Sharing Santorini (and Beyond)

Photo by Arthur Ogleznev: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-a-glass-ball-1252893/

Time with family is always special, and important.  But having the opportunity to spend time with my older brother, Dave, in a few absolutely gorgeous spots on the Earth — well, that is magical.  It is not just that we got to share great places, great food, great memories.  It is as much that we both prioritized travelling around the world, to engage in these adventures together.  The commitment and the experience combine to deepen the bonds between us.

 

I arrived in Santorini a couple days before Dave, my sister Maudie and her husband, Mike.  I had designed the trip so that I my week-long stay on the island would contain the 2 days that their tour group would be there.  I was planning to work remotely some, spend some time with the three of them before they headed on to Crete, and then meet Dave in Venice, at the end of the week.  A lot of the visit in Greece did not go exactly as planned.

I had so wanted to return to Santorini.  My memories of that island from the trip with my kids were so awesome.  To be honest, it was not necessarily just the island, but those memories — shared experiences with the loves of my life, that drew me to return.  In fact, the very first thing I did once I had dropped my suitcase in the apartment looking over the caldera was to find a beautiful little restaurant hanging out on the cliff, order tzatziki and ouzo, and relive those memories.

The memories of that previous trip turned out to be a bit overpowering.  That night, after admittedly too much ouzo, I got very sad — I missed my kids, I missed having them to share Greece again with — I missed my bed and my dog.  I was actually kind of a mess.  I was homesick a little, but mostly just keenly feeling the absence of the original experience.  I was alone in one of the most beautiful spots on the planet, and I had no one to share it with.

It got better, also in an unexpected way.  Of course, when I woke up, and realized how lucky I was to be where I was, I walked around Fira and just soaked it in.  I was looking forward to catching up with my siblings that evening.  I met them at their hotel and we went with the tour group to have dinner.  (As an aside, I felt so sad for that tour.  The food in Greece is so magnificent.  But both nights I had dinner with them, the food was average and boring — I guess it was safe.  Such a missed opportunity!)  I really enjoyed spending some time with them.  In some ways, I was kind of bummed that they would be leaving, and I would not have company til I connected late in the week with Dave.

But luck jumped in — in a way.  Dave came down with COVID.  It was a pretty mild case, but it was sufficient to get him kicked off the tour.  But lucky for Dave, and for me, I had an extra bed in my apartment, it was very well ventilated, and all the restaurants had outdoor seating.  So, suddenly, I had a traveling companion!  I still did my work in the mornings, watched the (amazing!) sunsets every evening, and had great dinners and drinks each night — but now I had Dave to share the time with.

The rest of the trip was awesome.  Dave and I spent 3 nights in Venice, a couple in Cortina d’Ambrezzo (in the Dolomites), 2 in Slovenia, and a couple nights in Florence.  We saw amazing scenery, got lost in Venice (multiple times — my favorite part), climbed the Duomo, and witnessed a couple of amazing thunderstorms at Lake Bled, Slovenia.  Through it all, Dave and I shared great experiences, good conversations, but also, just times sitting next to each other, not speaking much, just being.  My brother is a great person to just BE with!

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