After meeting at the Athens airport, we drove our Nissan Micro to the beautiful seaport town of Nafplio, near the north end of the Argolic Gulf, in the Peloponnese region. Kyveli Suites was our ‘home’ for the night (thanks to Vanessa Sage for the recommendation). After figuring out where to park, wandering a bit with luggage in tow (I’d put in the incorrect strolling address post parking 🙂 ) we arrived. Key in hand we took our grumbling jet lagged stomachs in search of food. Warm mediterranean night air, stars peeking through clouds welcomed us: comfy chairs, seaside tavern, and kind servers. ‘Yamas,’ cheers!
Sun’s arising brought a bountiful spread of food: coffee, pastries, bread, jams, yogurt, toasted sandwiches – our first introduction to Greek breakfast and hospitality. Incredible.
Meandering down cobbled streets, sipping on espresso, practicing our limited Greek -both of us felt we could stay longer.
The ancient ruins of Mycenae called. A remarkable view, history and the unexpected delight of cyclamen growing wild made this tourist destination worth the visit.
A wild and wet storm covered the region prior to our arrival. Unaware of what that meant for ‘backroads,’ google navigated us through deep muddy puddles until a washed out bridge turned us back to the main highway. Along the way, a resplendent falcon swept across our path – full flight, wings wide, skimming the hood of our tiny vehicle. Magnificent.
Back on the main highway toward Galaxidi, a humorous interaction with a toll booth employee had us in deep belly laughs with saturated tear filled eyes. My attempt at pronouncing hello, ‘Yasas’ came out in an odd, slurred, gargly way, upon which Kayce wondered if I was having a stroke. Laughter, jet lag, driving in a foreign country, directional challenges and good traveling friends – remarkable.
Hotel Ganimede, in Galaxidi, a seaside town on the gulf of Corinth (half an hour from Delphi) was our stop for the night. Singing and strolling our way down and along the harbor a sudden downpour swept us into a small restaurant where we dined on falafel filled gyros and copious amounts of greek salad.
The next morning brought sunshine and another delicious, amazing breakfast spread.
We have a morning intention setting practice of drawing 2 cards from the soulstrolling inspiration deck (created by Kayce S. Hughlett). One of us shuffles the cards, splits the deck, then fans them out. We each draw one, count to 3, and flip them over.
Say yes, and sacred space felt serendipitous with our destination: Delphi and the Temple of Athena. It’s a curving, winding, steadily uphill climb, with steep drops off to one side and spectacular views through changing landscape and foliage. The world heritage site spreads across the southwestern slope of Mount Parnassus.
Driving past the main entrance, we parked on the side of the road next to the Temple of Athena (thanks to Vanessa Sage for the recommendation) and strolled down a winding path to the open hilltop space where the ancient ruins beckoned. From here we glanced up the hill to the Temple of Apollo where hundreds of tourists wound their way back and forth across the landscape.
It was such a contrast to be two of a small handful of visitors: sunlight filtered through blue and white patched sky, bird song drifted with the breeze and quiet descended. It was as if the few souls who came to visit this space sensed the powerful presence of the sacred divine feminine, goddess of wisdom. I surrendered to the invitation to silence, to sit, to paint, to be. Letting go, savoring being. Closing my eyes, I remember. This, a deeper noticing – a stirring within of power, presence, light, the divine within.
“A great traveler is a kind of introspective, as she covers the ground outwardly, so she advances fresh interpretations of herself inwardly.” Lawrence Durell
Kayce navigated as we drove down the steep hillside of Delphi, across lower level plains, industrial zones and outside Athens to Eleusis – an ancient site of the worship of Demeter, goddess of nature’s renewal. The power of myth and story is poignant in Greece. It pulses through earth, air, statues, architectural remains. This site is where the mythical abduction of Demeter’s daughter, Persephone, occurred. Here again, we found ourselves among very few visitors. Thank you, Kayce, for following your intuition.
Author Sue Monk Kidd, writes about visiting this site with her daughter and co-author in “Traveling with Pomegranates.” Kayce read aloud from her kindle version as we sat beside the well where it is said Demeter wept and waited for her daughter. A warm breeze danced through ancient rocks, pillars and trees. Blooming cacti, with flowers that looked like broken open pomegranates, and olive trees grew about the grounds. Pieces of ancient monuments, stone, marble, granite, steps that lead to a museum… open space, myth, story, history, presence, birds, sunlight, quiet…
All of this, in our first 2 days in Greece. I think the remainder of our adventure is going to take quite a few more posts 🙂