“Mister and Missus MacGyver? It’s very nice to have you on our tour today. Here are your badges. Please wear them at all times.” The tour guide smiles and turns back to the crowd of seniors milling about in the courtyard of the hotel. “Mister and Missus Bellagamba? Are you here?”
Bella and Wayne smile weakly at each other. “It feels weird being back on a bus tour.” Wayne winces as Bella pins on his tour badge. “Ouch! Hey, that’s me you’re pinning.”
Bella smiles. “Sorry. There’s so much of you!”
“Humph.” Wayne bristles. Bella pats him on the arm.
“Don’t worry. The more of you, the better, Honey.”
The MacGyvers look about the group assembled in the warm May sunshine of the hotel’s ample courtyard. A week in Greece wasn’t originally on their agenda until their river cruise booking fell through at the last minute.
“Who would have guessed a river could be closed for repairs?”
Bella nods. “It’s lucky for Francine and Marv that they booked the earlier cruise. I hear it was magnificent.”
Wayne chuckles. “I bet Marv had a good time. A river cruise through the vineyards of Germany. We should do that.”
“I thought we were all set on the Holland cruise. That’s supposed to be beautiful, and I’ve always wanted to see Amsterdam. I so love tulips.”
Wayne laughs. “You love cheese, Darling.”
The sound of a megaphone diverts their attention as the tour guide begins the task of herding everyone onto the three tour buses parked out front.
“Come on, Dear. It’s time to see the Parthenon.”
Wayne winks, “Or not.”
The couple laughs and climbs abroad the tour bus.
“One of the most popular river cruises in Europe is a themed voyage through Belgium and the Netherlands’ iconic tulips. Also known as “Dutch Waterways” cruises, these river excursions go through a variety of smaller rivers; the Dutch Waterways are simply the inland seas and canals along the route.” River Cruise Advisor
True to form, once the tour bus stops and disgorges the seniors at their destination, the MacGyvers slip away into the crowds. There are so many tours and so many seniors milling about that they are not immediately missed. “Far more people than in Berlin or Paris. Easier to get away.” Bella nods, and she and Wayne slip through the crowds.
“Come on, Bella. I need a real coffee. That stuff at the hotel made me sleepy.”
Bella laughs and takes Wayne’s hand. “Right? I could do with something stronger.”
The two curious travelers follow their noses down the side streets until they reach a local coffee shop or Kafenio. Bella’s flair for languages has always served them well – even during their trip to Minsk.
“Enan kafe parakalo” Bella smiles at the waiter, looking at Wayne. Bella raises her eyebrows and nods at Wayne. “Come on, Honey. Just like I told you.”
Wayne nervously looks at the waiter and smiles. “Enan elliniko gliko, parakalo.´A sweet coffee, please.”
“Your Greek is superb.” The waiter smiles and goes away to prepare their coffees. Wayne lets out a loud sigh. “Wow. That didn’t sound half bad, did it?”
“Greek coffee is rarely drunk with milk or cream. And even though it is similar to espresso in the way that it is served, you cannot drink Greek coffee standing up – it’s meant to be a relaxing, enjoyable experience. Sketos (Plain), Metrios (Medium) – this is probably the most popular way of drinking Greek coffee – Glikos (Sweet), and Variglikos (Very Sweet).” The Culture Trip
After their coffee, Wayne and Bella climb into a taxi. Wayne hands the driver a piece of paper torn from a travel guide. The driver nods and smiles back at Wayne, and the small car moves away from the curb.
“Where are we going, Wayne?”
“You just relax. I’m taking you out to the country.”
Thirty minutes later, the taxi stops near a half-ruined temple. A few tourists move around the site. Wayne pays the driver and begins walking away from the temple, holding his hand for his wife.
Wayne laughs. “Temples are for tourists. Follow me.” The two walk for fifteen minutes along a path and into the hills. “Here, this is what I wanted to show you.” Wayne waves his hand towards the craggy rocks and hills covered with wild, red poppies.
“Oh Wayne, this is beautiful.” Bella follows him as he walks. “I read that orchids come out in the winter, but wild tulips and poppies are abundant in the spring. Though, you’d need to visit Chios for the best views. That’s far to the west, I’m afraid.”
“This is beautiful. Thank you, Wayne. I never knew you were keen on flowers.”
Wayne laughs. “I’m not, but you are, and I know how much you love tulips.”
Bella nods. “Yes, but these beat temples and store-bought tulips, hands down!”
“Springtime in Greece lasts about two months (April and May) and somewhere around 5,000 different varieties of flowers bloom. The most beautiful being the red poppies that grow on the mountainsides of Greece. One of the best places to see these poppies is Peloponnese.” Goats on the Road
Hungry after wandering through the hills overlooking the sea, Wayne and Bella find a small cafe shaded by olive trees and make a pitstop.
“Olives contain no cholesterol, the average olive tree is about four hundred years old, and only two percent of olives make it to the table -- the rest become olive oil.” Bella looks over to Wayne and closes the guidebook. “Are you listening?”
Wayne nods and smiles, chewing slowly on the rich, dark, Kalamata olives between bites of crusty, white bread. “Always, Dear. These olives are so good. Much better than what we get at home. Almost as good as those olives we had in Tuscany. They tasted almost like butter.”
“This has been such a lovely day, Wayne. Thank you. I love getting away on our little getaways.” Bella laughs and raises her hand to the waiter. “Could we please have the check? Efcharisto.” The waiter smiles and goes back inside. “I wonder what happened to the tour group? I hope they aren’t looking for us.” Wayne and Bella laugh.
“The most characteristic and integral element of Greek cuisine is olive oil, which is used in most dishes. Greek olive oil and olives are world-renowned and there are many varieties to try. Tavernas and some restaurants are among the main venues serving traditional Greek dishes for locals and visitors. Some traditional Greek foods, especially souvlaki and pita with gyros are often served in street food style.” The Travel Insiders
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