Wednesday, September 23, 2009

goodbye greece

On the ferry crossing the Saronic Gulf back to the port of Piraeus and Athens, I tried to read but I was anxious. You know that feeling when you're dreaming and you just don't want it to end? I had less than 24 hours left in Greece and the thought made me feel like my heart was in my throat.

When we stepped into the lobby at the Hotel Grande Bretagne, calm settled over me. I felt like I was back home. This is where we'd spent the first night of our honeymoon and here we were again spending the last. A lot had happened and yet so little had taken place.

What a hotel! It ranks right up there with my favorite hotels in the world like La Mamounia in Marrakech, Hotel Monasterio in Cuzco, Peru and The London in New York. We settled into our suite complete with fragrant red roses and an exquisite bottle of red, compliments of the hotel.

We still had a few hours left of the day so we made a mad dash for the Acropolis (last time I was in Athens it was closed) and the New Acropolis Museum. As soon as you enter the museum, you are drawn up towards the monumental glass staircase at the end of the glass floored ramp by really large architectural sculptures of the Hekatompedon, the first large temple of the Goddess Athena on the Acropolis. It took my breath away.

After the museum, we walked and walked through Athens late into the afternoon and early evening, through Plaka, Monastiraki (grabbing the most delicious juicy souvlaki along the way) and Kolonaki ending up back at our hotel in Syntagna Square.

We planned it so we'd have enough time for a late night drink at the GB Roof Garden on the very top of the Hotel Grande Bretagne. This is reason enough to stay here! (The restaurant is excellent too!) The bar is open to the out of doors so the warm breeze of Athens refreshes the evening and the Acropolis lights the night. I'll never forget that night!

The next morning we packed and hurried to the airport for our long flight. What did I bring home from such a fantastic trip? A big bag of Santorini split peas to make their famous dish called fava, a jar of brined caper leaves also from Santorini, some absolutely wonderful memories and lots of love. Thanks for being a part of the journey!

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