but hey, health comes first! But still, it was one of my Greece highlight moments.
Overall, one month in Greece was one of the greatest months in my life so far. A lot of the activities were tiring and we needed to save up like crazy for the trip, but it was all worth the experience. Choosing photos for this post was hard! It’s like I wanted – correction: needed – to show everything and tell everything. At the same time, I felt like I didn’t take enough photos. So I guess this is how it feels to have actually been to your most dreamed-of destination. It is a really great feeling and I wouldn’t change it for the world!