Welcome to Greece

Our Aegean Air flight was on time and uneventful, the best kind. I do have to remark that US Airlines hire flight attendants based on ability and not looks, unlike the old days when stewardesses were all glamorous. Aegean Air never got that memo. Were they able and safety conscious? Absolutely. They were also gorgeous, with legs up to their necks, lustrous dark hair and, I’m guessing, standard issue lipstick: a deep shade of red. Their black uniforms, while sleeveless, still made them all remind me of the models Robert Palmer used in his Addicted to Love video back in the ‘80s, but with a bit less eyeshadow. Take a look.

…there were multiple Greek-lish conversations happening. Steve sat at the far end and had the good fortune to sit by the winery owner who took great care in describing each dish, how it should be eaten, and making sure Steve enjoyed the experience. It was an incredible welcome, and I know it was the beginning of many great days to come.

Traveling within the EU is fairly simple, no customs and immigration forms, just a simple stop at passport control and then grab the bags and go. We grabbed a taxi and headed to the Metropolitan Hotel, a Chandris Group property not far from Piraeus, the cruise ship port. Our driver knew some rudimentary English and we had fun trying to communicate with him, especially when Steve realized Spanish was not going to work. He recited the Greek alphabet for us, taught us how to say please (parakalO) and thank you (ephkharistO), and told us about his wife and kids.  Sweet guy, and a great first impression of the locals.

More pictures. Click on image to view full size.

The weather was hazy and warm, and the mix of bougainvillea, palm trees and pine trees was confusing and wonderful. While the weather can be in the 50’s or colder in the winter, the summers are hot. Like 90’s in August hot. The air felt moist from the sea and the haze, exactly what I’d expect in the Mediterranean.  I love hot.

The hotel is beautiful, lots of stainless, marble and glass, with too-hip-for-the-room euro-groove music playing in the lobby and restaurant. There is a courtyard with a fountain off of the lobby and restaurant if you choose to eat outdoors, and a lobby bar with sofas and comfortable seating. My cousin Jeanne found us at the reception desk, and we made plans to clean up and meet them in the lobby to decide about dinner. She and her husband Vic, whose family is from Greece, invited us to join them on this trip, along with their family who all arrive today. Jeanne called us in our room as we were showering after our long slog of travel to let us know that the party for dinner had increased, and when we found them in the lobby lounge we were introduced to six new friends. Vic’s cousin John was also here from Norfolk, VA, and unfortunately heading home today. There were three young women, and two guys: a naval officer who owns a winery and an economist working for the Greek government. All friends of John’s. We walked a couple of blocks to a local taverna, where we dined alfresco on Vic’s menu choices for the table. I was in heaven. Melanzanosalata, tzatziki, flambéed cheese, loukanico, a sausage flavored with orange peel, calamari, sea bass with a lemon olive oil, giant (butter) beans is a tasty tomato based sauce, lovely bread and I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Wine. Yes, there was wine. And Octopus. Jeanne would not partake as her daughter Victoria who is a Professor of Geobiology and spends a great deal of time under the sea has said that octopi are incredibly intelligent creatures and she is against eating them.  This one was obvious not intelligent enough not to get caught, and, alas, he was tasty.

Vic and John both speak the language, so there were multiple Greek-lish conversations happening. Steve sat at the far end and had the good fortune to sit by the winery owner who took great care in describing each dish, how it should be eaten, and making sure Steve enjoyed the experience. It was an incredible welcome, and I know it was the beginning of many great days to come.

Deborah

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

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Deborah June 16, 2015 at 3:51 pm

Hi There!
Thanks so much for writing, and your lovely compliments. Glad to have you along!
D.

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D.

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