Greek Gods and Goddesses. Tragic love stories. Once I read Edith Hamilton’s Mythology in grade school, I was a goner for Greece.
I wrote short stories about my version of some of the stories I read or came up with entirely made up stories of my own. I fashioned myself after Artemis, the goddess of the Hunt and of the Moon, even though I wasn’t that wild about animals. But I do like staring at the sky during the waning and the waxing of the moon.
I told myself, one day I was going to visit the Parthenon and see for myself all the temples I’ve only read about. Well, that came true on August of 2015 when we were invited to attend S and T’s wedding.
H and I had to do some back and forth with the travel agent since we weren’t planning on going to Greece on that particular trip, but since I’ve already said yes months before, we had to include it in our itinerary.
I’m glad we did, because what a beautiful country! I’ve only seen one of the islands, Kefalonia and the city of Athens, and we stayed for only a few days but the food, the people, the beach, the history were wonderful, especially after the near stress we had getting to the airport before even heading to Greece.
We were traveling from Israel and booked a place close to the airport after reading about the horrible traffic in Tel Aviv. We left 3 and a half hours before the flight to give us time to return fill up the tank and return the rental. We arrived at the closest petrol station and all the machines weren’t working. We waited 10 minutes, 20 minutes with the staff saying somebody was coming. 30 minutes later, we headed to another gas station after going the wrong way. Thankfully, there was no problem there.
There was a problem when we had to return the rental. First, we went to the nearest rental place but it turned out to be the wrong one. Next, we went to the one close to the airport. H asked a staff whether it was the right place. Despite all the other cars parked around, the staff said no. We kept driving and driving, even exiting the airport and going back in. Anyone who’s driven through Ben Gurion Airport know how huge the airport complex is, not to mention the security involved in getting in. One and a half hour before our flight and still not finding the place, my usually unflappable husband dropped the f-bombed. A call to the rental company and we finally realized that H had been looking for the wrong rental company. The second place we’ve been to was the right one. A quick drive, ignoring the speed limit and we were at the car rental parking lot.
Of course, that wasn’t the end of it. The staff of the car rental had to inspect the damage on the car and took their time chatting with H while I tried not to panic as the clock ticked past. Done with the paperwork, we were let off only to watch the shuttle drive away. Fortunately, the driver saw us and came back; otherwise, we would’ve had to wait for 20 minutes until he came back. We hunted for the check-in counter and while waiting on the queue, H was bothered that none of the security staff interviewed us. He saw some tags on baggage and turned to one of the guys on the queue and asked whether they were interviewed. The guys replied in the negative but disappeared thereafter, returning with a tag and said, yep, you have to go back and get the tag. That was with 5 people in front of us.
Dash to the security. The queue moved quickly and we found ourselves at the head, only to get stuck when the family in front of us encountered problems. We had our turn, ran back to the check-in counter to find one person ahead of us. Yey! Our turn, we had to pay for the luggage fee since it wasn’t included in the ticket. Found the fee counter and waited for a lady who was arguing with the only 1 cashier. Paid for the luggage fee, got our boarding pass, and went through another set of security with the x-ray machine. Turned out the machine was broken. I had enough of and when one stubborn traveler who refused to budge from the broken machine queue wanted to get ahead of me, I snapped a, “No!”
Finally, we were on the flight to Athens and from Athens to the island of Kefalonia. On the plane, I saw a guy holding a single long-stemmed rose. When we landed, a beautiful woman met him and beamed when he handed her the rose. Aaawww.
In Kefalonia, we experienced a very relaxed life style. The taxi from the airport varied from Eur 16 to Eur 18, I think the fare now would be Eur 20. Our room was relatively simple but it had a balcony and opened to a magnificent view of the blue ocean. We toured the island with S and T’s family and visited small shipping villages. Prior to the wedding, we swam in the turquoise Mediterranean sea and got dragged around in the ocean in a doughnut.
From Kefalonia, we flew to Athens where my heart nearly burst in gladness. Such was my joy in finally seeing the Parthenon. We hired a taxi to take us around and it was the best decision we made. We didn’t have to sweat too much walking around and the driver brought us to an authentic Greek restaurant and educated us about the Greek history and present day economic and political conditions of the country.
From there, we flew to Switzerland. But that’s for another post.