Something happens when I go to Greece.
The minute I step foot on its ancient land, I feel like my soul has returned home.
It’s as though I experience a mass physical shift in my entire being. Like my body is responding to the imprinted familiarity of returning to its roots. Every single sense suddenly becomes sharpened. I take in my surrounds with a different perspective. Even my heart feels like it’s beating harder.
The warmth in the air, the language of the people around me, the sun on my skin…it all serves to ignite a kind of internal awakening. There is no other country on this earth that fuels me in quite the same way. It’s as though there is a pulse to the land that beats to the same rhythm I do. There’s an affinity with oneanother. Over the years of exploring its earth, we’ve so innately become a part of eachother’s story.
What does Greece evoke for me…?
Memories of honey-coloured light at sunset. The earth glazed in the warmest glow…the tinkering of bells as a herd of sheep laboriously take to the fields for a late-afternoon graze. An afternoon siesta, the entire village asleep as the heat of the day reaches its zenith. Climbing rocks and diving off platforms into deep blue waters…swimming in coves only accessible by boat. No other inhabitants but for the occasional stray goat, curious at us onlookers. Getting lost in a maze of cobblestone streets and whitewashed walls. Being made to feel like royalty in the welcoming embrace of strangers, whose willingness to express their philoxenia always involves the invitation to share a feast…The unbridled emotion that stirs the heart and makes the soul sing, tossing off your shoes, throwing caution to the wind and saluting the elements in a dance that inspires the passion of Zorba…
There are sentiments that Greece has left me with that will forever remain in my heart. They embody the soul of its people and the heartbeat of the country.
The final parting words of the passport officer handing back my documents for departure out of Athens were some of the most moving that I had ever experienced in my life…A simple Adio reverberated through every cell in my body. As though those farewelling words summarised the entire 3 months of my travels through the country. Sealing with it my experiences, memories and nostalgia for what I was leaving behind…In that fleeting exchange I felt the closest I’d ever come to understanding the true essence and richness of the Greek language and its all encompassing poetic beauty…
Happy travels…Paula x