Sun, Sand and Flying Solo!!#Shutterbug Sparsh Kataria • November 5, 2015
When I started off 2015, one of the things on this year’s bucket list was to take a solo vacation, something I hadn’t done before. About half way through the year I zeroed in on going to Greece. Now as Turkey was just an hour away and was also my stopover I decided to add it to my itinerary too.
My exciting journey began in Istanbul, a city with endless beauty and charm. I was surrounded by architectural treasures, delicious food (even for a vegetarian) and Instagram worthy sights in the commonest of places. The area next to the Takshim Square, which I made my home for the first leg of my holiday, seemed to be the centre of all social activity—perfect for a girl like me who was travelling solo. The highlight of my stay here was visit to the Galata Tower which offers visitors a gorgeous view of the city, made even more memorable by a delicious lunch. The one thing I loved about Istanbul was the perfect amalgam of Arabic and European cultures, something that’s very evident in the dressing, food and shopping options. For instance, most night clubs played Turkish beats with hip hop back to back, which, surprisingly, sounded pretty cool.
My next stop was Cappadocia, which everyone warned me, would be too romantic a place—something that’d make me regret being single. On the contrary though, I felt that Cappadocia had so much to see and experience that during my stay here I barely got any time to feel alone or lonely or miss having a partner. This city, a must visit if you’re heading to Turkey, is straight out of a fable. Made from ancient remains now taking the form of caves, the hotels and establishments there have kept its ancient essence alive. The beautiful balloon ride at sunrise is something I may never forget. Sigh.
Turkey and Greece were a stone’s throw away geographically speaking but miles apart when it came to everything else.The unifying factors? Their love for tomato and baingan. After the enchanting Turkish cities, It was time for me to head to the historic Athens, and then to the Greek Islands of Mykonos, Paros, Santorini( my favourite) and Ios. Each of the Islands had a unique character yet all had one thing in common, the oh so inviting, crystal blue water.
The usual boat ride from one island to another involved sunbathing, diving into the sea for a lazy swim and barbequing at the islands we docked at. The Greek islands which are dotted with resorts are a mecca for partying (think noon to dawn) and I’m glad that the group of backpackers I was travelling with were an enthusiastic bunch.
Despite being on a strict budget, I got to experience everything from beautiful historical monuments to super fun bars, hot air balloon rides up in the sky to dives and sailing in the deep blue sea.
As far as solo travel goes, this holiday was a #win. I met new people, enjoyed diverse company and yet got to spend time with myself. It was super empowering to plan and do things exactly the way I wanted without considering anyone or anything else, as I normally would when travelling with friends and family. Needless to say, I’d recommend everyone do it at least once!