Dear Shelley. A Journal. Day 4

London Travels and Tourist Sites. Crete and Yummy Cookies

Dear Shelley,

We have been having soft, caressing breezes here for the past two days. Monday is here and we have no breeze, not yet anyway. So I was telling @clarabelle80085, who I met at the London Tweet Meet, I will probably be sitting and working at the computer all day with an electrical fan by my side. That keeps me comfortable, too.

August is a very busy time in Crete in terms of tourists so I don’t venture out too much. We have a huge onslaught of cars with bad, impatient drivers, indicating – Athenian tourists. What can I say! Every year the same thing happens

Nikos or Kleo do the driving. I gave it up due to my tiredness and my road rage. I have been too exhausted to drive and I was taking it out on other drivers, not smart. I have the city bus or taxis easily available, mostly I’ve been taking the bus or walking. In truth, mostly, I don’t go anywhere in the hot weather!

(My language style seems to be changing. I watched a lot of historical movies this weekend, that’s why.)

We have everything we need within walking distance like groceries, bakeries, and cafes. The girls are off to our bakery for bread and cookies. Now is the season for my favorite cookies, called moustokouloura made from the part of the grape left over after squeezing the grapes. They are a golden brown color inside and out. Their taste is similar to ginger cookies. Yummy and probably healthy, right?

Also we have a new restaurant in Chalepa! The name is “Mama’s Kitchen” and truly, mama and her friends are there cooking and serving. I’m not going to cook much at all anymore.! She’s only about six blocks away and offers great Greek home cooking.

Clothing sales are fabulous downtown. I’m urging the girls to purchase a basic black dress (or two) and good underwear that fits right. They laugh but they will be so glad when they have good pieces that fit well.

One morning during our London Tweet Meet, @katchemeng, @nat4violet, @lauratheexpat and I headed for the British Museum. My intent was to bring back to Greece at least part of the Parthenon Marbles to place in the new Acropolis Museum in Athens. If I couldn’t accomplish carrying off the Marbles, perhaps at the least I could devise a plan to bring them home. That’s what I told myself anyway.

Upon entering the auditorium holding the marbles we were met by gigantic sculptures from Ancient Egypt. How did these sculptures get into this museum and how many were lost at the bottom of the ocean somewhere in unsuccessful attempts to take more from Egypt during the time mummies were “en vogue.” And why haven’t they been returned to Egypt in the new millennium, these civilized times?

A few steps further we were surrounded by huge, gorgeous walls and sculptures from Persia. Why are they here in a western city where there is no thread of history to connect with them? How many valuable cultural innovations were offered during the Persian rule of the East . . . don’t even get me started. When will the Persian items be returned to Iran?

Seeing the Parthenon Marbles one can only feel like shouting with anger or crying for their state of destruction and even for their poor quality exhibition. The ancient marbles are inured to a poor environment which is, indeed, unworthy of their grandeur and style.

The visit to the British Museum was an emotionally draining experience. Those sensitive to the cruelties of empire will always feel emotionally drained when visiting the fruits of colonial plunder; whether one is visiting St. Marks in Venice or the Parthenon Marbles in London.

Oh, and to add insult to injury – the Marbles are referred to as “The Elgin Marbles.” I would suggest Elgin’s marbles are little balls of glass used for children’s games; the marbles of the Parthenon are quite something different. Ah, but enough of that.

We walked along the Thames next to the gardensQueen Victoria and Prince Albert had made. Very lovely. The tower holding Big Ben was being spruced up so it was covered with scaffolding. Seemed to be about the same height as my 3-D Big Ben puzzle, only at first glance, of course!

The air quality was low, which made the light just right for photographing outdoors. The Thames River was wide and shimmery. Amazing river! We walked until we could barely move forward. I had suggested we grab a nice taxi for the ride home so we could walk a lot. Unfortunately by the time we were ready to return home we had used all our money. That was not one of my better ideas! We had a pretty easy ride on the Underground from Big Ben to Earl’s Court though.

Well, we got ripped off as happens to travelers everywhere; at a café and at an Oyster card/cigarette shop. I handled the experiences cheerfully and didn’t make a fuss. I suspect they figured if we had enough money to vacation in London we had enough to share a bit extra with them. But next time, I won’t make the same mistakes. The main rule is “Don’t try to do too much in one day.”

We had tea and scones one day near the Natural History Museum. That was very nice. Scones come in many different incarnations. I think we could have tried all of them and the English would have thought of some new ones to bring us! Very yummy.

Dear Sis, I am having a Monday of perpetual sleep with my eyes barely opened! Coffee has not made a dent in my drowsiness.

I hope this finds you and A with lots of time to enjoy the Pacific and finds you free of any wild animals in your backyard. Love you lots, Vicki