We’ve been in planning mode here in Amaliapoli, trying to push through all the administrative requirements of the next stage of the Grand Tour so that we can get back to the more pressing issue of enjoying our final week here. Oh, the lump in my throat when I think about leaving. I have been so happy here.
One of the waitresses at the beachside taverna we favour mentioned late Friday afternoon that there would be a dance show over at the small village port, which sits on the opposite side of the bay. Kick off was 9 pm, she said, so I looked at the Touring Toddler a little doubtfully and said we’d definitely try. It’s always a punt trying to take the TT out past his bedtime (although this week he seems to have switched to a much more Grecian program), but we figured it was worth a shot.
Candle bags lit the way from the road, and a healthy throng of locals and annual holiday-makers packed the available area. A huge circle of chairs defined the dirt dance floor, and with every seat taken, the rest of us formed standing rings behind. A full moon rose over the beach end of the bay, so low and bright in the sky, its reflected glow stretching right across the water all the way to the port. The moon’s golden path, swaying gently with the current, made me wish that we could, for an evening, all dance on the water, for there could be no more inviting ball room than that still and starry night.
Still, what we got wasn’t bad either, an exuberant burst of song and dance that mesmerised those children not already performing (the TT included) and set all the adult toes tapping. ‘Grease Lightning’ kicked off the show – daggy but fun – and what a blast it was seeing half the village waiters and waitresses strutting their stuff, all coiffed and polished, spinning and dipping with the best of them. Next the young kids swarmed into the circle, stomping, running, giggling and grinning their way through a traditional Greek number, before the teenage girls strode confidently into the centre for a ‘Pink Panther’ number. The hour-long concert ended with the saucy tango, which transcends all language barriers, everywhere and always. Rapturous applause was the reward for all their hard work and preparation, faces everywhere beaming brighter than the moon.
We wandered with the dispersing crowd back down along the lamp-lit bay, past the still busy cafes and restaurants, just about bursting with affection for this place and its people. I am really, really going to miss it. As I write this, the TT is having a nap and I am stretched out on the couch with the gigantic window bringing the view teeming through. It is the loveliest place with the most bewitching view: the small island that sits swimming distance from the bay, the glorious blanket of blue sea and the mountains rising up majestically across the gulf. It eases something in me that is otherwise generally wound too tight. I am utterly charmed by this village and this vista – I shall remember it always and expect to yearn for it just as long. Islands be damned; Mitzela is divine.
We leave here Sunday – reluctantly – and the plan is to go to the ancient site of Delphi, then, yes, an island for a couple of days, then on to Athens, where we have booked an amazing-looking place on AIRbnb that is right in the Acropolis zone. Devastated though I am to be leaving here, I am very excited about Athens. It’s a real gap in my Ancient City CV and I can’t wait to see it and immerse ourselves in the local neighbourhood for a whole delicious week of architecture and history. I just felt a bolt of pure joy at the prospect.
And then it’s goodbye Greece, I’m sad to say, though what an inspired decision this leg turned out to be. We’re taking an overnight ferry to the port of Bari on the Italian east coast, and from there flying to Palermo in Sicily, where we’ll be collected by the nephew of the couple whose apartment we’ve booked and driven to Cefalu. In researching our options for this next leg, we both became a little infatuated with Cefalu, so let’s hope our intuition serves us as well there as it has here. I’ve never before made it to Sicily despite a couple of trips to Italy so I am DELIGHTED to be getting there now. It looks like Llew’s parents are going to join us there for a week, too, before they continue on to Norway and we make our way to Roma, glorious Roma, city of my soul, in time for my 40th birthday. Now that’s what I call a plan.
After that, I’m afraid the music stops. We’ll have to face up to all the boring stuff like jobs and bills and mortgage. But let’s not linger there now, not when the sun is shining, the sea is blue and we still have this week in Mitzela…