Here is another of my wonderful frescoes from Knossos; dolphins and fish at play. I remember seeing them leaping beside our steamer in 1980 when I was travelling from Santorini to Paros. It was cosmic!
I've always loved planning trips, but now with the internet ever so much more developed, planning is almost as good as being there. Tripadvisor.com is my new favorite website. You can look at all your possible hotels (multiple views in living color, some even show videos), and then you can read all the sweet and salty reviews of recent travelers. I was almost sold on one lovely little hotel that hangs off the cliff in Santorini. All the reviews said "heaven on earth" "delectable," "I never wanted to leave." The views were fabulous, the price was right, the rooms were adorable. But when one review said "Perfect! We didn't mind that we had to carry our luggage up 40 steps," I gave a disappointed sigh and decided to keep looking. Fortunately, there is no shortage of great views in Santorini.
Another thing about planning: it fired up all those memory neurons connected with my former trip, even before I pulled out the journal. Actually I stopped my 1980 diary suddenly, when Miriam arrived. After that, I was just too exhausted to continue my daily entries. Miriam Velez, my Little Sister in the Big Brother program, was 21 at the time, and on her junior year in Spain with Colgate University. We agreed to meet at the Athens airport, then go to Paros, Mykonos and Delos. Miriam had, and still has, a wand-like body, but at that time, she was subject to Spanish cuisine that she said was mandatory; her host family would be insulted if she didn't eat their 4-5 course meals daily. She arrived plump and brown, just at the time when the spring swimming began in the islands. I envied her her skin. She just got browner and healthier as I got redder and itchier. I remember hiking in our bathing suits up a steep hill in Paros, following the goats to find the best way. We arrived at an archaeological dig, still being worked, but currently unpopulated. We laughed about switching potsherds from one level to another, then watching archaeological journals for the confusion to commence.
Miriam was always a fussy eater. I think she survived her first 14 years on grilled cheese sandwiches and nary a salad passed her lips. "I hate that crunchy texture." I spent A LOT of time before she arrived, trying to scope out Greek foods she could tolerate. To my total surprise, she ate everything without complaint. An enduring memory: her sitting accross from me in a bar above the sea in Mykonos, eating octopus and drinking ouzo and looking as jaded as any jet-setter. Miriam is now a fellow therapist with her doctorate in psychology, a husband who has a doctorate in social work, and two beautiful adolescent daughters. I just spoke to her yesterday. She and her family just returned from Italy and Spain.