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I woke up with that saying in my head. Why? Not sure. Could have been left over from a dream I’m not remembering or it could be because I do remember saying something about writing about the plentiful highlights of my 2-week jaunt to Greece and Turkey last month. Umm… did I say that? I haven’t done it yet, at least not here.  I wrote daily highlights while I was on vacation in a little notebook I like to carry around. Even had to buy a new notebook because the highlights were coming fast and furious. That was our routine– every night at dinner we’d go over the day’s highlights. Doing that every day was always one of the highlights. I haven’t looked back at that list since I unpacked although I think about it and the highlights about 7,207 times a day. Sometimes more.

Here’s my theory as to why: When I have really, really great memories from something it’s hard to relive them. Even on paper. Take that semester I spent in London junior year (thanks Mom & Dad!) Best 5ish months of my life. I fell in love with London about 4 minutes after we landed. Mostly I feel in love with living in a city. For a city that large it’s remarkably easy to navigate. (The Tube! How I miss you! And the Cadbury chocolate bar I’d get every morning from my Tube Stop for 35 pence.)

That semester is why I live in Seattle, or at least, a city instead of staying closer to my Upstate New York roots. I had the time of my life: Traveled all over Europe (cheap if you’re a student), spent evenings drinking pints of cider and playing darts at my local pub (and argued with the locals about why a semester in their country instead of staying put in my own was actually a good thing), and saw about 42 plays, musicals and even an opera (Carmen— in box seats!) which was just one of the benefits of a theater major “studying” in London.

But all that was years ago. As in (nearly) decades ago. And guess what: I never went back. My most favorite city in the world and it’s just a distant memory. I was talking to B about this the other day. He too spent some time in London after college and also fell in love with it. But unlike me, he’s gone back a few times since then. I think my hesitation to return is because of the tiny chance it won’t be the London I remember.

Which it won’t because I’m not a college student living a block away from Sherlock Holmes in a flat my nice parents paid for with 4 other students– one of which had a freakin’ meltdown because we asked to borrow his frying pan. That’s a different story.

But so what if it feels different. It should, right? That doesn’t devalue the memories I already have. (Look, I get that you totally know all the answers here and stuff but I’m working out my issues as I write this, okay?) No, of course not! (See? I’m catching up!) And this is why I’m going back next year as part of our great Beer Tour 2011 which will kick off in Munich for Oktoberfest. And no, I won’t write about the highlights for that trip either.

So what was the point of this? Oh yeah. Highlights of the Off-Season was also a really good novel by Peter J. Smith. I read it a long time ago and remember loving it. At one point the main character gets stuck overnight at a Target. Would you believe I had no idea what Target was? And no Google to look it up! We didn’t have Targets in Binghamton, NY. My how the times have changed.

My little notebook happens to be sitting right next to me. Dare I read it? Okay!

Here’s the highlights from our first day in Athens:

  1. Dogs are everywhere! Big, old, fluffy dogs!
  2. Our flight attendant on the way over was super nice. For whatever reason she knew how many frequent flyer miles I had and thanked me for “supporting Delta.” Then she gave B and I the toiletry case they hand out in business class! Korres hand cream and fluffy, soft socks! Ahhhh!
  3. Our travel agent rocked! She took care of all our airport/hotel transfers. As soon as we came out of customs, a nice man was waiting for us holding a sign with B’s name on it.
  4. Umm… the Parthenon. Pretty freakin’ cool.
  5. Umm… the Acropolis. Yep. Also pretty freakin’ cool.
  6. Our hotel was 5 minutes away from #4 and #5.
  7. BEST LUNCH EVER! Giant Greek salad with a BRICK of feta on it and spanakopita!
  8. BEST DINNER EVER! Too many plates of food to remember!
  9. Our waiter bought us shots of ouzo. And then told us to go back to the hotel and make babies. Took the shot. Not the advice.
  10. The ouzo bar we ended up in after dinner.
  11. The Canadian friends we met at aforementioned ouzo bar.
  12. The “Greek flag” shot they wanted to buy us.
  13. Us ending up buying the shot because they ran out of money. Is that a Canadian thing or something?
  14. Cats are everywhere! Not as cool as the dogs but still kind of neat.
  15. Happy Train! The tourist tram that travels through the tourist part of town and nearly runs down tourists! A must ride!Wow! Talk about happy trains! That was fun! I can’t wait to read the rest of the highlights. I’ll spare you. For now. But be warned: days 2-14 are coming. Right after I plan my next trip back to Greece.

Shelly Mazzanoble

2 Replies to “Highlights of the Off-Season”

  1. Shelly,

    Glad you had fun in Greece, I’m still pretty jealous. I have had the luck of going to London twice, but never for school. I’d highly recommend going back there, if only to see the sights and then catch the Chunnel to Paris! Paris is a city worth visiting over and over again, and friendlier than most Americans and Brits make it out to be. Thanks again for the link before you left.


  2. Shelly:

    Can’t you get a giant Greek Salad, like the one pictured above, back at the Argos Restaurant in Binghamton? You would have saved a whole lot of Drachmas! 🙂

    Seriously, I’m glad you had fun and I can’t wait to read your next Greek Vacation post.


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