drop of color into something clear
I can't help but pull lines from the book I'm reading when writing about our trip. Since the novel is based in Athens, I think it's warranted. Plus, it's one of the most beautiful stories I've read in awhile.
In it, Rebecca thinks: "The love of a man is like a drop of color into something clear."
I'm beginning to equate this to my experience of seeing a new place. Some color, lets say yellow, is dropped into water and slowly meanders to each corner of clear. As I travel throughout Greece, I go from completely foreign, to slowing knowing, to filling in spaces that were once hollow.
Greece was once an idea and now it's become something I can hold onto. We spent the day in Athens, one of the world's oldest cities that sprinkles modernity throughout; buildings from 438 BC are called ruins, but feel the opposite of ruined. These are mixed with cafes stocked with cakes and breads, sephoras and Hard Rock Cafes. The city feels misplaced, like it's two separate puzzle pieces that don't quite fit into one another.
Athens sits somewhere between developing and developed. You have to wait for your hot water to boil in the bathroom, and many cafe seats are made of plastic. People pile water bottles in garbage bins. I don't pass for Greek, but I do for European, so it's the first time in a while where I don't stick out like a sore thumb. For once, I almost blend into something foreign.
We woke up Sunday morning in our flat close to the city square. We made coffee and attempted our way through the sweet, sweet baklava, before giving up half-way. We took our paper map and confidently walked in the wrong direction for a few blocks, before re-routing ourselves without the help of Google. We entered a coin museum by accident and stayed for the espresso. We meandered through cobble stoned roads with thin sidewalks, dotted with stray cats and cafes. Eventually, we made it to the Acropolis (...you really can't miss it) and spent a few hours walking through the Parthenon, old theaters and temples, something attributed to Zeus, and the Acropolis museum. We mazed our way back towards home through a cobweb of Mediterranean restaurants set up perfectly for tourists, and sat with an old man named George who made us "the best Greek coffee" in the world before finding home, tired.
On Monday morning, I woke up after a night of no sleep. I gave up at 4:30 am and crept to the tiny kitchen to boil water for coffee. It took only a few minutes to make, and I think it's a little weak. I used my fork to play with the baklava honey that stuck to the bottom of the pastry box; the space behind my eyelids feel closed. Little specks of life pump through my veins with each sip from the mug.
After coffee, we found our way to the port before the sun was up, and took a ferry the size of a small town to Santorini. It was an eight hour ride and the snack bar was empty, so we subsided on a day-old baguette and left-over salted almonds from JFK. (ps <3 Edgar still.) That is where we are now. With more to come!
Oh and PS _ travel is often surrounded by food: we typically eat greek salads for lunch, which are just thick slices of cucumber, tomato, olives, and red onion, bathed in a fresh layer of olive oil. Dinners are usually a mix of roasted vegetables, broiled feta, pita bread, yellow split-pea soup or eggplant, and maybe some meat (for me).