Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Athens’

“You must find yourself before you can know where you belong, yet to find yourself first you must know who you are. However, you will never really know who you are if you are always allowing other people to define who you should be, so be yourself and if you are still unsure of who you are then reinvent yourself.”
― Andrew James Pritchard, Smoke and Mirrors
” Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.”
– Alan Alda

Like all good things, stories need an ending. In Search Of deserves to have it’s final ending, the climax as it happened at the time. Here is the beginning of the end of the journey.

 My last days in Switzerland went by both in a blur and stretched out enormously. There was a feeling of storing memories for times to come, but also of seeing each infinitesimal moment as an entire story, just waiting for it to unfold itself. Whereas each individual minute was a treasure, even those things often repeated, they also felt unique in and of themselves.

It was strange that so many different memories could be evoked by the daily routine of enjoying a coffee in the lounge. The smile of the waiter and the bonhomie of the other vacationers as we sat around, reading, talking or silently gazing into the further reaches of forever, each felt in some way part of the other and yet at the same time, as individual as the clothes we wore. It as simple as that. We were together and at the same moment, completely separate.

The last night in Geneva was spent in another type of blur. Good food and wine, scintillating conversation. It was difficult to realise that a few short weeks earlier we had met for the first time and yet now, it was as effortless as if we had been friends for many years. Time flew by alarmingly fast and I wanted to cram as much into it as possible. The feeling of not having enough time made me think of the film “The Langoliers” by Stephen King. Somewhere in the vastness of the Universe were some eldritch creatures gobbling up the seconds as we used them, leaving nothing behind unless we filled them once more by something we had said or done. I found it amusing that I should think of that before I was to board the plane in a few hours since during the film it was just that which saw a catastrophe loom.

Yet the morning came all too fast, and despite my fanciful notions, I knew that the trip would be peaceful enough. As we drove to the airport I knew I was going to miss the glorious scenery, the brisk feeling of the air and the beautiful scents of spring flowers growing everywhere. I said a silent ‘goodbye’ as we drove round Lake Geneva and passed the beautiful swans in their nests close to shore. Where else would I see such an unusual sight?

The flight to Athens was uneventful, as I expected. The otherworldly view of the rolling carpet made by the clouds covering the land below, allowing the mountaintops to peak through was a unique way to end my short trip to Switzerland, allowing me the knowledge that I was eager to return, one day soon I hoped, to finish my exploration of this beautiful country.

#InSearchOf

Alp peering through a carpet of clouds                  Image courtesy of http://www.startribune.com

We arrived in Athens late in the day and after I had collected the luggage I had left in storage, we made our way to the city centre and the hotel. Except this was not the way we had travelled on my last stopover. Liveried staff hurried forward to help me from the car, gathered my luggage and ushered me to the Concierge’s desk. A beautiful, tall and dark haired man explained that the hotel had been booked out by a wedding party. My stomach dropped. He then went on to explain that due to the hotel inconveniencing me I was being upgraded to another room – free of charge, of course! This was completely unexpected.

Dressed in my well-worn, if clean and respectable looking jeans and blouse, I still felt woefully under dressed for this sumptuous hotel. As we rode the lift up, ever higher, I was beginning to wonder if I was being sent towards the heavens for an angelic ride home. Escorted through the door to my room it took all my efforts not to gasp. The room was simply stunning. A magnificent display of luxury met my eyes at every turn as I was shown through this incredible suite. Not only was there an enormous king sized bed with luxurious bedding in the master bedroom, there was also a large and exquisitely appointed lounge and dining room, and an equally opulent bathroom with gold plated taps and the largest bath I had ever seen. I knew what I would be doing later.

Since the wedding party made my dinner arrive late, a bottle of wine accompanied my simple meal. Silk, satin and velvet seemed to be everywhere and the towels were so thick and heavy, it felt as if I could wrap myself up in one and simply fall asleep. A long, luxuriant bath, steam curling round my head, the scent of wildflowers swirling in the steam and I had found a measure of heaven for a time. I finally dragged myself out, wrinkled but so very relaxed that I hardly remembered sliding between the incredible sheets and falling asleep. Thankfully I had requested a wakeup call or I would never been ready in time for the car to take me to the airport. Even paying the excess luggage bill failed to mar the feeling of impersonating Jackie Onassis for a short time.

“We have stories to tell, stories that provide wisdom about the journey of life. What more have we to give one another than our ‘truth’ about our human adventure as honestly and as openly as we know how?”
– Rabbi Saul Rubin

Next Week – Revelations  The final instalment and what it all meant.

Blessings, Susan ♥

© Susan Jamieson, 2014

 

In Search Of…Part 23 Switzerland

In Search Of ….Part 22 – Athens and Geneva

In Search Of….Part 21- Back to Tel Aviv

 

Read Full Post »

“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” Aldous Huxley

The departure from Israel was much smoother than anything to date. So smooth that I thought I was dreaming, or perhaps it simply didn’t worry me any longer. I was catching a plane to Athens, so perhaps that made the difference?  Whatever the reason, I was ensconced in a delightful business class seat and the trip was relaxing and I zoned out fairly quickly.

On my arrival in Athens I stowed my “extra’ baggage in short-term storage. The guys there were so helpful and it was quickly done. It was certainly easier moving around with just one bag!

Athens was a brief stop. A few days to catch my breath and reacquaint myself with the Acropolis and the sites around town. I was still very much in my introspective state and was aware of the energies as I wandered around. I was still in this wonderful place of accepting whatever happened and the expanded feel of energy as I wandered around was magical.

Even though I had only a small amount of time I felt no urging to run around trying to see everything. It was more important to capture the feel of the places I visited. I saw the Acropolis and Parthenon again, the National Gardens, and Syntagma Square. It was a peaceful bubble amidst the hustle and bustle of the frenetic pace of Athens.

I was leaving Athens for another unknown experience, Geneva and eventually Fribourg, Switzerland.

I was meeting a friend in Geneva, someone I met through an overseas Pen Pal site a few years earlier. Still it was a little nerve-wracking as I asked him how I would pick him out of the crowd. “Just look for the pink shirt” I was advised, and I must admit it didn’t really help with the nervous anticipation. At least I only had one bag to “man handle” and I went through the airport so quickly I wondered what was happening. The Swiss seemed so “laid back” after the high tension of the Middle East.

#InSearchof

The BMW 6 series fast and hot!

As I left the airport proper, not having seen my friend, I saw this very tall person who looked exactly like his photos, dressed in a pink shirt next to his hot car. His two door BMW had the top down and I could see the beautiful face of a Sky Terrier peering over the seat. Oh – heaven and sadness all at once. I realised I must have looked a fright in my very casual but comfortable travel wear. However, that’s how I was and it made me, in my joggers, look like a dwarf next to my six-foot six tailored friend. Suitcase stowed away we set off – WITHOUT SEATBELTS FASTENED!

I was horrified and bemused as he explained that they weren’t used, unless the police were around. (But there was one, at least an ex-police officer, in the car!).   The drive was exhilarating as we sped (yes sped) along the main road through the byways of Geneva to reach his home.  As the car stopped outside this innocuous home, where I had agreed to spend the night, I was feeling a little apprehensive but so relaxed at the brisk temperature and the beautiful sight of spring bulbs in flower.  Memories on England sped through my mind.

 

Through the front door I was given my next breath-taking surprise. The entrance was so deceptive and inside I found a veritable mansion. I felt so under dressed, and in need of a shower and an elegant dress. Well the shower was easy, but the dress not so easy. All my good clothes which I had carried around needlessly were now in storage at the airport!  So I settled for a good change of clothes and some reasonable shoes and made myself ready to find my way through this enormous house to the computer room.

Since he was in the computer business, in a large way I should add, there were computers on computers and at least six working machines. By that I mean all going on different programs. It was an enormous array and he could follow all of them. (Feeling very below par as I struggle to get my computer to do basic things for me.)

I had my next surprise over freshly brewed coffee. I had totally lost track of days and dates and arrived there expecting just another Friday. Yes it was, but it was also Good Friday, and everything was closed. (Great timing Susan). After a few phone calls we were faced with the fact that dinner in Geneva was out of the question. Not a problem I was told, we will go to France for dinner! What?! France! How!  We drive over the border, just bring your passport.

So we set off for France. Now I admit I am geographically challenged and I had no idea where I was going. Of course France and Switzerland share the same border. A short drive in the twilight and we had crossed the border without any fuss. Drat! I had not been able to get my passport stamped in Geneva (not done due to their status) and because we weren’t stopped, no French stamp either.  Oh well. My next surprise was the number of dogs allowed inside the restaurant. It seemed almost every other table had a pooch sitting quietly under the table – or next to it.

 

#InSearchof

image from nickhardcastle.wordpress.com

It was a big day and due to my insomnia issue I was still wide awake when we returned to his home. We watched clips on the hoax or not of the Twin Towers and the plight of Palestinians and the harshness of the Israelis. It was an interesting evening to say the very least. After a final cup of coffee, very late in the morning I actually felt a little sleepy – jet lag I assumed. I was advised to take a glass of water with me as he would be setting all the house alarms and once in the bedroom wing, the door would be alarmed.

I was alarmed – I am a night wanderer and I was being told I would be in one tiny wing of bedrooms and unable to leave. No! I trusted this gentleman and would have to content myself with iPod and book! The slate shower was much colder to enter so late in the morning as it had absorbed the chill from the air, but the hot water was magnificent. The bed was so soft and warm under the doona that I eventually fell asleep.

Unbelievable! I slept in! Not only did I sleep in, it was 9am when I woke up!  I was so embarrassed and hurried to get ready so I could leave my room and see my host, who had volunteered to drive me to Fribourg rather than catch the train.  Yet it was no trouble, I had a leisurely breakfast with more freshly brewed coffee, an entrancing walk through the grounds of his house, entranced by all the spring bulbs growing freely throughout his lawn before we decided to leave and head for Fribourg.

We drove with the top down all the way, but it’s what happened along the way that was so unexpected.

 

Next week…..Fribourg and Home.

 

Blessings, Susan ♥

© Susan Jamieson 2014

 

If you would like to read more of the story, here ar a few of the earlier parts to the story….

In search of… Part 21

In Search of…Part 20

In Search of…Part 19

 

Read Full Post »

Learning How to Breathe Again

image from spirit_elements-www-josephinewall-co.uk

“I thought about having a proper room, breathing life into it, and nobody minding.”
― Jenny Valentine, Broken Soup

Arriving at the airport in Athens to catch the El Al plane to Israel was the beginning of something totally unexpected. The entire place was bustling despite the early hour. Needless to say the El Al departure gate was at the furthest end of the airport. Arriving in Athens I had realised I had over packed, but by then it was too late to do anything about it. After hauling my cases (2) to the El Al checkpoint I was unconcerned when I was shepherded to the side to have my luggage checked. After all, I had nothing to be concerned about. Had I?

Enter one of the most handsome men I had seen in a long time. Pointing at my large suitcase he indicated I should place it on the waist high bench and open it. OK, everything was tied down really well so as soon as I unclipped the straps the clothes jumped up another eight inches – at least. Not content with that embarrassment I was then amazed to see him painstakingly go through everything in my case, and then the second case. I mean EVERYTHING – bras, pants, the lot! By the time he had finished inspecting them there was this mangled mess of clothing and toiletries on the lids of the suitcases. Smiling beguilingly he told me I could repack my bags and join the queue to get a boarding pass.

Learning to Breathe

image from http://www.live4.com.au         Too much of a good thing is still too much!

Time – I couldn’t forget the time. It was running through my mind over and over with the idea that I might miss my connection. I knew I shouldn’t have packed so much! So when I finally got to weighing my bag I breathed a sigh of relief. A sigh which was very short lived. Over weight! On Singapore it was only two kilos over which they waived. On El Al the weight permitted was much less and I was eight kilos over! OMG. Take the bag back and haul ass to the counter to pay for the excess baggage. Of course the counter was two thirds of the way back up the concourse, a very long concourse, and I had to take my luggage with me.

Thank heavens for a very helpful Greek airport staff guy. He hauled the big case and I grabbed the second and off we trotted. The trot became a gallop as we tried to get to the counter. Of course they wanted cash which I didn’t have as I was leaving. Finally they put it through on my Visa, mainly thanks to my Greek friend and we began the mad dash back to the El Al departure point. After a very frosty look from the lady behind the El Al counter I escaped towards the departure lounge. The fun was just beginning though.

Boarding a plane is fairly standard, right? There’s the squeezing between the seats and trying to get your luggage in the overhead racks, getting into your seat and settling down. This was completely different and people were going every which way, apparently without any rhyme or reason. Seats seemed to be taken as they wished and it felt as though chaos ruled the day. Amazingly, all the seats were filled and the plane left on time.

However! As soon as the plan set off down the runway seat belts started popping open and by the time we were airborne most of the passengers were wandering all over the place, talking, from one side of the plane to the other and from back to the front, and all in Hebrew. The odd one out wasn’t even close. I huddled down and tried to remain inconspicuous. Not very likely but there you have it. I did receive some rather odd looks which I interpreted as “what on earth are you doing here”?

The trip from Athens to Tel Aviv was just over an hour long and the passengers milled around the plane for the entire trip. I’m not even sure if they sat down for the landing, and the disembarkation felt like a free for all to get off first.

Learning to Breathe

image from http://www.itnews.com.au                 Why are you here?     

Arriving at the passport check in was reasonably straight forward; just follow the queue, yet not quite. The Israelis walked through their gate at a fast pace whilst I joined a much smaller queue. I handed over my passport and then had my first ever taste of being on the receiving end of an interrogation. Why was I coming to Israel? Why was I alone? Was I meeting someone? Did I know anyone here? Had I come to find a husband? A husband?! I had just managed to divest myself of the last mistake so I most definitely wasn’t looking for another. After I explained that I was divorced she relaxed, until she asked me for my maiden name since I didn’t have my husband’s surname.

Oh! Well. Hmm. I had changed my name by deed poll after my divorce and chosen a name I liked, so I couldn’t give her my maiden name as a reference either. That didn’t go over very well so we went through all the previous questions again. It was obvious she didn’t like me and didn’t believe I wasn’t there to snare some poor unwary Israeli guy for my next husband.  Eventually, as the last person in the checkpoint left and I was there alone, one of the other men came around to see what all the fuss was about. I don’t speak Hebrew but the rapid fire statements from her gave me the feeling she would have loved to send me back. Thankfully he must have out ranked her and I tiredly walked through the checkpoint to get my luggage. I was the last person in the airport and my greeter had vanished.

Learning to Breathe

image from jewishcentralvoice.com                       Tel Aviv

After many phone calls and what felt like a long wait but was probably only a half an hour I was met by a nice guy who shepherded me to his vehicle and we set off for the hotel. I was thrilled to have a running commentary of all the sights and history as we traveled into Tel Aviv.

The strangest part of all, despite the language barrier and the quasi interrogation at the airport, there was a real feeling of coming home. I took my first deep breath in a long time and realised I had started to feel relaxed. It really felt quite strange.

Next week – A blend of new worlds

© Susan Jamieson 2013

Read Full Post »

image from spirit_elements-www-josephinewall-co.uk

image from spirit_elements-www-josephinewall-co.uk

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.
From an Irish headstone”    Richard Puz

 

.

Traveling to Mum’s house that night felt surreal. I felt as though I was wandering through my own personal nightmare. I drove along and had no real recollection of where I was going or what I was doing, it felt as though I was on auto pilot. What would have happened if anything unexpected occurred I have no idea. I suppose I should thank my angels and Dad that it didn’t. I could sense him from time to time but I knew he would be with Mum.

Going through the front door was indescribable. Yet another part of the nightmare, never ending. There was this horrible feeling of disconnect. Nothing felt real. I felt like an interloper and I seriously wanted to leave. For the first time I can remember I felt lost, adrift on some strange ocean with no bearings to guide me. Yet I was expected to be the same person I had always been, capable, competent, organised – for everyone else. It felt as though any feelings I had didn’t exist for anyone else. Their tears poured but I felt I couldn’t, or shouldn’t. When I was told I was a co executor of Mum’s estate I cringed inside. The other was my brother.

Every ‘rule’ of executor ship was flouted and trying to say anything I was over ruled on the pretext that he was so upset because Mum had passed away. Oh – wasn’t she my mother too? I was over ruled and out voted. Meetings held without me regarding Mums prized possessions (sentimental), before her hospitalisation had seen me ‘disenfranchised’. My children were simply excluded, and I had the feeling it was because they were the only grandchildren. I was being torn apart piecemeal, no one to turn to and I was still supposed to take control of the situation, even being accused of being an “Ice Maiden”, without feelings, because they didn’t see me cry. I had a dam inside and the tears couldn’t be allowed to get past it. I didn’t want them to see it either.

image from http://www.theguardian.com     Such a vital piece of paper

The more I learned about how the Will had come to be drawn up, its contents and the meetings which took place without me, the more I felt cut off from my family. I was lost in the darkness and there was no way out.  Once the funeral was over, the wrangling with finalising the estate began. Months of arrangements and meetings, and more and more blackouts as I traveled to ‘Mum’s’ house started to widen the cracks. When I was finally told, after I organised the estate tax return, that it would be another 12 months until it could be finalised I reached “the point of no return”.  Denied Mum’s mementos, denied access to the house proper to see her things, despite everything I had tried to do and I had reached the time to say, “Enough!”

I needed time. I needed space. I needed to find out who I was again. I had been mother, daughter, sister, wife for so long that I was unsure who I was. I booked a 12 week trip to the Middle East and Switzerland, had a long talk with my children and left to find myself. My children understood and were old enough and cared enough to wish me well, however. I didn’t leave a happy camp behind. I don’t believe my brothers really understood how fragile I had become.  I tidied up everything with the solicitor so nothing would need attending to in my absence and left.

Perhaps it was prophetic that I went to the airport alone and had no one to see me off. My very first overseas trip, the only trip I had ever taken alone in my life and there was no one there to say goodbye. As the plane rose into the air I felt an enormous weight suddenly detach from me and I felt lighter than I had for so long. I had a long way to go but I had made a start.

image from http://www.travelhouseuk.co.uk           Fly away little bird.

There was a strange feeling as I walked into the Singapore airlines lounge, which felt something like, “So this is what ‘they’ were talking about. There was a feeling of freedom, of being looked after, and after the previous couple of decades it was almost unbelievable. The people there were so friendly and helpful, and despite the fact that it was their job, they made me feel as though I was special, something truly unusual for me.

The long haul trip to Singapore tested out my back despite being in Business class, a luxury I had decided on simply because of the injuries to my back. Unfortunately we arrived at 11pm so apart from a walk, a very long walk to the Singapore airlines lounge there were very few shops open.  Yet the two hour wait for my connecting flight to Athens was still full of surprises.  I had rarely seen so much food available outside a restaurant and staff who were only too happy to help. The shower facilities were a blessing and it felt really good to refresh myself after sitting on the plane for so long.

image from http://www.airreview.com             Business Lounge in Singapore

Back on board again it seemed only a short time before we were landing in Athens. I had been too excited to sleep much so the on-board films were a good distraction. I was collected at the airport – Yes, I had someone standing in arrivals with my name on a piece of cardboard! Whisked through the airport, the Greeter insisted on handling my entire luggage (I over packed) and I was in a taxi and speeding into Athens.

The driver, whose name I never did get, zipped in and out of traffic like a bee hopping from flower to flower. The nonstop information was brilliant, but I could only take part of it in. The sights and sounds were amazing. Once we reached Athens the traffic was phenomenal. So many vehicles all going flat out, horns honking, drivers waving their arms at each other and the roads – they seemed so small! It was a thrill a minute.

View of the Acropolis from outside the hotel

View of the Acropolis from outside the hotel

The hotel was an oasis of peace and calm from the bustle outside and once I was in my beautiful suite I suddenly felt exhausted. Tired or not I had to explore since I was only there for a couple of days on the way to Israel, my ‘final’ destination. I’m sure the Major D was surprised when I hurried through the doors so soon, asking for directions. I walked for hours before finally stumbling back to the hotel where I declared it exhaustion treat time and ordered room service.

One beautiful hot bath later my meal arrived and I settled down to find an English speaking news channel so I could find out if the Middle East was still peaceful.  The lure of the soft and gigantic bed was too much and I slept until breakfast the next morning.  A full breakfast was on offer but I didn’t want to waste time so off I went sightseeing and gathering all the brochures I could for my return trip.

image from news.gtp.gr     Athens Airport

 Picked up bright and early the next morning, (They even got the staff up early so I could have breakfast before I left) and I was whisked out to catch the El Al Plane into Israel. That was where the fun really began.

Next week – Learning to breathe again

© Susan Jamieson 2013

Read Full Post »

Bipolar For Life

Memoirs of a Wounded Healer

thoughts alone

Just some thoughts along the journey back home

A Window Of Wisdom

Whispers from spirit heard with your heart

Sacred Ascension - Key of Life - Secrets of the Universe

Discover your True Self through the Vibrational Messages from Behind the Veil

shamanictracking

Opening doors to enhanced life experiences by uncovering the unseen

Kindness Blog

Kindness Images, Videos, True Life Stories, Quotes, Personal Reflections and Meditations.

Witch Reads

magical book reviews

Kit Perriman

The Hill - A Historical Novel About Witches

weatheredwiseman

A Weathered Wise Man's Look At Life

Fireside Witch

A personal journey with the Ancients in a World of Ritual, with the Intent to Heal.

Mystical Magical Herbs

by friends who love herbs and want to share what they know...

Sunhealers

Nurture the Body, Free your Soul

aisha north

Channelings and words of inspiration

Dr. Bairavee Balasubramaniam PhD: The Sky Priestess

Astrologer, Doctor of Political Science, Spiritualist and Public Speaker

Circle of the PussyWillows

A Wiccan Circle Based on Green and White Magick

%d bloggers like this: