We learned about the Panama Canal, back in our school days, and along with the significance of establishing a new trade route, I always thought it was an exotic place to visit. It did not disappoint when we took off for a fifteen-day cruise and saw firsthand what it looked like and how it functions. Retirement is looking better and better every day!
Exploring the path to retirement...finding our way
to a new way of living with purpose, meaning and joy.
Helene & Zaf
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Aleko lives in Greece and is a fellow Retire-Ager. He and his wife have a home in Athens and a home in Nafpaktos. We have visited them several times over the past eleven years and this time, since Zaf and I are retired, we talked to him about his own retirement.
We moved into our new home back in September and spent a couple of weeks opening boxes that were placed all over the house. Keeping track of the box cutter was a chore! It was, nine out of ten times, forgotten under the endless wrapping paper and a couple of times we thought it was thrown away as we bagged it all up. I can’t begin to tell you how high the empty boxes were – they were a bigger mess when flat than when they were full.
A five-hour drive north from Athens is the city of Thessaloniki. We purposefully set out on a Sunday morning, for our first time there this past summer, when traffic is typically minimal and coupled with the lock-down restrictions for citizens, who are not permitted to go from one province to another, the road was practically empty. With two pit stops along the way, we arrived in the late afternoon.
The strength of any country is its people. The ability and stamina to carry on is inherited in the Greeks. Evident in their struggles to overthrow invading armies, occupation of foreign powers, wars, economic turndowns, and day to day living that is simply called life.
Tavernas and Kafeneeos are the center of Greek life. They are embedded in Greek culture and history.
This is where people meet for a quick cup of kafe or to linger over a meal. No matter how small a village is, there is always a taverna or two. They date back to ancient times when men would sit and philosophize about life, politics, weather, and the like. In many places, especially in rural areas, rooms are attached for those who don’t want to venture far from the village square.
When we arrived in Athens, we were eager to have Greek food…alas, the city was in lock-down and the only thing we could do was get it delivered. If we ventured out, it was take-away. Delicious nevertheless, but the menu options were limited.
On our recent retirement journey throughout Greece, we enjoyed delicious meals everywhere we visited. The freshness of the food did not surprise us. Food to table is how the Greeks have eaten since the beginning of time. Many take their home-grown products to the open-air markets (the tomatoes are outstanding!), which take place in almost every city and town, and some grow them for their own use!
Throughout our travels we made some stops at places – basically a night out, a drive through or a few days stay while we were waiting to fly home. These come to mind as I reflect back to our journey throughout Greece. The best part of being there were the family members we visited with and sharing the experience.