Anyways, enough of that rant, let’s get to the good GREEK stuff! As you may or may not know, Easter is a BIG holiday in Italy. So naturally the academic calendar provides the students with a hefty break starting with Holy Thursday and finishing on Pasquetta, or Easter Monday. The best part about the extra three days, is that it make professors want to turn it into an even longer break, so somehow I managed to get away with Wednesday – Tuesday, free of class! Score! So I call Kelly up, we’re chatting, and the natural answer is GREECE. Especially since Catholic Easter happened to coincide with Greek Easter, so how lucky were we? Going to Greece on Greek Easter? Super fortunata, let me tell you!
The plan was simple, BLQ -> Athens, Port of Rafina Mykonos, Mykonos Athens, Athens BLQ, and that is ALMOST how it went down ;)
Kelly and I were BEYOND excited for our Greece trip, we always got along traveling, and seemed to be on the same page the majority of the time in terms of the dialogue “Do you think we should go out?” with two options for answers.... Option 1: Sharing a look of agreement, a yawn, and “Ya know, I’m feeling I’d rather sleep tonight” or ... a large grin and “so how about that carafe of house wine for 8 euro? Red or white?” And we were pretty good about keeping the answer balanced, so I think we did okay for ourselves.
|Lunch on the beach @ Mykonos|
|The house I'd like to buy and restore on Tinos|
And that is when we realized there was no car waiting for us and that we were one of the first off the boat because apparently everyone else knew slightly more than we did. We did an about face just in time to realize the boat we had just stepped off of had quickly restarted its engines o and was headed back out to sea with all of those passengers who were too nonchalant about arriving at Mykonos and getting off the boat first like us!
And that's when it hit us! “S***! This isn’t Mykonos! OMG, what are we going to do? If this isn't Mykonos, where are we? Wasn't ferry Rafina to Mykonos direct!? F***!” And that’s when some woman drove up next to us and saved the day. She asked us if we were lost and if we had intended to visit the island of Tinos. Kelly and I just stared at each other, eyes wide open, quickly did disaster assessment by questioning the woman about new ferry tickets, where to buy them, what the island we were on was, and if this was something most people did. She didn't seem shocked that this had happened to us, and thankfully we weren't the only ones who had made the same mistake in the past, so with the Greek woman's consolation on Good Friday, we felt relieved and fortunate to have met her. After collecting the right information to collect ourselves the woman drove off and left us to figure out the next step in the parking lot of the port. Step 1: drop a few more F bombs, stare at each other in disbelief and then laugh our heads off. Step 2: ticket office. Step 3: explore.
According to the woman in the ferry ticket office we found, there was only one boat leaving later evening at 9:00pm that would get us to Mykonos by 9:30. We really didn't have a choice so we bought our tickets and the woman was nice enough to let us leave our bags in her office while we went to explore the island of Tinos for 8 hours until the next ferry!
As it turns out Tinos was the perfect mistake. It was a much smaller island than Mykonos and more focused on religion. We got to sneak into a Good Friday mass at the church on top of the hill that was attended by what seemed to be the entire island. Grandmothers trekked up the steep hill to the church on their knees. Crowds stood outside the church as there were too many people to fit inside the church so they the mass played through outside speakers for everyone to hear. At the end of the ceremony everyone made there way into the small square church, the interior was so beautifully decorated with candles and other beautiful trinkets hanging from the ceiling and packed with Tinos locals with vibrant smiles and happy family vibes emanating everywhere. What intrigued us the most about the ceremony was the apparent bread breaking outside. Groups huddled around loaves of bread that were handled by the parishioners, pieces ripped off with their bare hands and passed around to the group. They ate and celebrated, Kelly and I sat and soaked in the experience.
|Greek Salad #2|
The travel agency/ferry kiosk sat opposite a bakery, so as we continually dialed the phone number written on the agency door in hopes of a response, we also watched in awe as the Greek bakers carted loaves and loaves of Easter bread from one building to another. We finally got in contact with the woman at the ticket kiosk who promised someone would be down to unlock the storefront in time, and that calmed our nerves for a good 20 minutes. But as the clock ticked closer to 5:00 and we lost interest in the pastry shop behind us, we grew anxious, hoping the man would answer his phone and that he would in fact be here in only 4 minutes. We soon learned 4 minutes equals 24 minutes, he opened the door to the shop, we ran in and grabbed our bags and rushed off towards the port to make our boat. Fewf. We saw the same lady who had told us our mistake as we unloaded from the boat onto Tinos earlier that day, she was happy we enjoyed the island. 30 minutes later we were in the real port of Mykonos and the manager of our hotel was waiting in his BMW to bring us up the hill to experience the best and fewest dollars I've ever spent on a hotel. A gorgeous room with a view, modern, private patio and breakfast included at a facility that had a pool and bar, $96 for TWO nights! Unbelievable.
|The procession came right down the path above Kelly's right shoulder|
|Fish fry and fries!|
|Street filled with people for Midnight Mass|
we had seen earlier that day. The streets were packed with people and vendors trying to sell candles for a dollar. Normally, I am not one to buy from the street folk, but it seemed like everyone crowded in the street had a candle and that they were purchasing from those walking around, so we said what the heck! The streets were so packed we had a hard time getting close to the church. We fought our way through so we could stand on a staircase a couple doors down from the church with a view of the front door 50 feet away. It was amazing how many people were there waiting for the end of the mass. As the clock struck midnight and the mass ended, people set off fireworks literally right next to us and we thought we had been bombed for a couple of seconds after being partially deaf, then the singing reached the streets and along with the singing and the procession came the lighting of the candles. It was magical to see the flames spread so quickly down the tiny alley ways of the city, strangers passing their light onto the next, including Kelly and myself. It was such a beautiful moment and we were lucky to have been in that tiny white washed city to have that experience!
|A typical sight in Mykonos|
p.s. Please excuse the extreme tardiness of this post. It's unacceptable! But better than no post at all!