Friday, February 24, 2017

February, So Far

We're nearly done with February. A lot has happened. My sister and her husband came to see us. The Kid sprouted five teeth in two weeks. The thermostat in the water heater failed, and the toilet boiled. We toured a cave. 

Some things have been fantastic, some ordinary, and some were downright scary (boiling toilet).

I've compiled a few photos from the month and stuck them below, in no particular order, and with minimal(ish) commentary. Enjoy. 

This is Koutouki cave. It's the only cave near Athens that has been set up for visitors. I'm trying to think of a less clumsy way to write that, but it's just not coming to me. 

The cave is a couple million years old, but was only discovered in the early 1900s, when a goat slipped through a teeny crack that looks like a blue smear in the photograph. The goat survived the fall, bouncing off roots, rocks, and whatever else was clinging to the cave walls. It landed in the cavern, and started yelling for its minders. They grabbed some ropes, lowered themselves into the cave, and now it's open for tourists!

The cave is on Mount Hymettus (or Ymittos or Hymettos or Imittos). It's a bit of a drive outside the city, but it's only 1 euro to tour. Children are free, and I almost was, too, because the guy thought I was a kid. Nice. It's open year-round for a few hours every day, except for Christmas, Easter, and maybe a few other major holidays. 

Here's the view from outside the cave. 

My sister, Anne, her husband, Brandon, and I went to the Peloponnese on a day trip. Of course we went to Nafplio, because of gelato. We stopped by the 1,000 stairs to Palamidi fortress. Anne and Brandon climbed part of the way up, and would have climbed the whole thing, but I was crotchety, and said we had to leave. If you look really closely at this blurry, blurry photo, you might be able to see Anne and brandon on the stairs. 

The air was terrible. This is my ritualistic Nafplio photo. Every time we go to Nafplio, I like to take a photo from this perspective. The air has never been this bad. It's been a cold winter, and people are burning things like crazy. 

The bad air made for blurry photos. That's right, I'm blaming the air, and not my poor phone camera, or my abilities as a photographer. In spite of the blur, this is a cute picture of Anne and Brandon. I miss them. Come back. 

Palamidi on the hill. 

I finally made it to Agia Filothei's church in Filothei. This was, possibly, connected by tunnel to the monastery I always photograph. I don't know for sure if that's true, but I'm running with it.

The old (I assume) church was carved into the hill. It had stone walls, and a tiny entrance. Anne called it a "grotto."

The entrance to the grotto is behind the gate, through the arched, brick doorway. 

This is the new (again, I have no idea and am making wild assumptions) church on the site. Look at the pretty Filothei icon underneath the bell. 

I purchased these gnarly carrots at laiki. They're one of the coolest things I've ever seen. Well, top 50, for sure. 

It's strawberry time. 

Bella and I went for an evening stroll. The moonlight through the olive trees stained the sidewalk in intricate, lacy patterns. It was after I took the photo that I saw the streetlight. Ding dong. 

Somebody slammed into a recycling bin with their car, and left the shattered remnants behind. We stumbled upon the garbage carnage, and I found this. I'd recognize that face anywhere. I hope that someday, I'll be able to feel what it's like to be so happy that my joy is palpable even through a photograph in a foreign newspaper that's been violently displaced from the bin where it was trashed. 

We went to Sounio during Anne and Brandon's visit. It was even windier than usual. The wind ripped all the tears out of my eyes, aggressively. 

Temple of Poseidon on an impressive, windy day. 

We also went to our favorite beach in Sounio. It's much more pleasant when it's warm, but that view...

Anne and Brandon helped me make bagels from a New York Times recipe. They were fabulous. 

Anne also helped me make Valentine's cookies, a few days after Valentine's Day. The frosting is hers. To answer your question, yes. They were as good as they look. 

A touch of realism. I am not superwoman. I have a messy house. I watch a lot of Netflix. 

Bella was thrilled to have Anne and Brandon in the house. She was really bummed when they left. She keeps running into their room to see if they'd reappeared. They haven't. 

Speaking of tourism, Anne and Brandon, The Kid, Phil, and I went to Crete last weekend. It is, without a doubt, my favorite place in Greece. I took a lot of photos, and will share them with you soon.

On that tantalizing note, have a great weekend!

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