Our dream of being in Greece on March 25th, 2021 came true as we celebrated the 200th anniversary of Greece’s independence from the Ottoman Empire. While not being able to be at the very spot of the parade and presentations due to covid restrictions, we were allowed to visit there later in the day so we can touch history.
Television and Social Media has shown us how this day is being celebrated throughout the world – the blue and white lights of Greece have lit up the skies! The key speakers from representatives of various countries – Britain, France, etc. – all spoke of how bravely the Greeks fought when the spark of the revolution took hold from a small town that spread rapidly throughout the country; how determined they were to rid themselves of the hold of occupation by a foreign army; how men, women and children stood up to an enemy in their midst for over 400 years.
It was time to take back their country and history was made with every battle won until Greece was free.
We stood amongst the flags as the national anthem was played and felt a tug in our hearts that echoed back to our ancestors with whom we share DNA. Everything we went through from all the craziness of sorting and packing, selling our home and cars, divesting ourselves of business interests, paring down our possessions, etc. was worth this very moment in our own history of being here, on Greek soil, on the day of Independence 2021.
All of Hellas
We are free to roam around the country – Greece = Hellas – because our fore fathers and mothers rose up and took back their land as they called out “Freedom or Death”.
Athens is filled with history everywhere we go and we relish every corner we turn. In just a few days of being here, we have re-familiarized ourselves with the streets, the squares, the sites we have seen before. It says a lot when we know which street to take to get to any destination. It is perhaps innate.
The people here are warm and hospitable. They greet us everywhere we go and once they find out that we are ethnically Greek, the cheers go up and we start much rapid talking in Greek! We are at home 6000 miles away from home.
In a few days we are off to Thessaloniki, the 2nd biggest city in Greece and where Zaf’s family comes from. It is about a 5 hour drive, due north. About half way up we drive past Lamia, where I was born. We don ‘t stop there this time as we plan to return to that area and go higher into the mountains where the villages of my parents are located deep in the wooded areas in all their splendor.
The call of freedom is the core of retirement. Our days are our own; we do, we go, we sit, we nap, we cook, we eat, we bike, we dance, we play cars, we golf, we whatever! Zaf and I feel blessed as our plans fell into place and we are now at the start of our retirement exploration. We enjoy sharing it with and hope to hear from you as well Leave your comments and tell us your story. Retire well, Helene
Photograph of Helene and Zaf on Constitution Square among the 200 Flags of Greek Freedom From the Personal Collection of Helene and Zaf