I was thrilled yesterday to wake up to an early-morning text and heartwarming photos from our friend, Maria, letting us know that she had arrived safely in Athens, Greece. A Greek American, her visit was originally planned for earlier in the year, but the pandemic forced her to postpone. She hadn’t been back to Greece in a long time and was looking forward to connecting with family and friends and taking in a quintessential Greek summer. By fall, things were looking more promising; however, travel challenges loomed again with the rise of the Delta and Omicron variants. She was close to rescheduling once more. In her early seventies and full of life, she was torn knowing that she might not have another opportunity to see Greece for a while.
But perhaps Maria’s domestic trips this year to visit her aging mother back east may have been a dress rehearsal. She had become well-acquainted with protocol for safe air travel during Covid.
So, the night before her departure, Louie and I called to bid Maria a wonderful journey while she packed last-minute items.
I was joyful for our friend. I had fallen for the Greek culture and family-loving Greek people when I explored the towns and villages around central Greece, the area Maria will be visiting, and a part of Greece seldom visited by North American travelers. The sprawling countryside, mountainous terrain, and most of all the warm hospitality and authenticity of the Greek people flood my memories.
“It’s all good!” she wrote upon her arrival at Athens International Airport.
We can’t be happier that Maria finally made it to Greece. Travel well, Amiga. Can’t wait to hear your tales.