A passport stamp and a story

Posted 10/26/21

Our family recently returned from an extraordinary, eight-day excursion to Greece. If you’ve never been, it is the most beautiful place we’ve ever visited.

We’d initially been …

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A passport stamp and a story


Our family recently returned from an extraordinary, eight-day excursion to Greece. If you’ve never been, it is the most beautiful place we’ve ever visited.

We’d initially been scheduled to travel during the 2020 calendar year to commemorate our 30th wedding anniversary. Thanks to the pandemic, however, our itinerary was detailed temporarily — completing our travel one year later.

What we can attest is that Greece, with its 300 days of sunlight, has earned its claim as one of the sunniest places in the world. What’s interesting to note is that Greece hosts the best of both worlds — 80 percent of its 6,000 separate islands are surrounded by majestic mountains and 10,000 miles of pristine, turquoise coastlines.

Its dimensions from shore-to-shore measure slightly smaller than the state of Alabama.

Known as the birthplace of Western Civilization, the country hosted the world’s first Olympic games in central Athens. We enjoyed seeing the Olympic site still in existence.

Its most popular tourist destination, Santorini, remains an active volcano, its last documented eruption recorded during 1950. Home to the picturesque white buildings and churches, blue domed roofs and turquoise water, Santorini hosts black-, white- and red-sand beaches, the black deriving from its volcanic origin.

Aside from its magnificent, breathtaking views, we marveled at the hot pink, flowering bougainvilleas beautifully creeping along the stark white exteriors.

While abroad, we did discover a few things — whether from the locals’ folklore or firsthand experience. Can you imagine that high heels are forbidden in certain ancient, historical sites where archaeologists fear that heels could irreparably damage some of its centuries-old monuments?

My buddy, Beverly, even forewarned me of the strong electrical currents in Europe. It was only after my curling iron burned two inches of my hair that I discovered just how powerful those electrical receptacles really are. Thankfully, we’d packed a pair of scissors when I was forced to trim two inches of charred hair along the crown of my head. Yep.

What we discovered, too, was that those currents were so forceful, they melted and disintegrated the tip of my curling iron. That explains the stench of burning flesh, fingertips and hair inside our Crete hotel room.

We were also pleasantly surprised to find that the European country had plentiful amounts of Coke Zero on its islands. There was no need for me to carefully tuck nine Coke Zero plastic bottles aboard our cross-country flight.

What we found, however, is there is an apparent water shortage throughout the European country. That could explain why restauranteurs nearly scowl when asking for a cup of ice for those sometimes lukewarm Coke Zeroes. Yep. And, get this, their idea of a cup of ice are two cubes topped with lemon slices. Hmmm ...

What we did surmise from our vacation is that the Greeks are hardworking, helpful folks who take pride in hosting guests to their gorgeous homeland.

Since our travel abroad last week, we can certainly attest to Saber Ben Hasser’s assertion of tourist destinations. The founder and CEO of Carthage Magazine in Tanzania said, “Of all the books in the world, the best stories are those found between the pages of a passport.” Hasser must’ve visited Greece a time or two, that’s for certain.

Kim Lambert is a former reporter with The Daily Record and former editor of The Angier Independent.


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