Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Minnie & Mealey's Greek Adventure (part 1)

Traveling with my friend Aravinda (a.k.a. Min) is never, ever dull. We traveled around Greece for three weeks in September 2006, island-hopping on and off the tourist track. My journals from that trip are full of what Min and Leah call the 'liturgy'—a string of inside jokes and assorted nonsense, which we would sometimes recite out loud and add to each time. Here is but a brief sample:
HOT CHOCOLATE + COINTREAU = SEXUAL BLISS. [Written at charming cocktail bar on Lesbos.] This music is making me sterile. "Oedipa came to, to find herself getting laid." "She's sniffing his armpit. He's dry-humping her. That's real sexy." [I believe that refers to a pair of turtles we found tussling in a cemetery.]
A walk through olive groves outside Plomari on Lesbos:


Minnie Minster chillin' on the ramparts of an amazing medieval fortress, Mithymna, Lesbos:

We went to a hot spring near Mithymna as well, in a small building that reminded me of an igloo (hah!) You would hang out in the hot water for awhile (trying to avoid looking at everyone else's boobs—we were the only women there in one-piece bathing suits), then go straight outside and dive into the sea. So refreshing, I can't even tell you.

(Not the beach by the hot springs, but you get the gist.)

Pretty much the only places we visited on mainland Greece were Athens and Delphi. The Acropolis is as touristy as you'd expect, but I found it funny that once you're up there, you look down at the city and you realize just how hideous all the modern architecture is. The only good view is looking up at it. Delphi was almost as touristy, but the scenery was fantastic.

(Above: the Erechtheion on the Acropolis; below, Delphi.)


We visited six islands in all: Lesbos, Ithaki, Mykonos, Delos, Santorini, and Crete. We'd originally wanted to visit the Peloponnese, but realized we didn't have quite enough time, and Ithaki was plan B.

9:30PM—Friday, 22 September 2006

Ithaki is lovely. Min says it's her new favorite, but I can't decide which place I prefer. This afternoon we walked a couple kilometers past darling terraced houses and hills covered in olive trees to a small secluded harbor and pebbly beach. The water was clear and warm and I quickly waded in up to my neck. Then I noticed movement beneath the surface—a few (at least three) schools of fish swimming all around me! It kind of freaked me out at first—I had this hilariously stupid idea that these tiny black fish were carnivorous (TEE HEE!) Took loads of pictures in the dusk. I didn't want to leave...

Last night, when we got off the ferry at 12:30am—having failed to secure a room, but unconcerned, seeing as we're always approached by some legitimate domatia owner—I had quickly decided I liked the place. A clear sky full of stars, the air heavy with jasmine—there's definitely a timeless quality to this island I haven't noticed elsewhere. The dull chime of bells around goats' necks in the distance, the old man waving from his veranda on the hill above us, the dogs half-asleep in the road, the colorful rowboats bobbing in the eerily clear water—(I pictured whole rooms beneath the surface, furnished in algae and shaded in green and blue)—yes, timeless.

(Not bad for point-and-click, eh?)

Next time: Mykonos/Delos, Santorini, and Crete.

3 comments:

Susan said...

Beautiful photos! I want the last one for the family room! So restful.

Aravinda said...

Mealey, you are a born writer - beautiful descriptions of our time on those enchanted isles. I still remember the giddiness that infected us in Delphi, belly button of the world.

You have inspired me! By the end of October, I will have posted at least some pics and writing about Peru and Thailand on my practically blank blog.

Kate said...

You make me want to go to Greece right now!