“How will we do this?” our friend asked, back at our place, as we were getting ready to head to Athens railway station, Larissa.
A few days earlier, shooting the breeze at a bar in Piraeus, just chilling out after work, my wife and I started to talk about where to go for the weekend.
We were joined by a friend that seemed quite interested in our getaway so, we asked her if she wanted to join us.
“Yes!”, she replied with enthusiasm.
After all, the three of us were writing a new chapter of our lives. We had just arrived in Greece…
You know the feeling, right?
You are at a place, one that you have never been before, and you feel like an explorer.
So, you are eager to learn all that you can about the country, its ideas and customs.
Furthermore, this would be our home from now on so, of course we were excited to learn more about the Hellenes.
There was one person that night though, that was slightly more thrilled than the others.
“Corinth!” I shouted.
“We should go to Corinth, one of the largest and most important cities of ancient Greece, that played a major role in the history of Western civilization!” I carried on with fervour.
The two ladies looked at me kind of funny for they just wanted to sort out the place where to spend the weekend.
They were not looking for a history lesson, especially not one at this late time of night and at a bar.
“I have a good feeling about Corinth. And I believe, if there is any a chance of doing that, we should take the train. What do you ladies have to say about that, what do your guts tell you?”
They smiled and agreed on Corinth (and the train!).
Houston, we have lift off!
“How will we do this?”, our friend asked, the next Saturday morning, on our way to Corinth.
She was referring to accommodation.
After all, we settled on the place and means of transport, but how about the place where we were going to spend the night?
“We’ll wing it!” I replied.
“When we decided to move to Greece, we also decided to cut back on everything that could remotely resemble planning.
Because I used to do that quite a lot! Obsessively!
I used to believe that, by making plans for everything, I would be in control.
I was wrong!
So, now we tend to follow our intuition more. As we did on the bar, remember?
We make up our mind, choose a heading, go for it and deal with whatever we have to deal with!”
The journey to Corinth by train is a short one (one and a half hour, more or less) but it is delightful.
Most of the time, the train tracks are close to the Aegean Sea and it conveys a feeling of tranquillity.
As soon as we arrived to our stop we were faced with a small challenge.
We still had to go a bit further to our destination, Ancient Corinth.
There are two settlements: Ancient Corinth and New Corinth.
A new settlement was founded in 1858 after an earthquake, 7 kilometres from the site of Ancient Corinth.
So, we were faced with one of two possible options: either we headed to Ancient Corinth (as intended) or we could go to New Corinth and work it out from there.
We got into a taxi and asked the driver for his opinion.
It so happened that he knew a hotel in Ancient Corinth, gave the owner a call and handed over the phone to me.
After ending the call (I was seating in the front of the car) I looked back and said: “Ladies, I feel we should head for New Corinth, spend the night there and, tomorrow morning, head for Ancient Corinth.”
We all agreed and had such an amazing time.
Once again, we followed our intuition.
Got to visit Loutraki, a seaside resort just 8 kilometres northeast of New Corinth, on foot.
Went over the Isthmus of Corinth, a narrow land bridge which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with the rest of the mainland of Greece.
We got the chance to meet a wonderful couple that runs a restaurant at New Corinth.
She is French and he is Greek and both share a profound love for Greek gastronomy.
We exchanged stories and ended up, after a lovely meal, with a wonderful surprise for dessert, later that night at dinner.
The next day we decided to carry on with the journey on foot and headed for Ancient Corinth after breakfast.
As soon as we got there, the main museum was closing but it did not matter.
We wondered around and were surround by History.
It felt like we were traveling back in time.
We had a field day and afterwards headed home, taking the train again.
That particular weekend we got to discover wonderful sites, meet wonderful people, strengthen our relationship and a friendship as well.
Like I said before, the stories I am telling related to both car and train trips, merely underlines the experiences, sets the background for the memories that stay with you through the course of time.
Life is not perfect and it seems it’s constantly taunting you with challenges.
It so happens we enjoy those challenges.
How we decide to handle them, accepting the consequences of our choices, it is relieving.
We each follow its own path.
The one my wife and I are taking allows us to create wonderful memories and, most important, we feel free.
The journey continues…