Friday, June 19, 2009

Chronicles of the Visit of Dwight and Sylvia, Part 3

Saturday, June 06, 2009
A “Take-it-Easy” Day

We breakfasted late and sat around our table for a very long time, trading stories and generally enjoying ourselves. Breakfast at the Hotel Arethusa is lousy, although the hotel itself is rather nice, but of course, it’s all part of the adventure, isn’t it?

Demetrios and I went back to the Benaki Museum and saw all the fabulous treasures we had missed the first time. It wasn’t free this time, though; it’s only free on Thursdays. That’s okay; the admission price was well worth it. Six Euros each, I think.

Sylvia and Dwight found a beautiful public garden where they wandered. It had various domestic animals in it, and there was a stone structure that looked just like an igloo, which turned out to be a goat house. Many flowers are currently in bloom, notably the bougainvillea. There;s a lot of flamouria, too, whose English name I've forgotten, but to me, this is the most sweetly scented of all the flowering trees. The Laburnum has started, too.

We met at the museum for a long, lazy, late lunch, which we ate at the museum’s café, out on the terrace. Sylvia commented that we were “eating our way through Greece,” but as I’ve already noted, it takes a large supply of calories to support the hard-driving kind of touring we do!

Demetrios said he’d just go check at the train station to see if we could possibly get an earlier get a train after all; the one we were scheduled to go on would depart at 9 p.m. and arrive in Thessaloniki at 2 a.m. When he came back, he said, “If we hurry, we can catch a train in 20 minutes!”

There was no discussion, just “Let’s do it!” We jumped up from the table and ran, literally ran, to the hotel, some three blocks away, where two of us retrieved our luggage while the other two hailed a cab, and off we raced. Sylvia said we looked like a bad Keystone Cops episode.

The train pulled away just as the cab arrived, but we still managed to get one that departed at 7:30 instead of 9:00. We enjoyed the mountainous scenery part of the way, until it grew dark outside. We got home at midnight and into bed just before 1 a.m.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Today was a “down” day, a day to rest and recover.

We went down to the sea in the early afternoon and just sat there, admiring the water and the sky and the green trees and the busy sparrows. Other than that, we just lazed around.

Kitty did fine without us. He still had some food and water left when we got home. Christos had come to check in on him.

Dwight is teaching the kitten bad manners, hand-wrestling with him all the time.

Monday, June 08, 2009
Life in Greece Day

Yes, it’s still Pentecost weekend! Everything is still closed.

This was to have been “Let’s show the guests a typical day of our life in Greece” day, but not quite. We couldn’t go around to the butcher, the baker, the greengrocer, etc. because they weren’t open.

The market at least was still on. It’s what Americans would call the farmers’ market, but here it’s just the market. There are fresh fruits and vegetables and fish, olives and jams, honey and other edibles, along with clothes and shoes and tee-shirts and sunglasses and such. It’s a small market in this neighborhood on Mondays; there’s a larger one on Thursdays nearby.

So we went shopping at the market and had fun looking over the wares.

Then we came home, hung out the laundry (theirs and ours), started another load, and cooked the main (midday) meal. It was vegetarian, as the butcher shop was closed. We had Greek green beans and fried potatoes and salad and fresh bread, with fresh, ripe cherries for dessert.

Then we hung out the next load of laundry and took our siestas. Dwight and Sylvia slept long and hard.

In the late afternoon, we decided to go downtown. Of course everything was closed, and as it was after hours, would have been even if it weren’t a holiday, but at least Sylvia and Dwight got to see the outside of some of our landmarks. Tomorrow we’ll see the insides.