Kate and Mark report on Greece
[KateR]Maryanne and Kyle first suggested that Mark and I meet up with them and enjoy life aboard Footprint back when they were cruising the balmy, temperate Caribbean. We foolishly ignored this generous invitation. Then, this year, when they began to talk about their plans to visit France, Italy and then Greece, I found myself thinking that it just might be possible to join them. I didn’t ask if the offer still stood – I’m not completely stupid yet – so I boldly announced to Kyle and Maryanne via email that I’d applied for a passport. They very kindly reacted without panic or regret. In fact, they enthusiastically offered information and suggestions, provided food for thought, and asked me questions about dates, travel details, and even what our favorite alcoholic beverages were! Kyle threw himself into planning an itinerary that he thought we might enjoy, inclusive of not two or three but FIVE different islands, and allowing time for both sightseeing and leisure.
While the blog describes in sometimes alarming detail (wow! did we really sail in those conditions?!) the Meltemi winds that made our island-to-island journeys a bit treacherous, Mark and I never felt any loss of confidence in the abilities of Kyle and Maryanne to sail Footprint and reach each of our destinations safely. They took tremendous care of us – from making us as comfortable as possible in our sleeping quarters, to stocking the fridge with fresh produce and cheese (and chocolaty nibbles!), to providing us snorkel gear. There wasn’t a single moment when either of us went wanting. You can, of course, purchase an expensive Mediterranean cruise or spend a week clubbing on glamorous Mykonos, but personally I wouldn't have enjoyed it half as much as the opportunity to spend quality time with good friends. Without Kyle and Maryanne and their unique way of seeing the world (you know, actually seing it!), Mark and I would have ended up sitting on a beach and being served ridiculous looking drinks until we passed out in our recliners. I know, because that’s the kind of vacation I used to think was ideal. Instead, we toured the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora on our very first day in Athens, we explored each of the islands to which we sailed - sometimes a short climb to the top of the hill to investigate an impossibly picturesque church, sometimes an hour trek following the goat trails to the little town two coves over. And you know what? As long as I have legs that work, that's the kind of vacation I want to take from now on.
Sure, we had the Meltemi winds to deal with as well, but as a result we had an adventure, not just a vacation. Thank you, Kyle and Maryanne, for the trip of a lifetime - we’re forever grateful to have had the chance to experience the delights of the beautiful Cyclades Islands with you. (P.S. I hear Spain is pretty awesome this time of year!)