July 1, 2012
|Dennis, George, Vivi & Thomas|
We have a 4.5-hour drive back to Athens today, and remembered the invitation from our new friends who live in Trikala. So, as we came back through Kalambaka we stopped by the Iridonas Guesthouse once again and Niki was so kind to check on the status of our luggage… but, still no luggage! Uuggghh!! So that meant shopping in Athens before we headed to the airport for Crete.
Niki also placed a call to George to see if they were available and if so, for directions on where to meet them in Trikala. With directions we headed to Trikala to meet him and his family at the train station. Fairly simple directions, but it seemed that we went quite a ways along the train track and still no site of the train station, so we decided to stop and ask where the train station was located.
We saw a fruit stand and figured the guy there would know where the station was. Yes, he did and he kindly directed us, but the cantaloupe smelled so good that I had to buy one… so, back to the car to get some Euros. He said one Euro, but then handed me what I thought were 3 cantaloupes and said 2 were on him. I may have paid for those two according to Greece prices, but I sure got a bargain for my American dollar.
As we got turned around and headed back to the same road we were on we saw Thomas and George at the corner waving at us… we only had a few feet to go and if we had not turned right for directions, we would have been there. I think they saw us turn and figured we would turn around and come back… but they did wait as I made my cantaloupe purchase and we then followed them to their house.
Their home was lovely and they were so nice. We received refreshing cold water and some delicious banana ice cream. Thomas told us the banana flavor was traditional --and it was really good. Dennis has been so lucky and I think he has managed to have some sort of ice cream every day thus far on our trip. Ice Cream is his favorite snack. Anyway, we chatted for quite a while with the family and just talked in general about our careers, travel, family and such.
We ended up at the computer and exchanged Facebook info, emails and such. Thomas seems to be the computer guru at their house; and they now have access to my blog that I told Thomas I would be posting the pictures of them/us on from the first evening at Iridonas Guesthouse.
While we were on the computer, their daughter, Maracci, came home and we had the chance to meet and visit with her. She was much more shy, but spoke English very well also.
George, Vivi, Thomas along with me and Dennis, all went out to see more of Trikala. We stopped at a castle restaurant, which I think was in old town area and had a cold drink.
|Waiting on our drinks|
|Almost ready to leave...|
|... but must have a pic on the Castle steps.|
We then made our way to Central Square where Thomas left to meet up with some of his friends.
|Central Square was beautiful|
|But it was sad to see all the Graffiti everywhere in Greece.|
I understand that the immigrants are doing it.
We can't even read some road signs because of the Graffiti.
Vivi went by the church for a short time and George took Dennis and me so we could get something to eat for dinner before we headed on to Athens. Vivi, joined us after dinner and Maracci and two of her friends, Juliet and Helen also joined us.
|Juliet and Maracci showed up first, whom both spoke English Excellent!|
|Left to Right: Juliet, Dennis, Deb, Maracci, Vivi|
|Later Helen showed up in back middle.|
So more pics of everyone... can you tell we love this family!
We truly had fun spending time with all of them!
Vivi had offered several times for us to spend the night rather than driving back to Athens, but we were flying to Crete the next day, so we wanted to be in Athens. We still had a 4 or 4.5-hour drive from Trikala to Athens and it was now 10:30 p.m.
They were so kind and meeting this family has certainly been the highlight on our trip! Vivi promised she would come to Oklahoma. Vivi, our home will be awaiting your arrival for you and your family!!
It really was sad to leave, but we did manage to get on the road and head through the mountains in the dark. Dennis said he was good for driving and I did close my eyes a time or two, but only for a few minutes at time. You know you’ve made new friends when they want to know you arrived at your destination safe. I did email Thomas to tell his parents we had made it to Athens! They were thankful for the email.
George, Vivi, Thomas, Maracci – we will remember you as friends for life! Meeting you has been a blessing in our life. We look forward to the day you arrive in Oklahoma and visit in our home. Thank you for everything! Love and Hugs to you all!
Continued: Passed by a "Jet Car"