Tuesday, July 31, 2018

19 Days: I Dream of Greece

My colleague left on her holidays today. Three weeks she's gone for. As one of the hardest workers I know, she deserves the break.

However, I'm as jealous as all hell.

Her first stops - Athens, then Santorini and then Mykonos.

I lived in Greece for a few months about 15 years ago. I look at this time as one of the more formative of my life. See, at the time, my plans all fell to crap. The job I was promised fell through and I was a bit stuck, but this time taught me that sometimes, taking a chance and getting out of a rut can be the best thing you can do for yourself.

The other thing that I remember from the time was that my head was all in a mess over a man. Greece put me away from all of this. Once again, I was grateful for the time away.

Talking with my colleague today, my time on Mykonos came back in buckets.

"But don't you like Santorini?" she asked.
"Not really - it's a bit of a blonde of a place - gorgeous to look at but it lacks substance."

Well this is my opinion. For some reason, I didn't feel safe on the island. It was probably more that I'd made friends on Mykonos and was feeling desperately lonely down at Kamari beach.

Mykonos, however, became my home.

There is something about island life which appeals to me. I've been trying to put my finger in it for ages. Is it that the land is finite? Is it that with the stable population? For me on Mykonos, was it that I could pad around at all hours of the day and night in a little dress, a big hat and a pair of sandals, skin brown, hair starting to bleach, living on a diet of Greek Salad, the odd yiros and a daily "kafe frappe metrio me gala", which was ordered in my best Greek.

I was learning Greek. I befriended some bar staff hungering for English lessons.

Greek is easy after a while. They only talk about three things. Money, love and home. Lefpta, agape, spiti. They come up regularly and often in conversation.

I remember being  as happy as a clam, padding around the laneways of this little island, meeting fellow travellers, occasionally making a night of it at one of the many bars, drinking and dancing away the balmy evenings.

My stay there started in the off season. You see a different side of the island in April. It's more relaxed. Calmer. Less bothersome. Fewer tourists. There are days you can't move down the Venetian laneways for the tourists. It's the only place in the world you'll find donkey poo outside a Cartier shop. Or a huge, stroppy pelican, named Petros. He  bailed me up one night as I was ambling home, half drunk at two in the morning. That pelican is a bit of a nuisance.

My colleague was told to say hello to Petros for me.

After a chat, we looked over a map of the island. I've told her to go to Elia beach - an idyllic spot on the south of the island, where the naked men frolic like lambs. It's a liberating experience.

She's been told to get one of the little yiros you find out near gold alley - I wonder if that shop is still there.

Oh, and on that one day where you need to do something quieter - the half day trip to Delos is a must. An uninhabited island full of ruins, it's a fascinating morning looking at the ruins.

I'm not sure if she's into clubbing, but the clubs are great there.

It was a fun time. It was a strange time of my life. It would be good to go back and see it one day.

Today's Song:

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