Reflecting on the trip so far.

Karpathian basil, which smells WAY more basil-y than any basil we have smelled before.

Karpathian basil, which smells WAY more basil-y than any basil we have smelled before.

Today marks the start of week four of our trip. We are still on Karpathos, where we have been since Sept. 25. We fly from Karpathos to Athens on Oct. 4th, and after a few days in Athens we plan to head north into either Bulgaria or Macedonia.

Although there was a stormy two day period on Karpathos last weekend, since Monday the weather here has been amazing–mid-70s, perfectly clear blue skies, and a slight breeziness that makes the sea shimmer and highlights the myriad blues and greens of the water.

Sweet looking donkey near Olympos.

Sweet looking donkey near Olympos.

Swimming on the beaches of Karpathos has been incredible. It had been decades since I swam in ocean water, and I had never before swam in a ocean other than the Pacific. While I am a dedicated West Coast lady when it comes to many things, I admit I prefer swimming in the Aegean Sea to the ocean back home.

Really cute, tiny eggplants that we saw in the town of Diafani.

Really cute, tiny eggplants that we saw in the town of Diafani.

Other than swimming, we have spent much of our time driving around the island, and at this point feel quite familiar with most of the towns on Karpathos. Depending on what area of the island one goes to, the landscape can be either very rocky and dry, or more woodsy and green.

Bizarre looking flowers near where we had lunch in Diafani.  Anyone know what plant this is??

Bizarre looking flowers near where we had lunch in Diafani. Anyone know what plant this is??

Although I don’t have a distinct ‘favorite’ place on Karpathos, the towns of Pigadia, Mesochori and Diafani are places I have particularly enjoyed. I should also report for the ‘foodies’ following this blog that all the meals we have had on Karpathos have been pretty amazing. In addition to enjoying several meals of calamari (cooked in a variety of ways), I have become a huge fan of Karpathian Salad, which is sort of a Greek riff on Salad Nicoise. Delicious!

Goat leading dog, or dog herding goat?  Either way, they seemed to know where they were going...

Goat leading dog, or dog herding goat? Either way, they seemed to know where they were going…

As our time on Karpathos draws to what feels like a graceful close, Thomas and I are in agreement that staying in one place for longer stretch of days has had some really lovely benefits. We got to know the family that runs the apartment building where we are staying, and they are lovely, exhuberant hosts. The matriarch of the family, Margareta, who appears to be in her 70s, has taught us a number of Greek words and phrases, and has also kept us in a seemingly endless stream of Greek sweets, which I never seem to tire of–every cookie, biscuit, and honey-soaked pastry has been enjoyed!

Found this postcard of a naked man eating grapes in front of a boat.  I haven't seen the live version yet...

Found this postcard of a naked man eating grapes in front of a boat. I haven’t seen the live version yet…

What else to share? I am writing this post while sitting at a cafe in the Pigadia harbor and sipping an espresso. Thomas is back at the apartment taking a nap. Can I get a bit tender-hearted (melancholy, reflective, emotional, etc..) for a moment? Since we left Bellingham at the end of July, I have become increasingly appreciative of what a luxury it is to be able to just ‘be’ in the world without the responsibilities of work and home-ownership. And since starting our Europe trip, I have had more and more frequent moments when I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for being able to take this trip before starting our Peace Corps service. Being farther down the path of this next chapter in our life also makes me realize how fortunate we are to have family and friends who are supportive of our decision to leave what we know and are comfortable with in order to be challenged in new ways. And I am especially appreciative for my Mom these days. Thank you, thank you, Mom!  Truly, thank you, for letting us stay in your home, for taking on caring for Ginger, and for your endlessly enthusiastic support of our decision to do Peace Corps service.

Church in Olympos, where the women wear traditional dress and really want to sell you Karpathian-made  products.

Church in Olympos, where the women wear traditional dress and really want to sell you Karpathian-made products like soap, pasta, and leather Hello Kitty purses.

With that, I shall end this post. It is now 5pm, and I have been sitting here far too long given I only had espresso. So I shall pay my check and head back to see how Thomas is doing. Until next time, dear friends!

Erika

  2 comments for “Reflecting on the trip so far.

  1. October 2, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Sweet Erika,
    Thank you for your kind words and gratitude. I return it ten-fold. I have loved being included in this wonderful journey with you and Tom. Having you both in my house was a joy and will be again when you return. And Ginger is truly a bright spirit in my life and wherever she goes. We have gotten quite cozy in our routines and I think she will have some regular places to visit with seniors who can appreciate her sweet soul.

    Many people think they want to do what you did but don’t for myriad reasons. It is a bold and uncertain choice to leave your old life behind – jobs, house and all the stuff and the people you love – and there are no guarantees for how it will turn out.

    What is clear is that you will be transformed by the decision and your life will unfold differently than you can imagine.

    Enjoy your last day on Karpathos – it sounds truly idyllic. I love your posts and share them with others who ask about you.

    Love you forever,

    Mom

  2. Chava Monastersky
    October 2, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Gratitude…the heart of prayer. You are living a life of prayer without praying. Shana Tova and love to you both, Chava

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