It's only been a week since I left Chicago but it feels like I've been gone weeks and weeks. When we travel time moves slowly because every minute, every hour, is a new experience that takes up more space in our imagination. One day can be filled with scenery and museums and unusual foods that contrast remarkably with the routine of home where the landscape is the same.
Today I went to Kifissia with my cousin and my mother. Kifissia is a southern suburb filled with huge houses and tall trees. Once upon a time it was far from the city; Athenians went on excursions or vacations. Today is just an extension of the city: shops galore, cafes and restaurants, millions of cars, and people living in buildings one on top of another. There are some oases however in that riot of noise and colors: the bakery/cafe we sat at has a garden in the back in the midst of trees and greenery with the scent of jasmin. We had scrumptious pies and pastries, drank our Cokes, gloried in the peace of the quiet.
Yesterday I ventured to the Museum Benaki where I saw the exhibition of Pontian postcards from the 1880s to the 1920s. Marvelous examples of what postcards used to be and a good lesson from that part of the world and that time in history. The coffee shop offers a quiet view of Athens from the 3rd floor where I enjoyed a respite again with a cheese pie and a Coke. (Why do I drink Cokes when I travel?)
For those of you who are not in the news - Europe is gripped in election fever. This Sunday the entire continent is choosing representatives to the European Council. Greece also is having mayoral elections. Athens is awash in marches, demonstrations, flyer-distributing people who engage you in political discussions in a heartbeat. It is virtually impossible to avoid it. The television is one debate after another. Mother is tired, missing her soap operas and game shows.
Who will win? Who will lose? Sunday will be exciting and probably surprising.