Friday, October 28, 2005

Myceniona, Thessalonikis, Greece

Last one, for now anyway! This is Ari with his first cousin Saki and his Aunt Vetta in Ari's home town of Myceniona, a tiny fishing village near Thessalonikis...Lynette R. lived there for a year or so, coincedentally!

Jessie and Rob with our Psipsina, greek for kittycat, on the windy staircase up to the roof. Posted by Picasa

Here is our roof-top garden/laundry/coffee drinking place! A little spiral staircase led us up to our roof at our flat in Athens. The flat was our "home base" for our entire stay. Posted by Picasa

Leaving our wake! : ) Posted by Picasa

This is a lovely fountain in the middle of the Plateea or square, the heart of Old Town Rhodes. Posted by Picasa

Fat and Happy! Posted by Picasa

O.k., last one of the meal! In the red is cousin Nikitas, C.Katarina, Aunt Maria and then Sara, her husband, C.George, etc...and the circle is complete! Posted by Picasa

The other half of the group; after C. Katarina you see C. George's wife Sara, and Jessica is sitting between Ari and Rob...Uncle George is in the background. Posted by Picasa

Here we are at our fabulous feast fit for kings! Clockwise around the table; Ari, Rob, U. George, Saki, Cousin Katarina, C. George and myself. Jess is taking the pic. Posted by Picasa

Here we are walking up the street to Uncle George's house...first you see Jess, then me and Uncle George is the little guy in the white shirt. Posted by Picasa

Outside our room in Rhodes, enjoying coversation late into the night. Posted by Picasa

Here is an example of the white-washed walls with the deep blue accents and the lovely fucia-pink climbing vines...this is the entry to our room. Posted by Picasa

Early dawn, heading into port in Rhodes. All around you can see the Castle walls. Posted by Picasa

Our not-so-delux sleeping arrangements whilst on the ferry. Posted by Picasa

Our delux ride to and from the Isle of Rhodes Posted by Picasa

The little balcony off of our bedroom at our flat in Athens. Posted by Picasa

Ari & I at the Acropolis Posted by Picasa

Home Again, home again, Jiggity-Jog!

And boy does it feel good! I missed my bed, soft pillows and stand-up showers the most on our trip. : ) You will have to go from the bottom up with all of the pictures that I posted...I wasn't thinking about the order when I posted them.

We had an amazing time, it is all sort of a blur in my mind right now because there were so many amazing things that happened. I think that my favorite story would have to be our time on the Island of Rhodes when we met Ari's family. We were staying in this great hotel with an amazing, circular pool that wrapped around a cabana bar in it's center. The whole hotel was the typical medd. look with the white washed walls and the very deep blue doors and trim with the red tile roofs and these amazing fushia pink flowering vines trailing up the arch-ways of every door. One of Ari's Uncle's got us a great deal on the stay, something like 30 euros a night!

At this hotel, the beds were like rocks and the pillows were worse! Every place that we stayed had one of those hand-heald shower nozzles that no matter how you try to position in the little holder, it always ends up spraying the ceiling or out the side of the shower curtain...(that is if you are lucky enough to have a shower curtain! : ) Also, every where we went, the toilet seats were like this very cheap, thin plastic, very uncomfortable, as if they were made to be disposable,and then somebody thought, "hey, these things can be re-used!" and the lid NEVER stayed up! So, while you are sitting there, the stupid thing keeps hitting you in the back! : ) O.k., that was the worst of it, everything else was a sheer joy and a dream come true! Honestly, we kept bursting into tears at how blessed we were and how wonderfully amazing everything was! We ran out of adjestives by our second day there because everything was so great! God blessed every step of each day, right down to taxis showing up the exact minute that we needed one.

Anyway, back to my favorite story...We planned to be picked up the next morning by one of Ari's second cousins, Nikita, whom Ari had never met, but who cares?! He was right on time and the cutest thing we'd ever seen! (He is 20 or 21, and the sweetest, most thoughtful guy.) So, we all piled into his tiny car, (they all have tiny cars) Jessica, Rob, Ari and myself and Nikitas proceeded to drive us to "Old Town" inside the Castle walls! Now, you must understandt that we were cautioned to not drive in Greece because it is crazy and traffic lights mean nothing to them...everyone was right! It was insane! : ) We were zipping along, over hill and dale listening to some great Greek hip-hop and loving every minute of it. Suddenly we turned up a little street to a gate and a soldier/guard opened the gate for us and we drove inside the walls of this super old Castle! Now we were driving on cobble-stone streets that were scarcely large enough for a VERY compact car, and perhaps a person plastered up against the wall...he didn't slow down at all! : ) We were dodging pedestrians, cats and motor scooters left and right. We pulled to a stop and parked, basically in the middle of the street, got out, Nikita took out some keys, opened a lock in the wall and a door opened...we walked in and there we were inside his house!

The place was soooooo small. It had an up-stairs that we never saw, but you can imagin how little things would be living, literally INSIDE the walls of an ancient castle. We went directly out into their back yard/garden where everything was growing, from olives trees to orange trees to lime trees to grape vines to fig treess to pecan treess to white ginger get the idea. There were two dogs and a mirriad of cats milling about. We all sat around a table in the sun-dappled afternoon light and fell in love with people we had never met before.

Ari's Great Uncle Panthelis, a.k.a. George, pronounced Yeorgous, his Great Aunt Maria, his Second Cousin George, his wife Sara, S.C. Nikitas and S.C. Katarina and her fiance' Saki. Soon we were all sitting around joking like old friends while Maria busied herself in the kitchen and Uncle George started a braisier (bbq-type thingy). Between the two of them, they created a feast fit for kings! We ate and ate and ate some more! It was like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", no joke! Everytime one of us would finish something on our plate, some how it would magically be replaced...Ari ate the better part of THREE lamb steaks! We finally figured out the system by watching the natives...always leave a little bite of each item on your plate. I guess that means that you have had enough, I think. : )

After we had had our fill, Ari's Uncle and his S.Cousin Nikita took us for a walk around Old Town. The streets are cobbled with marble...marble is EVERYWHERE! The streets were lined with venders selling all sorts of things, from giant sea sponges to honey which I guess is the pride of that particular was VERY good. Jessica bought all sorts of things, I was trying to be good. : ) Nikita snuck around a corner and came back with two bags, one for Jessie and one for me, containing a large sea sponge each! : ) A little while later, Ari's Uncle stole off for a minute and he came back with two bags, one for Jess and one for me, containing honey! : ) We wandered in and out of the shopping streets and onto these streets that led us up to the Castle. There were all of the giant, stone balls everywhere, and I was trying to figure out what they were, or at least what the story was behind them...Nikitas spoke english, so I asked him. He told me that they were from the catapults that they used back in the medieval times. Uncle George proceeded to tell me in thick Greek, that they were soccer balls to him! : ) I don't know what was better; that I understood him, or that he liked me enough to make a joke to me! : ) On our way back to the house, I purchased some flowers from a begger and when we walked in the front door Jessica and I gave them to Maria as a thank you...she understood. Everywhere we went in Greece it was only the younger generations that spoke any english, anyone older than 30-35 neither spoke nor understook any english at all.

That was one of the most wonderful times of my life, I was overwhelmed with the sense of blessing and fullfillment that I rarely have. Not only was everything right with the world, it was so much better than I could have imagined! That is how most of the trip went...everything was better than we could have asked or imagined...God is so faithful. Even now, I am feeling overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving...I can't believe that this time was ours. We got to see and do things that I never dreamed of. I can't wait to go again!

O.k., last one for now...I made it home! My cat is in the middle between my old Eeyore and my new one. I just can't part with my ol' pal even though the new one is soooo soft. The cat isn't too bad either! Jack was so happy to finally have us back, he's hardly left our sides. Posted by Picasa

Fun in the CA sun!

Here we are back State-side...we are in Disneyland, just a tad jet-lagged, but having a blast! (technically, we're in CA Adventure.) Posted by Picasa

Here is proof we are having fun! Posted by Picasa

From the left: Ari, Yaya Shula, Aunt Vetta, Ari, Saki, Christos (in yellow) and Leftedis (in red). I think that I spelled their names correctly...sorry if I didn't. : ) Posted by Picasa

Ari with his Yaya Shula. (Yaya means grandma or nana in Greek.) Posted by Picasa

Ari with his cousins from up north in Thessalonikis...from the left, Ari, Ari, Saki, little Christos and the dog, Dingo! Posted by Picasa

Here we go! Jessica and I heading off into the deep blue sea. Posted by Picasa

Ari getting ready to snorkle in the Aegean Sea! Life is rough! Posted by Picasa

The Castle of the Grand Masters! (part of it any way!) : ) Posted by Picasa