End of a Journey, Beginning of a Journey

Trip Start Jun 01, 2008
Trip End Jun 30, 2008

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Where I stayed

Flag of Greece  , Attica,
Monday, June 16, 2008

Today I said goodbye to the girls as our two wonderful weeks together came to an end.  We've spent more time together in the last two weeks than in the last four years, or more, really, and this has been wonderful.  We spent our last full day together, and last day in Crete, lounging around the Albatross pool, knowing all the photos had been taken, all the gifts bought.  Partly, we just wanted a final day to rest, as we all prepared for the next few weeks, whether returning to work or, for me, preparing for two very vigorous weeks of exploring mainland Greece.  But partly also, some of us were sleeping off the night before, the last night of holiday and the only big night out.  We had already been out late watching the Russia-Greece match of the Euro Cup, having selected a seaside and relatively smoke-free taverna not far from the hotel.  Gradually the tavern filled with Russian nationals and we wound up surrounded by loud supporters of the "other" team.  But everyone got along.  The Russians were obviously happy to see their team win, of course, but the Greece put on a stoic face and proceeded to drown their woes in good company.  I returned to the hotel at that point but the girls decided to go taverna-hopping along the waterfront for a while.  Unlimited, free alcohol can seem like such a good thing at first... 
Then today, we rose before dawn to catch our 5:20 am transfer to the Iraklio airport.  We were able to witness the arrival of dawn, the change-skin goddess, according to the Orphic hymn, and the rising of the sun: yet another cloudless and soon-to-be-hot day in sun-drenched Crete.  Our short flight to Athens was smooth and pleasant, if altogether too early, and then it was time to find our luggage and for the girls to check in for the Toronto leg of their trip.  The girls will be posting about their experiences on Facebook and I'll continue to blog here.
We came up with some group memories, though: our favorite hotel of the trip (the Yannaki, unanimous), our favorite meal (lunch at the Xenios Zeus, in the Plaka, the day I took the girls to the Acropolis) and our favorite tour (the day we visited Nea Kameni and Oia town).  Some favorite moments including hearing a man in Mykonos say to his partner "Honey, I want to cook to you," hearing a little toddler left a moment too long at the sea edge on the black sand beach of Santorini call "Papoo!  Papoo!" to his grandfather and discovering that the back of the "make up room" sign at the Albatross in Hersonissos actually said "do not disturd."  As well, there are many more moments of just discovering how amusing and lovable we are to each other.
And finally the time came for the last hugs, just after we met up with Karen near Chocoland in the lower level.  Hugs and kisses and promises to email and share on Facebook and then the girls disappeared into the elevator, tired, sun burnt and happy.
The next two weeks, Karen and I will be traveling mainland Greece, visiting a lot of ancient archaeology sites.  Today, she's adjusting to the time difference, but first we took the Metro into town from the airport (Toronto SO needs an airport train), picked up her Museum Pass from the Canadian Institute, found our hotel (the Attalos on Athinas Street, with a view of the Acropolis from our balcony), lunched in the Plaka and took a brief look at the Agora (free admission today because of the national holiday).  Now she's napping and I'm uploading photos, repairing and washing some clothes and trying the new battery in my cell phone.  Yes!  It works!  I'm connected again!  And this is good because we have several appointments to set up.  But you know, that nap looks inviting, especially since I was up so early this morning, too.  An afternoon siesta is a Greek tradition, after all.
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