A year before the National Gallery in Athens settled into its current home, and some 38 years before the National Museum of Contemporary Art moved into a renovated beer factory, I visited a gallery of modern Greek art that was not very modern. Sigh...the vigor of ancient Greece was no more. Greek culture had reached its height of maximum influence many centuries ago, and, like old soldiers who never entirely die, it had just faded away. Most of Greek art, that we think of as quintessentially Greek, was either blown up or stolen, and resided in various pieces throughout the world.

Somewhere in the vicinity, I began talking about Turkish influence on Greek culture with a young Greek, bearing a prominent proboscis. His mother lurked in the background examining some ancient artifact. Greeks are purebred, he informed me, and do not miscegenate nor mingle with Turks. But, then again, I had never seen his Turkish nose on any Greek statue. I later took pride in restraining myself from pointing this out to him. Besides, he was bigger than me in both stature and schnozz. I like to think that someone influential overheard our conversation, for the very next year the Greek National Gallery ended its nomadic existence and eventually exiled all its big nose statues to renovated horse stables on a former army base where, like scarecrows, they would defend the nation from invading Turkish hoards.


Bought stamps and sent my Patmos letter and postcards back home to Mom along with the rose petals I carried all the way from St. Tropez and which were intended for the Madonna in San Damiano. Sorry again, Madame Frys. I am sure me mum enjoyed them more.


Called Jo Blitch, the Green Hills travel agent in Nashville who sold me the ticket to this grand international adventure I was undergoing. I was checking to make sure she sent me a $190 Eurail pass for the month of July, and that it would be waiting in Vienna when I arrived. Ms. Blitch did not answer, so I left a worried message, and crossed my fingers. Does anyone still cross their fingers for good luck? Once more, I slept in dilapidated quarters under a leaky roof. It was hot and humid. Thankfully, it was also my last night in Mediterranea. Tomorrow, i vóreia!