The jaunt to Istanbul was Patti logic: we'd be in that part of the universe, had the opportunity. GO!
In the weeks preceding this trip, I was so excited that I woke Mr. W in the middle of the night to read him snippets from guidebooks. One memorable 2am he groused, "I don't want to hear one more word about mythology, the Peloponnesian and Trojan Wars, or all the museums we are going to visit. Go orbit the moon, ok?"
I was huffy. "Fine! But when we get there, I get to talk dork all I want."
I insisted Mr. W block out three weeks. "Here's the deal," I told him. "it's not like we'll ever be back in that part of the universe. Why not have serious fun? Also, NO WORK the entire trip." He didn't check his work email or say a word about CNN the entire trip. Mutual bliss!
Research told me that Europeans leave Greece around August 15 and the backpack/student population is gone by Sept 15. We got on a plane Sept 26th, after a goodbye brunch at my Parents house with the kids. We were stuffed with food and good wishes. It was our first vacation alone since our honeymoon.
We landed at 10am, jumped on the Athens metro and within an hour had arrived at Syntagma Square. It was only a short walk to Central Hotel. It was too early to check in, but we could leave our bags. The Concierge gave us water and a map. We were on our way to the Acropolis! I was excited enough to fuel space flight.
The Parthenon appears like a crown over Athens. The guard at the gate waved us in. "Free," she said, "today is special day." How's that for great karma?
We walked up the sacred way towards the most important ancient site in the Western world.
There it was, the entrance, above the trees! I'd read about the Acropolis since I was 10. At 55, I was floating through the Propylaia wearing a huge grin.
An opera was rehearsing at the Odeon. To be standing at that ancient site, listening to epic music was a unique experience.
Pericles spared no expense on the Parthenon. The white Pentelic Mable glows. It is a stunning sight.
The Temple of Athena Nike is one of the most exquisitely beautiful places on earth. How wonderful is it that one of the greatest cities in the world is dedicated to a woman who represents wisdom and courage?
I could gush on forever. We had a great day, staying for hours, soaking in the beauty of this holy place, watching the crowd, and listening to the opera. It was so much more than I'd hoped it would be.
Later that night, we had dinner at an outdoor cafe with the Acropolis view.
Enjoying the terrific scenery, we were also treated to drama. The woman at the table next to us spent our entire dinner getting horrendously drunk, yammering on her phone about the man who had just dumped her. She'd been in Crete having a nice time and decided it was time for a commitment talk. Oy.
Why, I wondered, would she ask the man she'd known 6 months "where our relationship is going" during their shared vacation? Don't ask that question unless you are reasonably sure of the answer.
"We have a 10 hour flight home together" she wailed "I'm going to find out what I did wrong." Lucky him.
"Amazing," said Mr. W, "I can see your ears migrating to the back of your head."