On Monday morning, the radio starts playing our local NPR station at 5:55 a.m. I get out of bed, throw on sweats and a t-shirt and go downstairs to make coffee, so that my wife can get dressed, grab some coffee and head for the train. Then, I make a big frittata, which will provide three breakfasts for me and one for my wife during the week, and then eat, while reading The New York Times (print edition, assuming that it was delivered on time). Then I do Wordle and Chrono, take a shower and start my day in front of the computer, mixing work with not-work. There’s lunch, and snacks, and I make dinner. My wife gets home, we eat dinner and settle in for some TV before we head to bed.
Tuesday through Friday are all pretty similar, although we go to the gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays (me, in the morning; my wife after work), and my breakfasts change through the week. Sometimes I go to my office, but lately not so much. And on Wednesdays, we usually go out for dinner.
Weekends are a little different–we usually hit the gym early, then do errands or stuff around the house (and often watch soccer), before dinner, TV or a movie, and on Sundays, I play soccer in the morning, grab coffee with some of the players, come home, shower, and Zoom with our kids and my mother-in-law. There’s usually some sports to watch, and I almost always squeeze in a nap.
Yes, it’s a routine, but its one that I like and am comfortable with. And we do break it up with museums, shows, theater and visits with friends and family, but I don’t generally feel like that Nick Lowe song that I have quoted before, “The rut I was in had once been a groove.” Most of the time, it’s still a groove.
But it is good to break out of the routine, and traveling abroad is a serious break.
My wife and I went to Greece on our honeymoon in 1988, in August, when it was warm, so we visited Athens and did some day trips on the mainland, but also visited some islands: Crete, Mykonos (and Delos) and Santorini, and took a trip north to Thessaloniki, where the school that my wife had worked at (in the New York office) is located. Here we are, younger than both of our children are now:
We’ve always wanted to go back, but other things got in the way. We started planning a trip, and we hoped that our kids (and significant others) would join in, but then that pesky pandemic got in the way. Until now. Or technically about a week and a half from now.
Going to Greece in March has some pluses and minuses. It’s cheaper, less crowded and not as hot. But you also miss out on what makes Greece amazing during the summer–the light, the beaches, etc. So, we are going to Athens (with the requisite day trips to mainland sites), and Thessaloniki, to visit some of my wife’s friends, and see how the school has grown in the last 35 years. (That’s assuming that the train to Thessaloniki is running again by then, after the tragic crash last week, and that we feel comfortable riding it. Otherwise, we’re probably going to rent a car.) It’s also the longest trip that we’ve taken since the honeymoon.
And instead of it being a romantic honeymoon, it’s a big family event, with my daughter (but not her boyfriend), my mother, sister, her son and her boyfriend, and my brother joining in. Unfortunately, my son and daughter-in-law can’t make it. We’ve got two Airbnb’s in the same building, and it’s going to be fun. Just different fun. Family fun.
Also, planning this trip has been a nice break from the routine for the last few months–booking the trip, the tours, researching museums, sites, restaurants, etc. So, that’s a bonus.
My plan is to try to post here a few times during the trip with whatever random thoughts pop into my head, and some pictures.
The title of this piece is a translation of the first words of The Odyssey, the epic Homeric poem recounting the tale of Odysseus’ return home from the Trojan War. Others translate it a little differently, so here’s the original, if you want to take a shot at it: ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα. Odysseus’ journey took him ten years–a drop in the bucket compared to the almost 35 years that it will have taken us to return to Greece. And in his honor, our featured song is Cream’s “Tales of Brave Ulysses,” which is the Latin version of Odysseus. The song was inspired by trips Eric Clapton took to the Greek Islands, and features his first use of a a wah-wah pedal.