Since I last wrote I have come half way across the pond and find myself in Greece, half my homeland. I was curious and excited to be here as on my last visit, the effects of the GFC were very stark. The sun is shining, the Greeks, in their inimitable style blame all their ills on Merkel and life seems to be a little busier, a little brighter and all Greek women are out doing what they love best, buying another pair of shoes while sipping the traditional and ubiquitous Iced Coffee. Summer is almost here and there is no further proof of what it means then this.
Hammocks and a bit of the flag to make sure we have our priorities in the right place-
Joking aside when you wake up to this view you realise how this city will always survive as it is founded in ancient history and homage is due to all the ancient Greeks who offered the world their view of a democratic country.
I want to make sure I never lose sight of that view and while it may have permutations and some mutations I would never like to try it differently. Greeks tried it and the military were evicted eventually but sadly Cyprus lost its wholeness in the process.
The Greek Parliament stands proud and today another Bailout has been granted. The Evzones outside draw the crowds to the Ministry of Silly walks. I need to find out why on earth they do this.
I wander through Syntagma Square looking nostalgically at the Hotel Grande Bretagne, my father's favourite hotel whenever he stayed in Athens. I take Ermou St, the pedestrianised road full of high street fashion houses and more shoe shops then a nation could ever want, and I realise that while they offer attractive and tasteful items, I have reached an age when another dress, pair of shoes or T shirts hold little appeal. I reach Kapnikarea church and walk all around this 11th Century icon of the Byzantine times and then I head to the flea market but not before buying a kilo of cherries for just Euros 2.
More about the flea market tomorrow - I leave you today staring at the ground, which you must do if ever you are here. It is not paved with gold but marble, black, white or streaked with grey, worn with the years, soft to the eye, warm to the toes, and witness to the wealth this nation once had.