Saints, Gods and Elohim

ţintaOlympus was originally off the “to-do” list on this trip, but seeing it, in the first morning, overwhelming and crystalline, induced a change of plans. So, from the comfy beds of the lady of Stomio, we jump straight into the sea for the morning shower. No one else in the clear, cool water. A thousand times better than a shower, the morning swim and the salt drying on our skin are replacing coffee successfully. Coffee comes from the Greek woman as well, on the house. This coffee, called Turkish in my country, has that creamy texture of the coffees boiling in my mother’s pot. It had a dark cherry color and I can remember every spot, dent, size of this morning flavor item. Until the first coffee filter showed up… and then the magic got broken.

We leave breakfast for later, we have fruit and nuts in the car. water, and juice, as well..peisaje incredibile

There are several possibilities to reach the top. Most of the information show two – we chose the one recommended by the hotel manager in Delphi. But, as we were about to see, all these paths are made of obstacles, like in fairy tales. We would find out much later that there are four roads to thte top. All, extremely treacherous and difficult. Especially in the final part. On the road atlas in A.’s car, the road seems straight…. because everything is so small on that map. In fact, it is a stubborn winding climb. We go through Kira and we want to descend on the other side, through   Agios Dimitrios. It’s just that the plan made home does not ever fit with the one in the field.  :)

aproape până susIN  Kira we are being mislead by the vegetable merchant, roaming the village with his truck full of goodies and a huge ancient scale… then, a Greek woman, just emerged from the Sunday church service, indicates in French where to meet the tarmac road. We wind up, up, on the massive rock. A crossroad with no sign, next to a tiny church: Saint Nektarios again. The door is open, candles at hand, everything prepared, but apparently no none there. We go around, light our candles, and proceed as we thing it would be ok, but, with all crossroads, the direction seems wrong compared with the one we knew we needed. So we turn through the forest :D. The Opel literally goes up a path until we meet another road that goes up, up, up. It is the good one, just that we should have had a real 4 x 4, not a SUV. The car should be tall, with big wheels, able to climb the rocky road.  ţinutul ZeilorWe need to leave the car, nicely parked next to the road portion that became an issue. STarting on foot, now I know there were about another  12 -15 km to go :) The energy of the place is huge. I realize each of us, not only I., has their owhn quest to perform here. And there is goes. Fitness, choice of path and the terrain itself separate us and each of us goes on a personal discovery way. Mine, beyond meeting the limit of lack of exercise and overcoming the crushed knee, which is the most strained during the climb, a spiral going up to the right side of the mountain, gets me to a level where I have to get over the pain and exhaustion of the three hours of continuous, gruesome climb on constant rocky- gravel ground that does not allow for sizing your step properly, but continuously oscillate depending on the height of the next rock to step on.

The Top is not visible, it remains shrouded in mist, as the physical level is left behind because of all the effort, and I enter a totally different layer of consciousness, where the body mechanically works, but all energy forms and shapes around become visible, totem animals start showing,  the stones shift their shapes and whisper. above all, the presence of the Mountain, giant, overwhelming shape of solid energy, the presence of Creators of Form – the Elohim Gods –  and the revelation of the personal leap get a much higher importance than anything else. I am climbing a mountain that leads to the M shape peak of Olympus, knowing we are a kind of strange catalyst for a circular wave that is opening here and now. My mission is different from I.’s. He is completely infused with the physical, intense need to reach the top. ,As usual, a step behind, I open and close spaces, activate the grid, I would like to stop and meditate… at a certain point, I realize the difference between our tasks and I decide to sit. I am completely overwhelmed by the power of this place. 

dincolo de noir

Everything seems to loose its relevance, facing the huge fields watching us like silent giants, with arms crossed. Beyond the top of this mountain, the real climb starts. I. knows, it is late, almost 4.30. We will not get to go up today. So he makes the decision and here we go, floating down, on a different road than the one we climbed. The descent is like a dream, in spite of the continuous pressure on hips and the knee. Among junipers bushes, back, to the car that gently waits, in a place worth an Opel commercial,  so that we can go back to a beach, at a decent hour. Or not :D.

We drive down the tarmac road, until we see another little church. Everything is closed, nothing locked. We light candles. I. Starts the bell. I hope the village does not come for service  :) . The road that heads down to the village is closed, but the Gate Opener makes way for us to descend. And we go down. and down. Olympus is almost 3,000 meters tall, so the way down seems endless.

There is gas for another 60 km, we are on our way to Agios Dimitrios, to return to Katerini. A road sign says Ski slope, Olympus.  I. goes ballistic, he is like a kid in front of the candy store window. So here we are, up again, towards Olympus, on the other side. The Northern one. The beautiful asphalt road ends right in front of a military unit. When we were about to turn back, I. jumps out of the moving car cand tells us to wait a bit. Returning, in triumph, he explains the terms: we only need the passport and a phone number, provided we return before it gets darak and take no photos of military items.

Just a turn around this curve, he says. Then there is another turn. And another one. I understand his quest, it is his path not mine and the attempt to fool me like I was a little kid does not fit my appreciation standards. Turning back, I head straight to the laptop, there is  something urgent I need to finish for business. Music on, mind in the marketing plans and budget Excel sheets, the frustration vanishes like dew in the sunshine and I am back to my butterfly serenity when they return. A. is dead tired, she gave up as well at a certain moment. It is not the time yet.

Well. This one, checked as well, although incomplete: time to go to  Katerini. We skipped meals, it is time for a dinner, at least… and that is what we are doing. After unnecessary turns, due to successive conflicts between I. and Gitsa, us girls decide to follow the Olympic Beach signs, which is exactly what we do, and we end up in a super conglomerate of hotels, where we get a six bed apartment for the enormous price of 35 euro :) . The we descend into a restaurant. I. does not like our sharing style, he orders something thinking it would be chicken and ends up with a salty pork gyros, exchange through the kindness of the owner. The chicken is salty, too. By contrast, our eggplants, zucchini and  tzatziki, accompanied by other vegetarian mini dishes,  looks much more enticing. The impossible food is packed so we do not hurt the owners’ feelings and we compensate with quite a bit of ouzo, naturally leading to the final brandy. We finished the Metaxa bottle, it was time, tomorrow we will be leaving. And the words float further, into the night, between the scent of the nearby sea and the holy rocks that we came from.

Apollo’s Portal

În Oraşul de Sus

Our last night’s unfulfilled task makes us rush towards Acropolis. Smooth paths, a crowd of all nations and languages flows through the profitable filter of the cash desk and ascends through the ancient theatre entrance. The way to the Light of Wisdom is open, the secred, well hidden here, on the Athenian peak at the and of the road used of so many millenia by the sacred processions. Although the carved friezes  still lay, stolen, in other European museums, nothing can steal the serenity and unseen force of this place. The power statement made by the great temple, and then the secret center that radiates energy and knowledge.

IMG_0724

Erechteion, the Cinderella of the place, with its hidden beauty, and the six, six, six statues.  Three and three. Trinity in its feminine aspect, trinity in its masculine aspect. Complete fusion of polarity, with all its sides: potential, creation, destruction. There is so much knowledge, so much wisdom and so much Light stored here, in the old stones that sing for the ones who have ears to listen….

Beyond obvious elements and the explanations pronounced by the guides, in all languages of the Earth, abounding in facts and figures with no final sense lies the Light. In the Upper City, the chose ones get to reach it, and the merit is higher if they know how to absorb what is happening and what is conveyed here.

IMG_0739We descend through the back, after circling all great buildings and fueled ourselves with the power cocktail they administrate. People flocking here in the thousands daily must be sensing something. There is something drawing you, from thousands of miles away, like a compulsory  point of passing in one’s path through Life. Seeking the sacred road,  the one I remember from another time, when there was no pollution and no noise, and I recall it going up, nopt down, we get to the sign of wise old lions, heritage from our stellar dowry, on a path where we only meet gardeners and archaeologists.paznicii Behind it, under the great supporting rock of Erechteion, there are three, again three caves. We are three. After repeatedly getting the message about four, here we are, three, a family over lives, researching and searching whatever is hidden here, under the successive layers of civilization . marked with modest signs, the caves show signs of early buildings – the poles had support sockets in the rock, and one can imagine the inner spaces, from another age, but belonging to the same profound luminous energy that makes the contour of the stone shiver and buzz in the bright morning sun. 

în stratul următor

No doubt, this is a place worth sitting and meditating. The entire endeavor finds a meaning, the dots connect and become a very clear drawing, starting from I.’s diffuse intuition on Apollo’s portals. Athena was his ally. His sister and ally. IN brotherhoods described in a mundane way by the chronicles carved in stone, but well kept behind the stories lies the mystery of the high energy, layered successively down to the insectarium of the physical dimension. These energies let Creators mold the flesh matrix, conteiner of the Spirit.

peşterile străvechi, cu urme de locuire A steep descent brings us back, to the sacred road. Lots of new fences appeared since my last visit here and it is much harder to keep with the route of the old processions, but the tickets we bought up on the hill allow us to get down, to the temple of Hephaistos – why him? – and to new memories that have no other connection into now than our continuity of consciousness. Kings of the place, agora, life then, and the fields radiating from the supple buildings, sitting on columns. The road takes us back,  to the street that leads to the hotel, in front of  Moma: this is an offer that we absolutely cannot decline… so we sit again for a salad re-make, this time crowned with a typical orange cake, sending us to Heaven on a slope of vanilla ice cream. Real vanilla. No artificial coloring, the tiny black aromatic seeds visible in the milky dream. This place is a blessing. And, thus slowly landing into the world, we decide to grab our gear and go to Delphi.

Parnasul, capul-compas al călătoriei noastre. Starting is a nightmare, both the real and digital guys in the car have a controversy and meanwhile we are looking for a place to repair the air conditioning. It is Friday… The Greeks do not work. Well. As we are heading to the mountains, it should be cooler there. After not listening to Gitsa and instead of heading West we went North, entering the highway, arguing about the optimum route, we need to stop for a coffee to ease the tension before driving the driver nuts.

It does sound odd, but although in a honey-like mood, it does not mean we cannot have different opinions, and the energy is high, influent, impacting. So I start working on it a little bit, with focus on containment, so that we would not trouble our driver again. We take a left and enter a fairy tale road, among hills that seem to grow bigger and bigger, until the road becomes really curvy. A., apparently obsessed with caves in this trip, finds a ruined tower, guarding a cave with a crumbled roof. The sensation of heavy, stagnant energy, specific to cursed places, is amplified by the black traces, tar-like, as if the fires of Hell had burned here. A blessing, a candle, then we go. Gitsa and the map provide identical opinions this time, and we float up the winding road, to a magic place.

sus, Portalul.

A small terrace, nested in a curve, by the road, with old trees, fountain and wasp traps made of punched soda bottles, waits, anesthetized, for travellers to stop for a juice, a coffee… anything. We find there an old lady – probably operating the kitchen – and a waiter-receptionists-good-for-all young guy who looks like a monk in civil disguise. The beard, the pigtail, the sensation of balance and peace. Definitely a monk, maybe not in this life.  We are resting around a soda, called lemonade, looking like Kinley and tasting like Sprite, containing a ton of sugar, a beer, a tea, and stories. Up there is a road going to the ski slopes, but the cable car does not work. An option for tasting the energy of Parnassus.

pe malul mării CorintuluiThe mountain vibrates ample, profound, overwhelming. We jump into the car, we are speding the night in Delphi, and need to find the hotel I reserved via Trip Advisor.  Brilliant. Called Fedriades, the manager worked in Ramada and one can notice the large hotel chain type of training. The rooms see to the Gulf of Corinth, a distant promise of a captive sea, and as the night falls, you can feel more and more the magic of the place.  Delphi infiltrates into the mind, gets into the body, like a magic potion, working in stages. We are all high in a way beyond description, walking on the narrow streets. My eyes are instantly caught by a medalion with a strange symbol, one that I seem to have known forever. A kind of a cross and a slightly curved shape of an eight- pointed star. Two Epsilon letters, back to back. And when I ask for it, the eyes of the shop owner grow bigger: how do you know about the Epsilon?

It looks like we have just bumped into one of the Ancient Mysteries.

The Syrius connection.  I.’s theory about the portal we came through starts getting some substance. The symbol, they say, was carved above the sacred rock of Pythia. Old knowledge flows. I  recognize and chood sthe symbol from the whole bunch of silver pendants in the window. The lady asks why have I chosen it. I am on  the auto pilot anyway, floating in the thick, liquid energy, that I know it and came for it. The store pulls the blinds down after I make the purchase and I feel like I am in a space/time fault, like a galactic gas station where we came to fill our tanks. Then we find another store, another pendant… and yet another one… and the necklaces we needed to wear the symbol of our imminent meeting with what called us here in the first place.

ale felinelorStill groggy, we stop at one of the too large, too empty restaurants, reflecting the size of tourist hords in the high season. A cat shows up from nowhere, going straight to our Tiger. A batch of tenderness beyond compare and a treat with the only thing she would eat from our vegetarian meal: butter. Then the cat is swallowed by the very night she emerged from, and the darkness weaves magic around us, dense and almost material, so we head back, to the hotel rooms, to prepare something special. în întâmpinarea Luminii de la Delphi

Although used to go to sleep late, tell stories, cuddle in bed, wrapped in teh wings of Night before starting our astral journeys, this time something very strange happens. After opening the space, we are suddenly sucked into the craziest dream parade, mixed with teachings and mysteries that we have ever experienced up to now. A journey beyond compare, in which I feel the fusion of polarity, understanding why the two welded Epsilon and I feel A. in the next room living her own encounter with The Fourth.
The fourth in this expedition. There is four of us in the Light. The altar and portal stay open for us, at least until tomorrow.  The pendands vibrate around our necks, picking all useless things from the bodies, getting us rid of old signatures, reprogramming, harmonizing, realigning. The alchemy has started, and we threw ourselves into its magic core, serene, not knowing what will be, but understanding that the only way is ahead.

There is Here

ian with orb

I’d like so much to linger in the charm of the unseen gates of Delphi. But there are other place to mark… Originally we did not know what.  A. gets to chat to the all-ointment greased Greek and we find out with great amazement that he has a full bunch of travel options around Delphi. Under the nicely polished desk there is a huge file organized in pockets, with detailed maps for each destination. Still obsessing with caves, A. comes triumphantly with the information. There is a cave of Pan there, we will go, we will go…

IMG_0918

And there we go. Crossing the huge, massive mountain, we enter the ski area. The view is incredible, but the entire place looks like someone threw an atomic bomb. I guess during the winter it comes to life, but now it looks  like one of those Western ghost towns, where the only moving thing is the tumbleweed. We have pretty clear instructions, what is the bed and breakfast that we need to find to turn left, follow the signs and climb the endless series of tight curves, until there is little space between the gap and the left wheel of the car. I am tightening my grip onto the door handle.  :)  As I am thinking it would be better to turn the car in the first place that allows for it, we get to a small widened – or rounded – portion.  Sneakers on, and we continue on the rocky path that leads to the much desired cave… not so touristic, but for sure full of potential  :).

Entering a huge hall, we see a narrowing portion to the back.  It is a gigantic exhibition of weird shapes looking like beings crystallized in the calcite mass, and the sensation of Presence is overwhelming.  We plant small offerings here and there, approaching the end of the hall – it looks like an enormous altar, and I feel I need to stop there, this is the place we need to light the candles. I set nicely the whole array to be set, including myself, as I. and A., adventurous as usual, want to explore more and head towards the end of this natural temple. They want to climb the slippery ropes and go beyond, of course. Beyond, the cave continues with other treasures. I open the space, take the first photos with my tiny camera and on its small screen I see the first light beings, crystalline, shining, round or oval. They make the camera focus on them and not on what I am trying to take. Orbs of light, halucinating and so diverse.

radiind

The daring ones come back quickly from their exploration trip, less muddy than expected. They join me, the triangle seems to mirror the three side entrance of the cave  and we plunge into the  sense beyond understanding of this place, in that something that called us from thousands of kilometers. Light floods us, loaded with all sort of information. It feels like a zip folder, we will have to decompress them and digest them later. Also, upgrades, to keep the informatics analogy.  :) t One clear fact is that our subsequent photos, after this phase show us all surrounded by light. The auras are captured on my tiny camera. Two Greek women enter the space with their partners, see us meditating, tiptoe and whisper. When they see us packing, they are excusing for the interruption. No, they did not interrupt anything. Something has just opened here, and they are the first ones to take advantage of this new Gate.

eroul grec, musculos şi... cam atât.

The road back to the valley is much more spectacular than the road up. We have completely crossed the Parnassus and and we are descending, descending, descending towards the sea. On the side of the road, ripe cherry plum trees wave at us, so we stop and taste the rather sour fruit, yellow, refreshing, compensating the lack of water. We ran out of water in the cave. MOuntain landscape, with the fierce and massive rocks, continue until we approach the highway that brought us from Katerini to Athens.

A brief recharging brake in Lamia brings us to a city that looks dead. There is an advantage about Sundays: less road tax, we saved a lot of euros, but when it comes to looking for a restaurant…. dificult.

Facem o scurtă oprire în Lamia, pentru redresare. Oraşul pare mort. Duminicile au avantajul că nu plăteşti taxe de autostradă, am scăpat de o grămadă de euro aruncaţi pe asfalt, dar şi când e să cauţi un restaurant…. greu, greu.

Downtown, we park and find a street that is packed with restaurants, but… God… only grill. We manage to find a hidden one and if my little Greek works, the translation of the name would be The Street of Dreams. Good inspiration, we had wonderful vegetarian Greek specials. And, clearly, we are made for good restaurants :) .

la TErmopile, o Fereastră misterioasă a Zmeilor.

We linger for another break in  Thermopile, to please our warrior in the group. Greeks take advantage of everything when it comes to tourism. Not much here, except a monument and a board depicting the sea level at that time – now it is withdrawn -. The nearby hills are resonating the wailing and crying of the dead beneath the apparent silence. Far away, a vertical wall, like a limit of the trap of the butchery Greeks applied to the Persians holds a perfect, absolutely perfect, round hole, like a Window of the Ogres. Beneath it, the hill where the 300 died, bait for the Persian army of one million fighters, that got the worst beat in its history.

Heart of the Earth

In the dusty parking lot, a fruit laden fig tree seems to wink at us. A. ignores the drunk Greek, asleep on the bench, under the generous shadow of the tre that hosts a wealth of violet, sweet fruit. She takes her slippers off and climbs, cat-like, searching for the much desired pray. The Greek kind of wakes up from his drunken meditation and points to her where to step and how to pick . They seem to get along wonderfully.  :)

Driving down, on the road to the sea side, on the right and left side there are two options – two villages. We choose randomly the one on the right, Stomio, and drive into a wonderful seaside slope, crammed with tiny hotels and bed-and-breakfasts. A typical Greek woman sits in the door of one of those, dressed in black, really serious. She waves, we come and there we go: 25 euro per night, a step way from where the waves break.

înapoi în Cald şi Ud

We need our  Metaxa, quick, quick, and then the evening swim. The sea is incredible, soft and silent and silky, and we float like jellyfish until or fingers get crumpled, and the sun slips behind the mountains.

Another sip of brandy stirs the appetite and we descend to the terrace built above the singing waves. We are surrounded by cats and dogs. We choose a humongous fish, two kilos, it will be expensive, and ask for grilled vegetables. The Greek does not know how to do that and we end with plain fisherman’s food, everything grilled, no oil, no salt, nothing. I. gets annoyed by the basic food, but us, girls, have a great time with the wonderful dorada, and dress the plain veggies with an ad hoc potion made of lemon, oil, salt and pepper… it is really tasty.

Tomorrow, big day.  Up on Olympus. And our Greek adventure is getting close to its end. For now. 

Cat Country

Templul lui ApolloLast night in Delphi was so magic that we decided to tell the nice Greek that runs the hotel with the slightly oily grace of the well seasoned tourism workers that we will be staying for another day. It was a night full of strange dreams and happenings, catalized by the formidable energy of this place: one almost wants to sit for hours or sleep, in order to take maximum advantage of the pouring stream of downloads, from intuition and inspiration to information and sensation.  :)

Anyway, we did not take the offer of taking the bikes to the site and we started, valiantly, on foot. After the all you can eat breakfast and checking the 24 hours coffee statement (at 6 am, descending to get a cup for my dream companion, the reception clerk, barely awake, told me that it was too early for 24 hours). The lack was, anyway, compensated by the generous offer – a bottle of cold water for each of us – to accompany us on the way to the Site.

de la etajul doi urcăm la al treilea

Delphi, off season, is delicious. Fit for a honeymoon, with sleepy stores, containing all sorts of stuff for tourists, that final apathy, melancholic restaurants enjoying every client.

We pass a lot of oleanders in bloom, on the impeccably done road (I have just realized it’s been 15 years  since I last came here, and a lot changed) and a fig tree about to yield its ripe fruit. A., of course, is picking whatever she can reach among the darg green leaves,  oozing the end of summer feel.

The entrance and the museum are handbook perfect, superb. We get tickets for the site and museum, and enter that Disneyland trip that takes you into the dark, soft night of  Pythia’s Earth, then to the Sun of Apollo and to our date with the Gods, in the upper stadium.

dincolo de şaua muntelui e ceva care te atrage magnetic

There are some groups, but not very many, and that gives us time to dangle our feet by the rock of the priestesses that once foretold the future, meditate by the altar of Apollo’s temple, watch the numerous “banks”, well, well, are we having some treasuries here or what…. But, mostly, smell the nectar that flows from the top. To my disappointment, the stadium is now separated with a thick rope, one cannot sit in the middle anymore, as I did last time, in the middle of the pouring streams of Light. They have banned the acces, and that comes with another set of stupid museum rules, such as ” no taking photos of people with statues”. I don’t get it.   :|

 

amfiteatrul.

So we cross over the rope line, take a few steps to see the nearby caves. I. is going on his own quest while we open the mini altar to meditate. There is a sense of silent power to this place. When the family gets reunited,  going back on the tourist path, I do my usual thing> looking around, I stumble and my left knee takes a good hit. Ripped white pants, blood flowing. The connection opens immediately. Previous such accidents: going up to Ephesus, in the middle of Champs Elyees and near a 14th century Saxon church, in the heart of Romania. Hmmmm.

fără pisici nu se poate

Yes, it is a special place indeed. Limestone, stromatolites, phosphates, and for the icing, a fault. I leave the conclusions to the experts. Geologists are talking about cryptocrystalline poles. For the untrained ones, there is a great synonym to all this: MAGIC.  Strange things happen in Delphi. We are being followed by extremely friendly cats… Of course, all attracted by I.’s “magnet”. What happens next is always the same scenario. Purring and carressing and claws digging into the fine weaving of the handmade shirt bought in Bran, that traveled to Bucharest, Vancouver, the Amazon and here, before it will return to its source.

Another weird thing is the sudden meeting, in the middle of the amphitheater, with a friend that took part in our in Bucharest. An extremely improbable connection: he is on his way back home, we are in the middle of our explorer’s trip. Time for some bear hugs and a lot of wonder around this meeting here.

o pisică mai evoluată

Stopping for the well chilled rooms of the museum, we enjoy with the winged Sphinx and old, old portraits of the first inhabitants of these miraculous lands. Old symbols are to be found all around us and it seems like those ancient stones, excavated at the beginning of the previous century after relocating the entire community that lived there, are distinctly singing. There is a deep, persistent, harmonious buzz and it is definitely not any kind of high blood pressure sound.

DupSfter all that energy and culture, we deserve a frozen lemonade on the terrace. Poor sick thin cats beg for a bit of food. A little one is barely walking, exhausted and hungry. It will be a miracle if he makes it. The mother is so thin that the spine is visible and she is waiting for a morsel from tourists to convert it into the so needed milk. I do not know why, but the animals’ suffering torments me so much more than the human ones. Because humans can ask for help and they can receive it. Anymals only know how to give you that heart tearing look.

Sensations fade as we take the road back to the hotel, with a compulsory stop in one of the few open restaurants. Greek food, delicious lemonade and desert on the house… what else can you ask for?

spre Golful Corintului

Well, you can. Because  the show is part of the price you pay here, we enjoy the scene made by a Greek woman, a bit over ripe, guiding three Americans. Her hormones are jumping all around, it is visible from the distance. But the plan is overturned by A., who does what she usually does: her swinging steps, her stunning look and the black abyss that opens under her long lashes makes the Americans twist their necks and follow her. “Dad” enters the protection mode, and the invisible cloak , well armored, surrounds us and gives the Greek cougar the second chance for a crazy foursome afternoon.

Less crazy, we fall in bed for an hour of recoup, but after that the rummaging fever la fethat makes us want to see, feel, absorb more, takes us on a spectacular curvy road, down, to the sea. The Gulf of Corinth is almost isolated from the sea, and the lack of currents is visible. The sea is pale and dirty, our swim suits prove to be useless, and the only thing we can do is to take a walk in the open air market of the village on the shore, resulting in some slippers and Turkish delight, before returning to the base camp for a dinner with a view, stories around a bottle of wine. The sea, seens from miles away, beyond the olive tree orchards at the foothills of Parnassus,looks like a magic promise.

Angels in Monastiraki

departe, Olimpul.Early morning after the first day of driving into Greece. Sparkling sunny air, infused with the smell of the sea. We decided to postpone the drive to Athens until after a serious swim in the sea, so we perform a cat-like stretch and bump into our Romanian neighbor, tormented by serious back pain. 

So our morning actually starts with a four handed therapy session that leaves the lady more than happy :) . Nothing happens by chance, it seems that landing here in the middle of the night, groping through the Greek darkness to reach a random hotel, led us to doing whatever there was to be done. It seems that this trip is more of a business trip than a vacation. Little did we know…. 

Wearing our swim suits, we effectively float down to the neat breakfast, prepared by the Greek guy that works all day. Giving in to the local yogurt, creamy like no other, and THOSE olives…. Yes. Olives, yogurt and oil, nothing else needed.  
 Korinos, vegetaţie sudică

Heading to the beach on the well groomed boardwalk belonging to the tiny clean and neat hotel, we manage to avoid drowning into the fine sand before reaching the lounge chairs offered for free and another. So nice we do not have to breathe anyone’s cigarette smoke, not to mention that almost no one smokes here. Most of the guests are French and German :) .  Everything is sparkling clean, the small pool is impeccable, the Greek sweeps, scrubs, sets everything in order after finishing the breakfast buffet preparations.

departe, Olimpul.The Aegean Sea is blue and clear, smooth and salty, warm, in spite of the early hours. So we float and swim for a long time, with our eyes on the Olympus, visible for the first time in weeks, as our colleague tells us, chatting with the newly revitalized neigbor.  The Germans and Dutch must have landed in Thessaloniki, for this little airport is full of charter flights during the summer. Typically quiet families, with or without children, and if there are children one cannot notice the typical yelling, screaming and repremending the families perform at our seaside. We enjoy that Time-NoTime for another dive, sleepy and slow, into the majestic energy of this place that brings you back into Harmony, dominated by the great mountain and soothed by the sea. And this continues until the first nasty jellyfish shows up. I suddenly understand the meaning of the hundreds of colored nets, magnified versions of the aquarium nets, one can see in every tiny beachware kiosk. There must be some serious fishing here :). So we grab our stuff, nicely pay the same Greek who takes care of the reception desk, as well, stay a bit longer to enjoy the terrace wi-fi, solve the work stuff and after that it is time to get back in our car, lady-like. The license plate, Romanian, translates as DREAM. And we head straight into the hottest day of the month in Athens. 39 Celsius, almost september….

fortăreţe medievale

The Opel  4 x 4, bearing proudly the nickname of The Little One, shows obvious signs of no air conditioning. What a coincidence. Last evening it was working perfectly, so losing freon is the first hypothesis we exclude. That is unless the Aegean SEa sharks come to the shore after midnight to bite cooling agent tanks. We hae to live with the idea we will drive having the windows down… should be nice on the highway… music would be redundant…. and hair blown by the wind, like fairies.

The road to Athens, almost entirely highway, is incredible. We wind through spectacular mountains, admire the Greeks, working like ants to finish a missing segment of the highway… and pay a ton of road taxes. Summing up to more than 30 euro.  Passing by huge rocks in delicate balance, old forts, no time to stop, the heart races saying quicker, quicker, and by fields impregnated with a slightly suspect smell… is it organic agriculture??

pe spatele unui şevalet de artist

The bright pink lipstick and Cleopatra eyes of the driver produce the first victim. A gentleman driving a nice silver Audi is passing us, then slowing,  getting behind us, and when we stop at a gas station for refueling, he pulls over next to us to report. the rack in the back of the car, the shirts are nicely ironed.  He is obviously on a business trip. But tomorrow evening he is free, and A. gets a phone number and a really polite invite. Should she call, he would be really happy. Two sodas came as a polite offering, as well, and we can but thank him and proceed.  Another stop, in the heat of the day, in one of those beautiful, air-conditioned expensive places on the side of the higway, supplies a little bit of breathing and a Cafe Frappe like no other. Greeks know their business.

Our GPS with a male voice, freshly baptized on the road to Thessaloniki with the glorious name of Gitsa drives us into Athens with only one failure – the maps are not updated and we get into a wrong way. Here we are, into the heart of the city, next to Monastiraki (Thanks, Free Spirit Travel, for inspiration and reservation) and park on the free spot that seems to have been waiting for us, to check in quickly and touch again the old stones of Plaka, the charming old neighborhood of Athens.

painting angelsWaiting for a friend that I seem to meet only during trips, in the country and outside, we get back into the heat, from the chill of the air-conditioned rooms. The schorching afternoon of the end of August lets us drift, with water bottles in our hands through the labyrinth of medieval tiny streets. Athens is heartbreaking after the crisis. The number of deserted stores is overwhelming. My previous memory of the area hits a dismaying present time, but MOnastriraki is as alive as it always was. With singers, acrobats, jugglers and lights, African drums…

Stopping at a Henna  tattoo maker, we teach him the first Angelic symbols of his life and he correctly paints them, then A. falls in love with an intricate opal elbow braceet and the matching necklace, made of twisted silver wire. I used to be magnetically attracted to such things and now I am totally detached. The stores ooze the same melange of scents, sounds and colors, nicely sparkling. Stopping for a real Greek salad – I do not know how or why, but the real Greek salad is to be found only where Greeks make it – we enjoy the Feta cheese… the strong taste olive oil… the organo and the crunchy vegetables. There is this je ene sais quois  that is matched only by Ouzo, and here we are, jumping into a metro that takes much longer than we were originally thinking, and we get to meet I., who lands, coming from the other side of the Earth.

Monastiraki, inima melancolică a Atenei vechiThe metro is packed with old people, giving us odd looks and making us use the ouzo encouragement for showing these guys a lipstick lesson. The chairs next to us suddenly empty 🙂 and we land, about 10 mins late, in the airport, to collect a worried I. who had no roaming service on his Romanian phone. Things float back into normal, like nothing happened and the summer months were just a pause between an outbreath and an inbreath. A short,  insignificant pause.

And the story goes on. Wonders are just starting. On the hotel terrace, in the velvet August night, eyes on the Acropolis – the Higher City – love and joy are flowing. We are back on track.