Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Day At Platania

One of the things that I was most excited to see during our visit to Greece was the amazing beaches that I had heard so much about. Family members who had visited them before would tell me how breathtaking the water--so blue and clear. I also learned from them that we would have to travel up and over the mountain to see one of the most beautiful beaches. As I shared before I have a terrible fear of heights so the thoughts of actually traveling over the mountain down to the other side gave me the shivers. Imagine my relief when I learned that before we would visit that beach, we would first visit a beach called Platanidia. Platanidia was about a 1 1/2 hour drive along the coast. "Oh good" I remember thinking to myself. "I'll have one more day to prepare for the drive over the mountain". There is something to be said for the statement --Lost in translation---. Oh the drive started along the coast but before long I began to realize that we were headed up a huge mountain. All at once those darn butterflies of panic returned to my stomach. As we traveled, I had to close my eyes on several occasions. When I did take a peek the scenery was beautiful. Mountains lined with olive trees and here and there little houses tucked in. The prettiest little houses ever. Some with window boxes filled with red geraniums and others with pretty gardens. As we continued to travel higher and higher we came to a heard of mountain goats being shepherded by a herd dog. I could hardly believe my eyes.I just started to relax a bit when I heard Uncle Nestor, who was driving, say something about a short cut. We turned off of the main road and began to travel on this dirt/sand "road" with no guard rails. This was it. I was living my greatest fear. This was exactly what I had pictured the mountain trip to be. As we traveled now downhill, around curves, the edge of the road so close I could only do one thing--close my eyes tight hold on to the headrest in front of me and PRAY.

These pictures are complements of my sister-in-law, Stephanie. She was not afraid to look and got these wonderful shots.
When we finally reached the bottom it was truly amazing. The Aegean Sea was right there before my eyes at the foot of the mountain. The water was just as I had imagined--crystal clear and so calm.

We enjoyed the beach all morning. Floating in the water, laying in the sun, walking and collecting the prettiest little white almond shaped stones---it was like a dream. Once again beauty surrounded me. The open sea in front of me and the majestic mountains behind. Also located right on the beach was the quaintest little restaurant-- walls of stone with a clay roof. A patio lined with tables and cheery red and blue chairs inviting hungry swimmers to sit a while and enjoy a bite to eat.
We enjoyed the most delicious lunch. I selected pork with lemon sauce, Stephanie chose a pasta dish with meat sauce and the rest of the family had grilled fish (with the heads still attached). My son surprised me with his adventurous meal selection. I was having such a lovely day that I almost forgot about the trip home back up that mountain road. But there was still much of the afternoon left to enjoy so I put the thought out of my mind.
The time soon arrived to leave this beautiful site. We packed our things and with one last look I got into the van and prepared for the trip home. The van started up the mountain and with each shift of the gears the tires spun just a little on the sand beneath them. My mind began to swirl with nervous thoughts. As Greek songs played on the radio and everyone else seemed to be relaxed, I quietly prayed that we would make it safely to the top. As you may have already guessed, we did.
What an incredibly amazing day. I am so glad that I did not allow my fears to keep me from enjoying all that this day had for me.


Sherry said...

Fantastic Mimi!!! This is a little bit of spend time in the sea, to enjoy the view, to have lunch while looking out at that beautiful vista!!

I laughed at you closing your eyes on the "perilous" ride but you didn't say "stop" or "I can't" and with each of these hard things you've done, you've faced your fears and not allowed your fears to dominate and become phobias...and look what the reward was??? OMG -- simply breathtaking and worth every moment of your "fear".

Debbi said...

Mimi, I so enjoy following your Greece adventure. I chuckled at your hair raising ride on the dirt and sand road--humm I think Mimi must be a "city girl"!! Well girlfriend, keep the pics coming, we are all enjoying them!

hugs, Debbi

Bev said...

I'm glad your back...I kept checking to see if you had more your story telling! Can't wait to see more!

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