Tag Archive: Nostalgia



I have visited Greece twice but I missed the famous islands the first time around.  Just the same, that first visit got me all worked up in anticipation of the historical landmarks to be found in Athens, Delphi , Mycenea, Thessalonika.  The first time around, the highlights of my trip were decidedly Athens and Meteora.  The second time around,  the highlights were the islands of Santorini, Rhodes, Patmos and Crete.   Mykonos?  Well, yeah, it is one party island much like our Boracay (with windmills painted blue and white) but it pales in culture and aesthetics compared to the other islands.

Acropolis

There  is a day for the capital’s classical sights.  The Parthenon atop the Acropolis.  Straight out of a history book,  here I am staring at the crowning glory of all of Greece.  Ancient civilization.  The Erechtheum with its Port of Maidens. The beautifully preserved Theseum, Roman Temple of Zeus, Theater of Dionysus and the Agora where Socrates taught. Vistas of the Royal Palace and various buildings in the city contrast with the remains of a glorious past.  I was so hyped the whole morning. Knowing these colossal structures stood long before the birth of Jesus!  The books available at the Museum have photos of the remaining buildings with transparent overlay showing how the buildings must have looked before.  Amazing.  The Statue of Athena stood tall in the transparencies.  You just have to give it to the Greeks for giving birth to this civilization.  No wonder their tourism industry is flourishing.  Some inheritance they got!  In a way, I was afraid some of the structures may not  last long enough for future generations. At the time, I silently wished a second visit is made possible where these structures still remain. (Wish granted. Amen )  I also made another prayer that I continue to enjoy good health to be able to sustain my penchant for these adventures. (Another answered prayer. Amen)  Looking around,  I found quite a number of senior tourists experiencing difficulties scaling the steps.   Some gave up and started their descent.  A pity.  The highlight of the Parthenon visit lies at the top,  with the added bonus of a panoramic view of the sprawling metropolis. I remember sipping a cup of coffee in the Museum cafe, seeing how majestic the Acropolis looked from afar.  It is a no-brainer that the early Greeks set up the seat of their government on top of this mountain.  There was no way any army can attack from any side without being watched!

Meteora Rocks!


And then, there’s Meteora.  Oh, how I adore this place.  One can’t help communing with Nature in this open air museum.   Monasteries atop the rocks!  I cannot even imagine how those monks built these convents and monasteries atop these rocks.  Nor how the monks were put in cage-like nets to be pulled by fellow-monks atop the rocks to reach the monasteries.  I remember the first time I visited I stayed overnight in the nearby town of Kalambaka .  On a free afternoon,  I strolled around the town to find many friendly Greek men and women, always ready to offer you tea or if you’re lucky, ouzo.   Now ouzo is the equivalent of our “lambanog” in the provinces.  And much like the local folks back home,  the people here seem ready to pick up a conversation and idle the rest of the afternoon away, while nibbling on olives!

Not much has changed the second time I visited Meteora.  Yet, those stairs we scaled going up a number of monasteries seem more steep now.  That is the difference 13 years make!  Same vision,  weaker knees. Same enthusiasm,  not the same energy.  This discovery thus compels me never to stop making adventures while you still can.   It’s my personal mantra.  I dare you to prove me wrong! (Note: the last 2 photos are not mine.  My rusty P&S won’t do justice to the awesome views in Metereora. )

Sequel would be on the islands of Greece.  Soon………….

More photos to be found here:

No Senior Moments, I remember Greece 1996

Revisiting Meteora

Europe: Then And Now


Back in 1986,  I traveled to Europe for the first time. Alone.  At the time, I was still smoking and it was sheer torture to be in flight or around airports and train stations all of 21 hours.  Every chance I got, I filled my lungs with nicotine like it was the last stick I’d smoke.  I read the instructions over and over, matching them with the signages I passed, hoping I’d find my way to Bradford, England without a hitch.

 

 

The London stopover ended with my safe landing in Heathrow airport.  From there,  I took the train for Bradford.  Not an hour or two to check out the London sights  That had to wait for much later. I was expected for dinner somewhere within the halls of Bradford University.  From the tropics,  I had my first taste of snow when I got out of the train station in Bradford.  I wanted to run and throw my first snowball.  That had to wait too.  At the time, I was simply too eager to get inside Charles Morris Hall and sit by the fire to warm my fingers which were threatening to freeze.   As I “thawed”,  I met my new friends from Saudi Arabia, Italy, Finland, Brazil, Ethiopia, Burma, Solomon Islands, Iran, Nigeria, Sudan,  Poland, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Cyprus.  I have lost touch with all of them.  Hopefully, with this blog I can find some with greying hair but with the same smiles I still fondly remember.  These friends introduced me to varied flavors of the Orient, African, Middle East and Western cuisine:  from the Indian tandoori to the Italian pasta (back then, I only knew the spaghetti with meatballs), to Sudanese cabbage with rice stuffing yummy dish, to Brazilian beans and more beans!  Oh my,  too much beans.  Where are you guys?  Zeze, Raoul,  Rebecca, Lita,  Salik, etc.

 

 

I nearly cried when I saw Buckingham Palace.  I saw Big Ben at sunrise and sunset with coffee in a paper cup ,  seated on a bench somewhere. Always, I would be found reviewing a map.  I would imagine  myself taking the “Tube” as Londoners call their subway,  and visiting the popular London sights.  I also imagined which subways to take to go to the West End to watch Les Miserables and how to find my way back to our hotel.  When I crossed the English channel to go to Paris for the first time,  I was dripping with excitement.  Eiffel Tower was not really much to see the first time i saw it.  I was more awed by the Champ Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe.  By the time I reached Italy,  I could hardly sleep ……… spending my nights planning on how the next day would be spent.  There was just so much to see and so much food to try. I was young then,  and my taste buds were still waiting to discover new cuisine. I can relate to Peter Mayle’s first adventure with  French food.  Even freshly baked bread was new to me then.  I discovered wine and cheese for the first time too.  I even learned which wine glass is for what……..a far cry from those days when my wine glass was good for any wine, red or white , sparkling or not.  More than that,  I discovered what life is all about.  I turned many pages since then.  And my life, as a book,  now counts many chapters and sequels.

 

 

I visited the same sights over and over again. I worked, and worked hard. I saved, and saved good.  I traveled,  and savored every minute.   Through the years I have taken pictures of some favorite sights and found how they now compare.  I will throw in more recent pictures here from time to time , if only to lay down a better comparison between then and now.  The unwanted pounds. The unwelcome lines.  But who cares?

 

Check out the photos and see for yourself.

 

[Read also my TravelBlog site.  ]