Originally uploaded by Barbara Y.
Oh I am so content to be back in the attic of our village house, overlooking the rising hills of the French countryside after two and a half weeks of traveling through Greece.
I am overwhelmed by the Greek culture and people - so much diversity in the land of the gods, as we moved from the urban Athens with the ancient acropolis above the city to the green and, for us, often rainy windy island of Skopelos where Rob's birthday celebration took place, to the southern island of Crete where we wandered the ancient port of Hania and drove along the west coast to a resort near Kissamoo, and finally back to Athens where we met up with Helen and Angela and their cousin Margaret for dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant.
Rob admitted feeling out of place in the company of four women though, in my eyes, he looked quite comfortable during the evening. I must remember that appearances can be deceptive. One can never know what another - even a close other - is feeling or thinking. My first thought was that he would have enjoyed being the sole male but after his admission, I thought what if the shoe was on the other foot, what if it were me dining with four men? I imagine that I would feel similar to Rob.
Earlier in the day, I shopped with Angela and Helen. These two are so much fun and know the city so well that I followed their lead in and out of small shops and one grandiose department store until I felt I would drop though we did stop for lunch at a Taverna where my two Greek friends ordered a simple but delicious meal of appetizers (in Greek) and later, they did take me to their favourite boutique where, with their prompting, I bought myself a pair of turquoise, hand-crafted earrings. (Helen and Angela have a penchant for the beautiful and unusual in jewelery and scarves. I feel like such a plain dresser beside them.)
The next morning, our last full day in Athens, Rob and I went to the Archeological museum. I felt as if I were back at university in an art history class, learning about the origins of western art and civilization. Wandering through the rooms, beginning with many statues of larger-than-life young men, Kouri (most with their penises missing), to the free-standing statues of the gods in motion, to the reliefs on sarophagi, to the... to the... my head was swimming though it was one of the finest musuems that I have ever visited. The passage from room to room, the chronological order of the exhibits, the introductions as one enters each room (in Greek and English) were easily assimilated and gave one (me) an idea of just how smart and artistic these old Greeks were/are. The world as we know it began here... I feel so small and ignorant about all this stuff but I left wanting to know more.
Rob and I parted and I wandered through the old market streets to meet up with Helen and Angela who were as sick of stores as me so we went to the Benaki musuem, ate well in the elegant dining hall, and then wandered through rooms filled with mannequins dressed in authentic Greek costumes (or what were once the everyday clothing) from all the islands. Again the diversity was extraordinary and it was so much richer visiting with my women friends as Angela would shout with glee when she saw outfits from her paternal grandmother's island, Nexos and then another from both their maternal side, and Helen had the same response when she saw a similar dress from Skopelos that she wore to her wedding, making all so much more personal. At the end I bought of portfolio of costumes - fine enough to be framed - to adorn some walls in our French house.
In the evening, Rob and I went to a small Taverna at the foot of the acropolis and the next day, spent most of it on the tedious and tiring trip back to Toulouse.
Today I return to my writing... it's too difficult for me while traveling though I think about it all the time. Sometimes I write stories inside my head, without a pen, and I am more than pleased with the results; but when I pick up pen and try to replicate these or something, anything, I most often become frustrated... they don't flow... I hate what appears... but I can't seem to stop myself... I must stop here. I don't want to bore you once again with my writing angst.