The weather in Athens reminded me of Finland in November when we sat in the lounge waiting for our next flight. Too much rain. Too little sunlight. There was an occasional sound of thunder and we were wishing for it all to go away before we’d take off with a small plane to a far-away island. The airport in Athens is, by the way, unbelievably small for a capital airport. That we figured out while we waited, for six hours. There was a French couple filling out their Le Monde crosswords. There was also a Spanish couple engaged in heated conversation, the topic of which remained unknown to me. Maybe it wasn’t more than today’s groceries, who knows. Then there were a dozen Greeks, my friend writing her blog, and me. I was wondering why it didn’t bother me that it rained. I also noticed that I wasn’t too worried about any of the practical arrangements having to do with our trip. It was after all quite an amazing tour with more than a few legs. There I was, simply enjoying the moment. Drifting away in a sweet, carefree moment. Anonymously and somewhere unimportant.
By the third day I had already forgotten that it was something new. Not stressing about anything. Not worrying about everything. The turquoise wonderland of Aegean landscapes had already lulled me into a holiday mode and the ever increasing encounters of native Greeks, speaking their native Greek, had lured me out of everyday thought. Now my main goal was to remember five phrases correctly. Kalimera. Kalisfera. Efaristo. Parakalo. Andio. Hiking past Devil’s Eye at the south coast of Pano Koufonissi island we met an older Austrian lady who said that she had traveled all over the world but had never seen anything so beautiful.
During our stay in Pano Koufonissi our hostess Sofia taught us some more Greek. Ti kanis, Sofia? No matter what the time of the day it was, you could always find Sofia and her family members there. And what a lobby it was, with a fantastic view over the sea and the majestic island of Keros. Living without yoghurt and tsatsiki started to seem like an utter impossibility. In that little village it was easy to feel the togetherness. Kids and grown-ups sitting at the cafes and kicking ball in the island’s only shopping street, so narrow that you could talk from one shop to the one opposite. My guess is that all five hundred people knew each other and cared for each other. We were welcome strangers, and as such, glad to be able to witness the warmth and the happiness of the locals. There were everyday errands somewhere in that life too, I’m sure. It just didn’t seem like it. Mediterranean winds had cleared my head and the Greek sun caressed my soul.