Greece, Travel and Adventure

Paradise Island

I was quite refreshed on Wednesday after my waterfall adventures. I was certainly glad my batteries were fully charged when I arrived at the course and found out that we had 17 people signed up for our weekly Stableford– double the attendance from last week! The tournament was in my hands from start to finish. I printed the score cards, deliberated over the pairings, fixed up the carts (ack! buggies. I can never get that right) with their respective golf clubs, greeted the guests, then ran to the first tee to fill the role of the Starter.

Now, I’ve played in tournaments all my life. I’ve heard dozens of Starters announce, “Next on the teebox: Debby Bozeoinsdofns;d” (aka some atrocious pronunciation of my last name). But last week, my first time running the event, I completely botched it.


“Welcome ladies and gentleman, to our third weekly Stableford golf tournament!”

(Polite applause)


(Awkward pause)

“Who wants to go first?”


Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad. But I really did forget about half the rules I was supposed to share and after the first group teed off I said, “Oops! Show each other what golf ball you’re playing…” This week, I was much more prepared. I printed Local Rules sheets and everything. We had a great group of men, women, and juniors from all over the world: Austria, Ireland, Germany, the UK, some locals and even one Greek-American! The tournament was a hit and everyone went home happy. Including myself.

The next day (Thursday), I held my first training session for the Associates. We had about twelve resort employees show up, dressed in polos and ready for their first time on the golf course. The entire raquet academy came to try it out and they told me that they were going to start the same type of program (free clinics for Associates) at the tennis facility! Always fun to start a trend.

That night, Nicky had a nice group of people up to his house for a barbeque. He currently rents a beautiful old Greek home, complete with olive trees, chickens, and a view of the sea. We cooked until late in the night and ate outside. While I was chatting with another American who is working over at the new Bay Course, my phone rang.

“Debby!” I heard Rima say. “Where are you?”

“I’m at a barbeque at my boss’ house! Why?”

“We’re coming to pick you up. We’re going to Athens tonight!” We both had the day off on Friday, so we’d been trying to plan something fun. But Athens?

“Rima… Not tonight. This dinner will probably go pretty late. And who is ‘we’?”

“Tony and Georgios! Okay we will take the boat tomorrow instead. They want to take us to the island of Kefalonia.”

I laughed and said okay, wondering what new adventures awaited us…

We got an early start the next morning. Georgios said he would pick us up at 7:00am, so Rima and I were up trying on “boat outfits” while the sun was rising. We gave up trying to find the perfect clothes (I was just happy to put my Sperry’s to good use) and finished packing just as the call came saying that they were out front. We went outside to find our first surprise of the day: a beautiful, black Mercedes Benz convertible with dark red leather seats. Talk about traveling Greece in style!

The only unfortunate bit was that it was too windy to take the boat out. But that wasn’t going to stop us from going to the island! We drove up the coast for two hours, top down, the wind whipping our hair. I really hadn’t seen much of the Peleponesse before. The landscape consisted of rolling hills covered in olive groves and forests. The sea was visible on our lefthand side for most of the journey. We stopped for Frappes in one of the little towns we drove through. The coffee shop was right next to the bank, and dozens of old men huddled together, talking quietly in the early morning air as they waited for their pension checks. Not sure they’ll be getting many more of those…

At last, we reached the ferry. After parking the car middecks, we headed up top for a sea view. The water was about as “Greek blue” as you could imagine. The ferry rolled out stark white crests from the prow and the sun’s rays played tricks on the water. Georgios and Tony made great company, too. As travel agents, they know the business world but also have excellent public relations skills. And they have lots of connections. Georgios called his friend, Spiros, who ran one of the big hotels on the island… and who also happened to be from Chicago! We made plans to meet for lunch.

Our ferry dwarfed the small port where we docked. The surrounding town was tiny, just a few houses and villas perched on the sides of the hill. The island was quite large, but still only had one main road system running along the coast. We drove north. Georgios, our driver for the trip, refused to inform us of our destination. The surprise was rather amazing, though. Melissani Lake, also known as the Cave of the Nymphs, is unlike any body of water I had ever seen. We purchased tickets above, then walked down a steep, dark tunnel. The darkness created a brilliant contrast with the crystal blue water at the end of the passage. We stepped down onto the platform and waited as one of the rowboats unloaded its passengers. We hopped on board and our steersman guided us through the underground lake. The stalagtites hanging above our heads were warped and twisted, and bats roamed the uppermost regions. The water was absolutely blue; two small silver fish swam beside our boat and I thought “what a lovely fishbowl this is for them”.

The rest of the day was spent at the beach. Not just one beach, but two amazingly scenic spots we found along the way. We met Spiros at a taverna for lunch and alternated between swimming and eating. The second beach was just past the spot where the movie Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was filmed, starring Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz. The beach was nestled in a cove between two big, tree-covered hills. The water was choppy from the wind and kept most of the locals out of the water. I’ve been growing a pair of fins during my stay here in Greece, I think. I swam out to a far buoys, grabbing the bright orange bob and to catch my breath. That was my favorite view of the day: out in the open water, far enough that the shoreline was blurry. The sky filled with speeding clouds, casting shadows across the hills (that looked more like mountains from my lowly location). I will never forget the panorama.

The drive home seemed twice as fast as before. We watched the stars come out one by one. Dinner was a late-night feast at a fish taverna close to home. We met some friends of Tony who were in town for the weekend. We laughed  and talked late into the night, before finally getting dropped off at home. Rima and I helped each other up the stairs and collapsed in our beds, still smiling deliriously. Perhaps the perfect day in Greece?

But who knows what tomorrow brings…


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