donderdag 25 augustus 2016

So alone and so happy in Greece!

Hello from Greece! Kalimera!

A few days ago I arrived in Pythagorion on the Island Samos in Greece. I am here on my own. Many people thought that was 'courageous' or 'lonely'. Yes, it has been lonely sometimes, but I really love the privacy I have here and the freedom to do what I like whenever I feel like it. There are a lot of families and couples on holidays here. I observe them with interest and they observe me, pitying me or wondering why I am out dining alone. Sometimes they seem to admire me. Men look at me, probably wondering why a women is on her own or thinking I'm 'courageous'. I could be wrong, but they seem to admire me. They aren't judging me or looking down on me. They don't see me as a frightened little girl, but as an independent woman. I really like being on my own here. It feels very empowering.

The funny thing is.. I don't even feel that much on my own. There are so many people here enjoying Pythagorion that it feels like I'm always with people when I'm outside. When I go outside, I have breakfast and chat with the hotel staff. When I go to the beach, I take a chair next to someone else on his/her own and we maybe have a short conversation. When I go out for dinner I sit alone, but I'm surrounded by people and their conversations. I hear laughter, but also quarrels. I see people pretending to be someone else or fully in character with their spouses or friends or families.

And me? I don't have to be someone else. I don't have to pretend. I can just be ME, because I am on my own. This feels so great. I actually experience much less stress than at home. I feel relaxed and healthy here. My insecurities and anxieties are almost gone here. I have to do everything myself and I actually like doing everything myself. I chat with people on the streets, in the shops, on the beach, in the restaurant and in the hotel. I have to chat with people to get anything done. I cannot rely on anyone but myself, and that feels really good! It feels great to experience that I can do things on my own and it feels great to have so much time for myself.

What is great about Pythagorion? The great weather, all day all night. The relaxed atmosphere. The bars at night by the harbour. The beauty of the town, the mountains surrounding it, the harbour and the sea. The delicious Greek food for low prices. The people, who are very kind and friendly and who love to party themselves. The shops, with great buys for little money. The bars at the harbour, so 'gezellig' in the evening. The bars have music and give you a real 'holiday' party feeling. The boats, inviting you for a cruise around the Island with a nice Greek dinner. And cats, cats, cats! There are so many cats here! They are wild cats. Dangerous and skinny and often missing an ear or bruised. They aren't tame, sweet kitties. You can feed them, but you need to watch out, because I've been scratched a lot by cats demanding food and jumping on top of me to get it. These are wild animals. I've been coming here since I was a child and it has never disappointed me.

What did I do here? Tuesday morning I arrived. My hotel has the best location as it is situated at the harbour, so I can walk out of the hotel and be where I want to be. The staff is also very friendly. I was still feeling a little sick and was very tired so I slept during the afternoon. In the evening I unpacked my suitcase and I had a shower. After that I went to restaurant Elia at the harbour, where I learned that I will never order a tagliatelle with mushrooms in a non-Italian restaurant again. After that I went back to my hotel and had a lovely banana split in their bar.

The next day I had breakfast at my hotel and took a stroll along the harbour. I checked out a modern museum at the harbour, which had an exposition on the refugee crisis in Samos. It was heartbreaking to see the pictures and hear the stories of people drowning or losing their families before reaching the Island, fearing ISIS but getting refused in Europe because of the fear of ISIS. Later I walked all the way up to a church, but was unsure whether I could come in, because Greek people want you to be covered up when you enter a church. I walked further and further, until I reached the beach. There I had lunch and sunbathed and had a swim. In the evening I wanted to have lunch at restaurant Aphrodite, but by mistake I sat down at taverna Maritsa. It turned out to be a good mistake, because the food was delicious and the people were friendly. I even fed a cat some steak. Late in the evening I visited some shops and bought myself a necklace.

Today it's Thursday. I'm planning on visiting the Archeological museum and planning some tours, so I can meet people. Maybe I'll visit the castle and the church today as well. I'm going to the beach to read and swim and in the evening I'll finally go to restaurant Aphrodite and I'll visit some more shops. I don't feel alone at all and it's actually great to walk around with no wifi. I can just enjoy myself here without worrying.

I was rather nervous about going to Pythagorion alone, but I realised here that you are alone for most of your life and that I am my own best friend.

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