There is nothing that decompresses as much as physically transitioning from one pace of life to another, slower one. We were up at the crack of dawn this morning to taxi to Piraus to catch the ferry to Aegina – an island about 70 minutes boat time from Athens (and apparently the first capital of modern Greece). As we pulled away from the dock, we left a city settling in under a blanket of smog, created in part by the black smoke coming from the speedboats that were carrying those in too much of a hurry to take the puddle-jumpers to wherever it was they were going. Mammoth cruise ships carrying enough passengers to populate an average Irish town had yet to waken while incoming ferries disgorged hundreds of commuters heading to work.
We landed in Athens last night with enough time to check in to the lovely Palmyra Beach Hotel at Glyfada, drop our bags, and head out to dinner on the beach. As you do. Some decent Greek wine for me and some ouzo for the inimitable Ms G helped wind down what for both of us had been a stressful week. We sat by the shore until they closed the place down around us and then made our way back to the hotel for just a few hours of sleep before heading to the island.
I’ve never been to Greece before. It’s not a country that was high on my list of places to go, if it featured at all. Athens isn’t a city I’ve ever been particularly curious about and yet when he told me to be in Athens at 9.04 pm on Wednesday, 6th August, I immediately booked a flight. My last date with fate on 2 February 2013 marked many changes – good changes – so who knows what this one will bring.
It might well be the effects of the sun, but I think I can see the changes already. I am so calm I don’t know myself. I’ve only logged on once today and haven’t checked my phone at all. I’ve finished one book and have two more in reserve. We docked at Aegina early morning and couldn’t immediately see our hotel. So we did what any self-respecting Irish/Hungarian duo would do – we checked with the first bartender we saw. Nothing like taking advantage of local talent. .. but such information comes at a price.
Pulling wheelies behind us, we wended our way up the hill to our hotel and got to check in early. The Klonos is lovely – really lovely. That makes two in a row. We spent the day at the beach decompressing and feel as if Budapest is somewhere in the distant past. I’m keeping a watchful eye out for Tom Conti look-alikes (there’s a plethora of Shirley Valentines), and half expect to hear Pierce Brosnan singing his heart out in some little ouzeri tonight. But even if both fail me, I won’t be disappointed.
This is the first time in a long time that I’ve felt so relaxed. It’s going to be a good week. And yes, Wayne Brett – I’ll be back in BP by Friday 🙂