Keep Going…..We’re Getting There
02.09.2018 - 02.09.2018
T.S. Eliot said, “The journey, not the arrival, matters.” Obviously, T.S. Eliot never flew American Airlines from Tennessee to Greece in a coach seat.
I had, but, inexplicably, I found myself doing it again.
Apparently, flying coach to Greece is like having a baby. You forget how bad it is until you find yourself panting and screaming for an epidural.
We left our house at 3:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning, only to arrive in Philadelphia at 7:30 a.m. for a 12 HOUR LAYOVER.
Yes. You read that correctly.
A 12 HOUR LAYOVER.
That was American Airlines' way of making sure we were exhausted when we finally boarded our 7 hour overnight flight later that day.
The only silver lining in this very dark cloud was the fact that my childhood BFF lives in Philadelphia and I got to spend the day with her. We dropped Matt off at a cheesy downtown casino and we spa’d, sipped champers, and laughed like we were still 13 years old. We picked Matt up and enjoyed our final non-airport meal for a while, then headed back to the airport to endure the next 24 hours of abject misery.
We enjoyed a delightful 7 hour overnight flight in crap coach seats only to arrive in London….an overnight flight where we did not sleep but instead watched lots of movies and drank lots of beer and wine (which we thought would make us sleep, but which only made us have to get up to pee a lot). I did get one brief moment of joy when my meal turned out to be vegetable lasagna. Who doesn't remember "vegetable lasagna" from Seinfeld??? Matt had to endure an hour of punchy vegetable lasagna jokes.
Once in London, we waited 4 hours to board a 4 hour flight to Athens. Once in Athens, we waited 2 hours to board a quick 1 hour flight to the island of Zakynthos.
Funny enough, all of that travel was forgotten when we neared the tiny Zakynthos airport, the sun setting over the mountains. We'd been in transit for 2 solid days, but here we were.
When we landed in Zakynthos, we were rumpled, cranky, and bleary eyed. We had been awake for 33 hours, other than a few sad, wine-soaked hours trying to sleep in an upright position while listening to the guy eating pretzels in the row behind us. All we wanted to do was fall into a soft bed and sleep. Unfortunately, we had to get our rental Jeep and make a 30 minute drive in the dark, on twisty roads, with signs we couldn’t read.
“What did that sign say?” Matt asked.
“Anapafseos?” I muttered, staring with hope at the Google map on my iPhone and hoping it knew where we were going.
“Bless you,” Matt replied.
Somehow…we made it. In the dark. Starving. Exhausted.
Paradisso Beach Villas was a welcome haven. A complex of 3 villas set on an oceanfront cliff, the property was an oasis of rest and peace. The ornate villas were only 25 feet from the sea.
As we swayed with exhaustion in the breezy oceanfront air, our exuberant hostess, Antonia, came running out of her small cottage with open arms, followed by Jackie O, a giant schnauzer, bouncing cheerfully like an overgrown child.
This first stop on our Ionian journey was the island of Zykanthos, often called Zante. It is known for the famous “Shipwreck Beach,” or Navagio Beach, one of the most over-Instagrammed locations on earth, but beautiful nonetheless. I am not ashamed to admit it is what drew me to the island.
Zakynthos is deserving of the moniker ‘schizophrenic’. The southeast end of the island is heavily commercialized, littered with overcrowded beaches and 20somethings jacked up on Red Bull and hormones. Jet skis and giant inflatable sofas pulled behind speed boats fill the water as techno beats pump through the air. Thankfully, this part of the island is easy to avoid. Paradisso Beach Villas sat on the northeast corner of the island, where more common sights were street side tables selling locally made olive oil and wine , livestock, and low key beach tavernas.
“Vicki, Vicki, Welcome!” she said, hugging me and planting a kiss on my cheek as though we were old friends.
It was 8:00 p.m., so she gave us the world’s fastest tour (knowing we were exhausted) and showed us the little footpath that would take us just a moment down the beach to several restaurants. As we were walking away, she was shouting something about a boat ,her nephew, tomorrow morning….we were too tired to listen.
We found ourselves at Ammoudi Fish Taverna in just moments. It was a simple seafront restaurant with the most delicious smells emanating from the kitchen. We literally fell into chairs and enjoyed a dinner of goat cheese and arugula salad, mussels, pasta Bolognese, and seafood pasta. As we were paying our bill, they brought out a little plate of watermelon and limoncello. I never tired of Mediterranean hospitality.
When we arrived back at the villa we had a note.
“Arrive at boat below house tomorrow. 7:00 a.m.”
WTF? (which obviously means, “What the Feta?”)