Give me an O! Give me a V! Give me an E! (You get the picture…)
September 10 – 20
OKAY, NOW WE CAN TALK ABOUT FAMMMMMMMMILY! WOOOOOO!
Not long after Dave and I hatched the brilliant plan to surprise my parents at the Athens airport by arriving shortly before they did, we realized the dozens of things that could go wrong in a country where none of us spoke the language and we were technologically powerless. What if they didn’t see us (and vice versa) as they exited the airport? What if my mom had her OWN hatched plan that accidentally would ruin OUR hatched plan (if you’ve met her, you know she’s capable of many-a-hatched-plan)? What if my folks had already hired a car to take them from the airport to the hotel and Dave and I didn’t fit in with them? And the guilt I’d have when my dad would inevitably pay for both the unused small car AND the second we’d all pile into would thus diminish my glee at said plan’s success? (EDITOR’S NOTE: You can imagine how much fun it was to listen to and consider ev.ery.thing. that could have possibly gone wrong…)
In the end, the worrying was needless. The surprise was awesome, and after my mom and I stopped shaking from the awesomeness of it all (or was it from the frappe we shoved into her hand the moment she landed?), we hopped in a car (that fit all of us) and headed to a little piece of paradise: the Athens Marriott (cue angels harking).
After months of hard mattresses and closet-sized bathrooms, our plush, king-sized mattress and enormous, sparkly-clean shower sent us into fits of superlatives….”this is THE MOST comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in,” and, “this is THE BEST shower I’ve ever taken,” or, “this is the MOST PERFECT hotel room that has ever lived.” The Athens Marriott’s Trip Advisor page is BLOWIN’ UP.
Anyway, after a glorious evening of room service and PJ partying, a second morning ferry ride brought us to the shores of Mykonos, where we perilously snaked our way up the narrow, winding road to our Greek-style home for the next 7 days. We kicked back with some of the tasteless local wine (available by the plastic jug) or beer (your pick of Mythos or Alpha) and settled in.
Spending time with my mom (with whom I enjoy a mutually unhealthy relationship…you know the one that many 30-somethings enjoy where the line between being your best friend and mother is unavoidably blurred?) and dad (whose no-nonsense approach to “what to do today” decision making and insistence on picking up the tab was a life vest for two gypsy travelers) was like filling up a big old reserve tank of happy that I knew I could tap into for months to come. My mom and I barely came up for air the first 48 hours. BUT THERE WAS SO MUCH TO SAY!
My sister and her husband (also named Dave…we still haven’t figured out that solve) joined us a couple days later and my happy tank spilled right on over. My posse was in town.
Upon their arrival the crew headed to dinner in Mykonos Town and Dave and I enjoyed our first official dinner company in 5 months. But after an ‘Opa’ and some fried cheese, we were right back in the saddle.
In the days that followed, we wandered the winding streets of Mykonos Town, admiring the local art and handmade jewelry, and taking in the iconic 16th century windmills while sipping frappes or Coca Cola Lights in Little Venice. We spent a few lazy days down on the shores enjoying some of the picturesque beaches the island is known for, and many others strewn across beach chairs on our sprawling patio with cold local beers in every other hand. We ate rich, seafood risottos (mostly me) and kebabs (the Daves) and other dishes heavy with fresh ingredients overlooking the water. And just WERE.
Kristin and her Dave taught us a dice game that provided hours of laughs (mostly directed at my terrible luck) (EDITOR’S NOTE: “Terrible luck” also means this activity gets added to the list of games Noelle does not enjoy for the sole reason that she can’t win every single time.), and we found ourselves reluctantly shoving clothes in our bags before it seemed we even fully unpacked. But the promise of a closer exploration of Athens (and another night at the Marriott!!) helped ease the desire to never leave the island. Otherwise, you’d still find me there, holding my family hostage, frantically smashing plates if they tried to leave.
Our 36 hours in Athens were a whirlwind, with a walking tour in the morning where we visited the big hitters like the Temple of Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch, Parliament, the site of the original Olympic Stadium and of course, the Acropolis. Like Rome, you can’t go anywhere without running smack into a relic of the past.
Fully exhausted, we spent the late afternoon in the rooftop pool overlooking the famous ruins (Seriously! This Marriott!). The city was rich with history, for sure, but I think we all found it a bit wanting for cleanliness and the vibe we were hoping for. Luckily, we were with the best company around, so our surroundings made little difference.
Our last supper was bittersweet. Saying goodbye to my family was heartbreaking, but as our next chapter included our long-awaited trek in Nepal, I put on a brave face as I hugged my sister a third time.
While we’re not ready to come home just yet, it was just the right time for a little home to come to us.