Even though we were first-timers to Greece, I can’t really say that there were any surprises on this stop. It looked like all the pictures we had ever seen of any one of the Greek Islands, only much, much more spectacular. Turquoise waters splashing up against rocky coves, brilliantly colored bougainvillea cascading down rugged cliffs, charming white cottages surrounded by scarlet roses, and fascinating Byzantine churches seemingly dotting every corner. It couldn’t have been more beautiful and, well, Greek! Falling on our seventh day of cruising, this was another stunning version of Mediterranean wonder for us to explore for a few short hours; and, rather than spend the time trying to grasp complicated Greek myths and Orthodox mysteries while tromping around with a historical docent, we chose the excursion that included drinking, folk dancing, and fun. Yep. I was not about to visit Greece and not be able to shout, OOPA!, at least once while throwing back an ouzo. Let the games begin!
But first we were treated to a comfortable, panoramic trip for about 45 minutes while our bus was chugging and churning up mountainsides and around curved switchbacks. That delivered us to our first stop which was a centuries old but still thriving monastery, giving us just enough of a glimpse and historical perspective to fulfill that feeling of “Hey, we’re in Greece, so we really need to learn something about ancient times, right?” so that we could then continue on to the really fun part. It also gave us a hoped-for opportunity to light a memory candle in an incredibly ornate golden chapel which we dedicated to our recently deceased dear Greek friend, Marina, a truly joyful soul who was an embodiment of the spirit of beautiful, lively Greeks everywhere. She often spoke to us about her time and family in Greece, so I know she was smiling down during our visit to her homeland and urging us to push on to the dance floor that she loved as much as us!
And just like that the folk dancers appeared, so husband and I were happy to be the first on the dance floor to join in on the ‘hasapiko’, which is the traditional Greek line dance that many people simply refer to as ‘Zorba’ style. (Editor’s Note: I don’t think that’s technically correct, but when the ouzo is flowing. . .). Well, what else can I say but. . .It. Was. Fun. And while neither husband nor I were dipping as low as our partners on the dance floor (do they even have knees?) we did manage to follow the line leader and swing and slap and dip (partially) and live in our own version of a Zorba-the-Greek moment. It was short lived, but memories and photos last forever. (Regrettably, no one snatched a video so ‘note to self’ about future once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Or not, because maybe that whole video thing is over-rated anyway? Seriously, how many friends want to see those things?)