It had been a long and frustrating day. Up beyond early to wait in an airport, two delayed flights, no time to grab food, a confusing metro system, and then getting lost in the Acropolis area thanks to a faulty map location. I just wanted to put my head down and not open my eyes until the next morning. Instead, we decided to explore. We walked up and down the streets of Athens and I had to reminding myself that this was real.
We were walking fast, cutting through the crowd – out into the street around the stroller, back to the inside and up the steps around the school girls. Our destination in our mind, the happy babble of Turkish around us, we aimed to see as many of the sights as we could. Down into the depths of the city to find Medusa’s head within the cistern, back out into the bright daylight to visit the Blue Mosque prior to prayer, around the weaving streets to barter our way through the Grand Bazaar.
Never forget when you are bartering that everything is negotiable. Just remember that when everything is negotiable that you always give something up in order to get what you want. Maybe it’s a higher price than you wanted to pay for the stone goblets you had to have, maybe it’s the quality of workmanship on the bedroom furniture you ordered (my advice: never go too low if they’re building you a bed), or maybe it’s the amount of time to explore a priceless ruin. Everything has it’s price and it will be paid one way or another.
When planning this trip and doing all the research for each port, Delos sang me a siren song. The birthplace of Apollos and Artemis, the isle promised ruins and adventure. Sneaking off with B, when everyone else voted for the beach, we hiked, we explored, and we reveled in the beauty. Delos itself featured windswept dirt, hearty bushes of pricklies, and glorious ruins rising tall from the landscape. It granted a rebirth of sorts, a refresher, strength to contemplate reality’s return.
Something about the last day makes it the hardest. Everyone is exhausted, quirks have lost their charm and turned annoying, and there is the ever present doom of the return to reality hanging over your head. Crete disappointed me. Then we slipped down the pier toward an old fort, there was a break in the sea wall. Fresh, salty air blew in, coating glasses, swirling dresses, and refreshing all. A brief moment of respite, a reminder that all is not always as it seems, a benediction from Greece.