Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy in Athens and a Belly full of Bougatsa

Leaving Athens...

Last night in Athens with the family. Hike to the Agora—the main meeting place of Ancient Greece. Impressive temples and Byzantine churches still in tact. In awe of the structural intricacy of the ancient sites. The time and attention to beauty that was a part of everyday life. Nova poses on pillars as a goddess-and fits right in. We say goodbye to our last Athens street dog—one that Nova truly wants to take home. Say goodbye to the "haunted" house that Dan and Nova discovered on day one.

That night the Plaka is alive. Spanakopita. Greek salad. Greek "apple pie" to celebrate my dad's 75th b-day (3 b-day parties in Greece for him!) The Acropolis lit up like a million stars. Painters capturing it all. It’s a haunting electricity and I feel it buzzing through all of us. Buzzing with love and grace of being together in a place so old yet so alive.

The family ventures home, and through heartache, I explore one more day in Athens. So happy to Nicola join me (we met in Kenya in 2007) I know already that our time together will be incredible! We escaped the heat in Greece for two weeks until today. The temps go past 100 F! Ugh. We take the metro 3 stops back and forth to find a train office to buy our tickets to Istanbul. Stop off at the National Gardens. Booksellers on the street--Diary of a Wimpy Kid in Greek makes me smile! More cicadas filling the air with their sound. Children’s laughter makes me miss my family even more. I escape into the cool shadows—bright sunlight reflecting off the trees to create every color of green. Walking back through the Plaka in search of an internet café, I discover bougatsas—phyllo pastry stuffed with custard and covered with powdered sugar. I’m enamored by this delight and I chomp and swallow not noticing my entire body is soon covered by the white sugar. Tourist moment! I get lost getting through old neighborhoods behind the Plaka--I walk the entire outside perimeter, ending up passing the entire Agora again on the outskirts toward the Acropolis. Hot and tired, but never worried-- a happy belly full of bougatsa.

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