Sunday, June 13, 2010

Getting lost in Nafplio (on purpose.)

 Today I learned the difficult truth about getting to the best places in a city; you must always go up.

Greece is a place with a lot of “ups.” Even the ancient YiaYias are power hoofing their way up or down stone stairwells with their shopping bags, black-clad with  rubber-thick stockings in spite of 90 degree heat; you get the impression that if you were in a race, you would lose. For those who are not daunted by an incline in the peak hours of heat, you will be rewarded.

On this day I strayed "up" in Nafplio, a beautiful port town and once upon a time a well kept secret. Now throngs of tourists and locals are enjoying the main square and seaside cafes throughout the peak season. I could have planted myself there in the middle of the commotion, of course. Get an ice cream and people watch until dizzy with speculations, but instead, instead...

I slipped away from my fellow men.

Went down the little twisting streets until I came to worn,






How quiet things get. Even the buzz of a TV coming from behind a sunburned blue door in a two century old building  can sound like the score of a sweeping, epic film. Even sighting a common house cat becomes touched with magic. An omen. A god in disguise! The ridge of the walls lead you to strange and mysterious tunnels. Where do they take you? Dart in, like Alice down the rabbit hole, and pop out to find another twisting path leading up to an impressive castle. Stop, look over your shoulder, and be granted a "suck-in-your-breath" "MY GAWD" kind of beauty with the village dropping down into Disneyesque, perfect turquoise, the Bourtzi fortress in it's isolated place offshore.

My gaping was timed because truth be told, I was working.If I hadn't been working, god knows. I would have maybe found some company. Maybe been invited for supper. Instead I had to go down and meet the jokers we came with and wipe all of that "awe" off my face in case someone got suspicious. Lord knows we can't be walking around with awe.

If they had caught me up there, they would have found me with my work shirt draped over my arm, sweating in my camisole and smiling. Smiling! It's all I need. Just a little mystery, a little adventure. Something to remind me I'm not in a box, doomed to suffer days upon days of repeated record playing and mask wearing.

If I could make a living off of living in amazement, my face dripping with awe...