I Know Those Songs, But I’ve Never Heard Them Before

The hands of the clock had ticked to well past 9:30, the sun was a distant memory, and Dan and I still sat at the restaurant, lingering over our food, and just allowing ourselves to be here, in this moment, with the call of sleep whispering in our ears.

The men smoking and singing at a table near the center of the tent were an integral part of the atmosphere, strumming their guitars and mandolins as they drank the evening away. I couldn’t help but wonder if they were here on Friday nights before COVID hit, and before the world changed. I wonder if these tables used to be filled with tourists rather than old Greek men.

But we were here now, over 5,000 miles from home, overfed and underslept, in Nafplio,

I had been traveling almost 24 hours at this point and I was spent. I flew to the northeast out of Detroit yesterday on a big Delta A350.

I used miles for this trip so got to fly in the front of the plane with a lovely seat that converts into a bed, and a lovely meal of lamb shank and root vegetables.

I may make those vegetables for Thanksgiving. They were that good.

I slept on the way to Amsterdam. And I dozed in the airport in there.

I even slept on the flight to Athens, after a decent boxed lunch.

At the Athens airport I met up with Dan and we clambered into the little rental car, a small BMW without a handle to open the trunk (I use the rear window wiper for this), and with a gimpy right front tire. I am allotted little time for this journey, so rather than tarry in town, we set out immediately on a 2 hour drive out of Attica and toward the Peloponnesian Peninsula and Western Greece. I had told the proprietress we would arrive at 7:30 or 8 pm, and I was right. Fortunately the nighttime drive along unlit country roads was unremarkable

We deposited our bags and stepped into the late-evening streets of Nafplio, a beautiful old tourist town that stands like a Mediterranean fantasy on the shores of the Aegean Sea. It isn’t crowded on a November evening in the time of COVID, and I’m enjoying that, even if the local vendors and restauranteurs certainly aren’t.

And so we eventually found dinner, along the waterfront, where plenty of tables were open. I was worried it would be a tourist trap, but there were plenty of locals, and it was great!

Butterblogger is back, my friends. I’m in the land of my grandfather, where the songs of old men singing at a table resonate with my soul.

And I couldn’t be happier.

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