October 2, 2009

The Virgin Traveler: Where I discover that I do not, in fact, hate history

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So first of all, I just have to show you what I am looking at right now as I am writing this. I'm sitting at an internet cafe on the waterfront in Chania. Here is the scene from my chair on the patio. It's about 75 degrees and breezy. Life could not be more perfect.

On Wednesday, my sister Chelsea and friend Amber flew in from Sweden to meet up with us for our Cretan adventure. The ferries only leave at night, so we had a whole day to explore Athens. We ended up taking a bus tour, where you could hop on and off of the bus at the different sightseeing spots. I was mainly interested in seeing the Parthenon, because it's probably the only chance I'll ever have at seeing something like that.

So we hopped off the shiny, red tourist bus and walked up to the Parthenon. I have never liked history all that much. Never really appreciated it. But getting up close to such a building - one that was built without all the computers, machinery and automation that we have today. It's seriously unbelievable. The mass alone is overwhelming, the structure and intricacies of the design are amazing. And by the time we got done hiking around the building, I had a headache from forcing myself not to cry.

It was breathtaking and thinking about the ancient Greeks building the same building that I was standing near... crap. Here come the tears again. I can't believe I am here!

After that, we stopped at a sidewalk cafe for some late lunch. I ordered Moussaka. A dish with potato on the bottom, a lamb and tomato filling, eggplant and a cheese topping, served in a little casserole dish. It was sweet and tangy and had just a touch of cinnamon. Warm and filling, I was ready to sleep.

Unfortunately, we had to be on our way. We picked up our luggage and dragged it onto the Metro in the midst of a communism protest in the middle of Athens and made our way to Pireaus, the port where all the ferries leave.

The ferry was huge and spacious. The Greeks smoke like nothing I've ever seen, so much that their cigarette smoke filled up the huge and spacious ferry. We sat near the open end because otherwise we couldn't breathe. Fabio was sitting near us. A big, muscular Greek man with flowing hair and a sharp nose and eyes I could fall into. Beautiful.

We arrived in Chania at 5 in the morning and hung out on the ferry for a couple of hours, since we couldn't check into our room until 11. We had a little breakfast and then made our way to Old Town Chania, where we are staying.

It's a beautiful part of town, with crumbling buildings painted bright yellow and the glistening water, clear as a window, Greek music playing everywhere and the peace and calm of a relaxed life. Suddenly I want to know how all this came about. How the town was built. Where did the people come from. What did they do. Because it matters. The history of all of it matters. And making it part of my history is what I can't wait for.