Kah-lee-MER-ah, Everyone! (That means ‘good morning’ in Greek! And yes, I wrote it phonetically, because I do not have the Greek alphabet on my keyboard, nor would most of you be able to read it if I did not do so.)
Thank you to Misty and Deanne for keeping you all company while I was away!
Greece was magnificent! We thoroughly enjoyed our pre-wedding honeymoon (yep, it’s backwards thanks to Joe’s gig schedule, but I’m just happy we got to get away).
We started in Santorini, which was breathtaking.
We stayed in one of the southern most cities, Akrotiri, which is the historical part of the island. It was quiet and scenic as our room overlooked the caldera, with Nea Kameni (the volano island) right in the middle.
This is what breakfast was like each day.
We rented ATV’s a couple times and cruised all around the island, checking out the northern most city Oia (pronounced Eeh-ah), relaxed in Perissa on the Perevolos black sand beaches, and headed down to the southern tip where we watched the sunset from the rocks around the lighthouse.
Our next stop was Athens. We left the beaches and wineries of Santorini for the Capital city. We got lost – in a good way – on the streets of the Plaka. We buzzed about Adrianou Street and ventured out to dine in street cafes where we listened to local musicians and stared up at the Acropolis.
On one of the hottest mornings of our trip, we trekked to the Acropolis. And it was totally worth the heat.
We visited the National Archeological Museum, the largest in the country. My favorite room showed the items and murals found in ancient Thira (Santorini) in the ruins of Akrotiri – an ancient trade port that was covered for centuries by volcanic ash and uncovered in the 1800’s. We walked the ruins in Akrotiri, and had to wait till we got to Athens to see the murals that were recovered there.
Famous Mural – The Boxing Boys
Did you all read Deanne’s guest post about the Greek Changing of the Guard? We did see the Evzones.
We had a date night at one of the most famous outdoor theaters, Cine Thissio, which was built in 1935.
And of course, the FOOD was amazing!!!
1.) Shockingly, I’m sure to you all, we only got kind of lost one and a half times. The first was after our ship docked in Piraeus and we had to find the metro to connect to Athens and check into our hotel. This was all after 9 o’clock at night, so it was dark out and there weren’t any signs for the metro that we could see.
We basically got there by meandering the city and following some other tourists for a bit, all while dragging our luggage along. We were hot, sweaty messes when we finally checked into our hotel. Oh…and I had what I thought was motion sickness, but ended up being vertigo, so I threw up a bunch that night!
2.) Yes, I got vertigo – actually still have vertigo – and that made touring Athens interesting. We had to take several breaks throughout the day for me to sit and cool down and start believing the walls and pavement were not in fact coming after me. For the record, vertigo sucks.
3.) The second time we got lost was our first full day in Athens. We had a map of the city, which was in English, but once you venture away from the main streets of the Plaka, most street signs are only in Greek, so the map didn’t help a ton. And it was also 99,000 degrees Celsius. Yes, Celsius!
We were literally wandering inside the very mouth of Hades!
4.) And this one is minor, truly. But, I did get me some sun poisoning in Santorini. As any good ginger knows, being in too much sun will cause one to self combust, and sauntering all over that beautiful island caused my arms to break out in some form of minor hive-age.
I paid a visit to a pharmacy in Fira where a very kind Greek woman helped me purchase what I hope was Grecian benadryl and anti-itch cream. The “Greek-adryl” box was entirely in Greek and her only counsel on the drug was to take it for 5-6 days. I didn’t know the dosage or whether the stuff was non-drowsy or what, so I resigned to only taking it at bedtime, wherein I seemed to conclude that it was in fact the drowsy version. It worked wonders on our final flight home in which Joe tells me there was some serious turbulence and a lightening storm that I completely missed. 😀
The anti-itch cream made me laugh as it was in Greek and Grenglish? My favorite part of the tube is where it read that the cream helps with “the itch of elderly people” followed directly by “contact with jellyfish.” It was most comforting to know that if I came in contact with either an old person or a jellyfish, I was covered itch-wise.
That’s our story! All in all, a very happy honeymoon!
As they say in Greece, “Cheers” or “Yah-mas!”
By Deanne M. Schultz, @DMSwriter
Now that Jess is gone for a couple weeks, it’s a good time to talk about pom-poms. Specifically the kind worn on the ends of shoes. If your grandma knitted her own slippers, she may have stuck pom-poms on the toes just for a sassy affectation, happy about the way they bobbled around as she did her housework.
For those of you who don’t know, Joe and Jess are on their honeymoon in Greece, and if they hit the right part of Athens, they’ll see men wearing pom-poms on their shoes. These guys goose-step around, too, which only adds to their allure. Thankfully there’s no ouzo involved.
When we were in Athens a few years ago, we spotted these guys at Syntagma Square. Our tour guide told us that they were Evzones, members of an elite force that guarded the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And man, were they serious about their duty. They marched back and forth with such ramrod precision that I felt slouchy and undignified in their presence. When they met at the top of the stairs and executed an abrupt turn and marched down, a lady in our group grabbed her camera and started snapping away.
Woe be unto her, because the Evzones kept goose-stepping rigidly forward, plowing right past Camera Lady, who almost bit the dust in her zeal to get a good shot. I imagined her, limp and bloodied on the sidewalk, a fuzzy pom-pom sticking out of her nose.
Really, what was the deal with those things? They seemed frivolous and unnecessary, almost humorous when compared with the semi-automatics the Evzones carried. Now those babies I took seriously. They elevated the goose-stepping to a don’t-mess-with-me meanness that made me gulp.
And when I found out that the Evzones’ shoes weigh seven pounds and have nails under their soles?
Boy, Camera Lady was just lucky to be alive, is what I thought.
Our tour guide told us that in the 1800s, when the Evzones prepared for combat, they would hide knives under the pom-poms. If they were captured in battle – fwip! – out came the knife, ready for action.
Cool, I thought, mentally elevating the status of the lowly pom-pom to Fuzzy Defender of the Faith. Someone else in our group, a Mr. Historical Know-It-All, challenged our tour guide, saying he heard the pom-poms were used to keep water from leaking in the seams of the shoes. Sorry, buddy, I thought. Water leaking in?? What a yawner. Knives were much more interesting, and gave the soldiers a sinister presence. Water leaking in made them sound like practical gardeners.
So, Jess and Joe, if you’re reading this, head on over to Syntagma Square and check out the Evzones. Hoist an ouzo in their honor, and if you’re secure in your manhood, stick some pom-poms on your shoes when you get home.
Just don’t goose-step around the front yard.
Deanne M. Schultz is currently working on The Green Hornet Suit and Other Musings, a book that takes a wry look at life as she sees it. Her hope is that her writing inspires and helps others, moving them to connect with those around them. She blogs at dmswriter – witty weekly writing to inform and entertain.