I recently returned from a trip of a lifetime to Greece. All my life I had yearned to go to that beautiful cradle of Western civilization. My desire intensified when I met Ismail, the love of my life, and learned that he had lived in that country for some time and loved Greece very much. Throughout our 50-year marriage, we frequently went to Greek restaurants. Moussaka became my favorite dish.
My dream was to travel to Greece with Ismail, but when his ALS advanced to the stage that his ability to travel overseas was no longer a possibility, I decided to go by myself and send him photos and stories every day, then share with him all my travel adventures when I got home. I looked forward to hearing more about his experiences when we compared notes.
Because of COVID shutdowns and other delays, it took several years for my dream of getting to Greece to materialize. At last it did! Sadly, however, Ismail passed away on December 22, 2020, so I will never be able to share my travel stories with him. But every adventure I had, every memory I made, became even more precious to me as I traveled through beautiful Greece, a country I knew that Ismail had loved.
Our travel group climbed to the top of the Acropolis and saw the magnificent Parthenon and the ruins of other temples and beautiful structures. We enjoyed a guided visit of the archeological site and museum at Olympia, where the ancient Olympic Games were held every four years, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. Guided visits took us to the excavations and Archaeological Museum in Delphi and to monasteries in Meteora. We stopped at the Thermopylae battle site, where, in 480 BC, a badly out-numbered alliance of Ancient Greek city-states valiantly fought but eventually lost to a Persian army. On our last evening in Athens, we enjoyed a traditional Greek dinner by the sea.
My deepest thanks to Suzanne Klasen of Cruise One Tours for her hard work and attention to detail to ensure that my trip to Greece was one I’ll always treasure.