Efharisto, Oia

* Thank you

Erika and Rose, outside the Chelidonia office

Rose has just dropped by to say goodbye, and Erika will come down shortly.  My luggage is collected in half an hour, the final trek up my 90 steps just ahead, by Roland, who will sling my bag over his shoulder and still beat me to the top.

I have left behind 8 books here, some of which are read, and others are travel books I no longer need for this trip.  Better to leave them for someone else than try to take them or send them home.  At least my bag will be a little lighter now.

This morning, my final visit to Skiza, where Giorgos brings out my coffee and water without even asking and the locals have come to accept me as a fixture in their cafe. Over these weeks, I have been able to work out some of their relationships: they all greet me on the street now, and many have turned up as waiters or owners of nearby restaurants as they have opened their doors for the season.  I say my goodbyes, and promise myself to return.

I am always struck with sadness in leaving Oia, but this time it’s tempered by my plans of return.  What a blessing, to spend nearly a month in this beautiful place!

House Paris receives a face-lift

My home for the past month, House Paris, has received its new paint and gleams white in the sun.  Most building has stopped, complete, and shops are almost all open, souvenirs spilling out onto the street.  Boats adorn the water, and cruise ships now arrive with more regularity.  And it’s time for me to leave.

Thomas and I stop for a coffee outside the airport

At the airport, Thomas the taxi driving entrepeneur (see DST Travel in previous post!) invites me for a coffee – I love that the outside of the airport looks like a mini taverna!

My work desk in House Paris

From here, I head to Northern Greece, to a village called Kavala, where I meet my friend Crazy Anastasia.  I first came to know her on my first visit to Greece, on a plane from Madrid to Athens.  I looked up from my lunch and, there she sat, gleaming at me.  We started talking, and the next night she bought us dinner and took us dancing.  Anastasia is 72, and thinks of herself as my second mother.  She drives like a madwoman, and screams at everyone, but has been responsible for some of the most memorable times I’ve spent in Greece.  She came to visit this time last year in Sydney, fell in love with the place, and wants to live there half of each year.  I am fearful she will suggest she will stay at my house!  (Truth be told, she nags like crazy and drives me spare, but is ridiculously kind-hearted and alot of fun).

I have no idea of her plans for our time together, except that we will visit Thessaloniki and Thassos island.  My mouth is watering at the prospect of Greek Lamb, my favourite of all!  After that, it’s off to Istanbul on the overnight train on 8 April for 4 days and then I fly to mysterious Iran.

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