Friday, June 6, 2014


Back again to the place that we know. The smells are all different and welcome. There's been plenty of rain in Kansas while we've been away and the plants are doing their thing with verve. Giant chard and kale leaves in the garden. The dog loved being with our neighbor so much she tried to go to their home last night and I had to get a leash to get her.

Bun enjoyed her first ever swim at the ocean beach. Both kids loved playing in the waves and chasing the reef fish around. The day we went to Kommos beach the swells were higher and it was exciting but also a little terrifying at least for the parents. The girls loved it. We jumped in those big waves for about 45 minutes and then opted for the more sheltered cove at Matala beach. Death defying drive on cliffside road to BungaBunga. Too much like nightmares I've had of driving off the edge. Nod insisted on beach time for the first four days of our visit. He was worried about the weather shifting and it being too cold. I thought this was baseless anxiety but it happened just that way. The winds came up and there was unseasonable rain and we were happy to have gotten to the beach as much as we did to start.

My MIL was a hearty traveler and didn't have any trouble with the demanding schedule. She did manage to break the washing machine at our villa. Nod snapped into motion and we went down to Tymbaki to the gas station for directions to a hardware store. Exotic Cretan screwdrivers in hand he worked and swore and fixed the thing. Embarrassing and expensive confession averted!

My favorite times include the mountain hike we took in the Rouvas Gorge. The air smelled like thyme and sage and pine trees. Very few other hikers. Goats with bells. Kat said she was the goat paparazzi and has the pictures to prove it.

Our villa hosts were so helpful, generous and kind I felt incredibly in their debt and Nod had to remind me that we did have a financial relationship. The villa was old stone and stucco, thick walls with iron bars and shutters to keep out the afternoon heat.

To start our European visit, Bun threw up after our overnight flight while we trudged around Dusseldorf. She and Kat slept on the flight to Heraklion. And she was fine the next day. Sadly she started off the trek homeward with a spate of barfing too. She was done by the time we touched down at the Athens airport.

I owe the Athens airport a big apology. I had heard it was chaotic and unpleasant but no, that would be the Heraklion airport at 9am on a Sunday morning when the European package tours are all scrumming for their return flights. We stood and gaped and had no idea where to go to even check in. The surging humanity was everywhere. Nod zipped around and got a Swiss tour leader to tell him where we should head. Got our luggage checked through and our boarding passes. Then we joined the huge line for passport control. It took the hour that we had before the flight. After throwing up a bit, Bun mostly sat out with her grandma and played Smurfs while we snaked oh-so-slowly towards the One Solitary Person who was checking passports and boarding passes. It was the very definition of bottleneck.

We got off the plane in Athens and we were suddenly in a luxury mall and a little under-dressed. Those of us who were eating ate our bread and cheese and lightly squashed strawberries.

Another favorite episode was our hotel breakfast in Vienna. Many different coffee options, eggs and b., sausage, little dishes for jam, aaahhhh. The Teutonic peoples know how to breakfast. Lufthansa is still trusting their customers with metal cutlery, fork, spoon and knife.

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