Between our time in Crete, Naxos, Santorini, and Athens we have been in Greece for about six wonderful weeks. In spite of our pickpocket experience we have really grown to love the country, culture and people. Especially the people. A friend of mine back home said it is important to have your own personal Greek when visiting Athens, and we have ours! Thank you Spyros! Some of you have heard about Spyros, but here is the full story.
Back in December our housing plans for Athens fell through and we had to begin anew. We searched a site called sabbaticalhomes.com and got in touch with Spyros who advertised a home for rent in Marathon. Renting his place looked hopeful. But after a few initial emails it became apparent that there were problems with the place, and he informed us that it was not in good enough condition to be rented. He felt really bad about not being able to rent to us and offered to help us find a new place, even inviting us to stay with he and his parents. We eventually found another place to rent in Athens, but Spyros was adamant in his offers to help us out. He picked us up at the port at 7:00 am when we arrived and drove us to our apartment. For him this meant at least a two-hour round trip drive, and this for complete strangers. So we not only got to meet but he was also able to assure us that our place was safe. During our stay we met for coffee, dinner with his girlfriend Anya, and had him over for dinner at our apartment. The highlight of our time was being invited to lunch with his parents out in Marathon. They totally spoiled us was an incredible Greek feast and gifts for the kids. We visited the Marathon war memorial site and the beach where the Persians first landed. It was an incredible day. Incredible people.
I was struck by the similarity between Spyros and some of the Greek royalty from Homer’s Odyssey. In the story I am always inspired by how strangers are taken in, bathed, freshly dressed, finely dined, entertained, and then asked who they are. The Greeks like many other ancient cultures believed it was important that you treated strangers well because you never knew when one of the gods or an angel might take on human form and visit your home. We weren’t exactly angels, but Spyros and his family sure were! We were blessed by them and hope to pass the blessing on to other strangers we bump into along our journey and back at home. Thank you Spyros! Our door is always open for you and your family.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention this. Spyros is a Komboloi champion. Komboloi are Greek worry beads. Their origin is somewhat blurred but has some connection to rosary beads and mocking the ancient Ottoman Turk invaders. You’re just not Greek if you don’t have some in your hands. We all have our own sets and are learning how to fidget like a Greek. I have included the following video more for my own instruction but am sure that you will enjoy it as well.