Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Jubilate: A Greek Village Christmas

Jubilate ~ a verb; to feel joy or great delight.  That is my word for this Christmas in Greece.

Village Christmas 2020 - Agios Nikolaos

Few creatures have been stirring this week in our Greek village that hugs the western coastline of the southern Peloponnese. The usual slow pace, has slowed even more in the days leading up to and following Christmas as our weather has alternated between sunshine and storms. 

Carolers at our taverna table in the village, 2021

But what made this Christmas special was that we were stirring, if even at a slowed and somewhat sporadic pace!

Jubilate ~ the gift of freedom

Christmas Syntagma Square Athens, 2019

This year we have been basking in the gift of freedom, something we had taken for granted up until it was snatched away by Covid prevention restrictions in the early months of 2020 and not returned until late spring this year. 

Christmas Morning 2020 - coffee in the parking lot - Covid lockdown

Last Christmas was celebrated with all of Greece in lockdown. Lockdown meant that we texted the government for permission to go out for one of six allowed reasons - and didn't leave the house until it was granted (thankfully, it was usually an immediate response). 

Christmas morning, 2021, inside with friends - jubilate

A year ago,  the Christmas morning highlight was drinking a take-away cappuccino in the parking lot at the harbor. This Christmas we joined friends for coffee on the day before Christmas, sitting at tables on the taverna's deck enjoying the winter's sun and youthful carolers (not allowed last year). On Christmas morning we sat inside the gaily decorated taverna and sipped coffee with other friends.

Paketo Christmas dinner - alone at home - 2020

Paketo, literally means packed, but became the shortened phrase for 'to go' or 'take out' during lockdown. Our Christmas dinner from a favorite taverna was served paketo, aluminum foil containers in a plastic bag. We ate at home alone - gatherings were discouraged. Vaccines hadn't yet been made available and frankly we feared getting Covid.

Food, wine, music - Christmas Eve dinner, 2021

We went out to -- and dined inside -- another favorite taverna this Christmas Eve! We listened to Greek musicians play traditional tunes. Live music, for that matter, all music, was banned in public establishments last year, as it might have caused patrons to linger longer. 

Christmas Eve in Kardamyli - Jubilate - 2021

Later we sipped a glass of wine sitting at the bar and visiting with our longtime friend who owns it.  Last year it was forbidden to sit at any bar so what a treat it was this year to do something as simple as sipping wine sitting at a bar! 

The two tavernas in which we celebrated this Christmas Eve are in our neighboring village of Kardamyli, about five miles from our village. Last Christmas we weren't allowed to travel that far from home.  

Jubilate ~ Gifts not wrapped

Jubilate - music inside Christmas Eve

Inside! What a magic word! Another word and concept we took for granted in our staid American life that we left behind when we chose to try expat life in Greece. No one expected when we made the move, to have the entire world turned upside down by a pandemic. We are still thankful we rode out the initial year here in Greece. It taught us much about appreciating so much of which we previously took for granted both here and in the States.

Kalamata Christmas carols rang out through the town

Music! Christmas carols have never sounded as sweet as they did being played from speakers along the pedestrian street in Kalamata (another forbidden destination at this time last year). Or when the school kids came to sing songs to us in the village.  

Jubilate - to feel joy or delight - is definitely my word this year. 

Friends on the beach Christmas Morning 2021

Friends! You don't know how much you miss your friends until you are not allowed to be with them. What a gift it has been to be with people again, laughing, hugging, chatting and getting caught up with each other.

Jubilate ~ Savor The Moment 

The only village decoration, 2021

Now to be totally honest about this Christmas, I must tell you that Covid case numbers are soaring in Greece at a dizzying pace. The government tightened prevention measures the day before Christmas requiring masks be worn indoors and out, double masks or N95 in grocery stores. We continue to show proof of vaccination or recent negative tests to enter stores and entertainment venues. We are prepared for additional measures to be announced this week - nothing as drastic as before, though, we are told.  

And for that we jubilate.

We hope that whatever the holiday or season you are celebrating that you have cause to experience my word: jubilate. Again thank you for the time you spent with us and we will be back with more tales from Italy next week!

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Monday, December 20, 2021

Italy ~ All Aboard!

 I am almost convinced it was that train ride in August that brought us back to Italy in November. 

Milan's  train station

That summer taste of Italian train travel from Venice to Milan was what made us want to return for more this fall. To our way of thinking, half the fun of Italian travel is getting to ride their trains!

Rome a mind-blowing number of tracks and trains

Italy was one of the first European countries we visited oh-so-many-years-ago, and our introduction to train travel began in Rome. I recall being overwhelmed by the enormity of the station, the bustle and the number of tracks and trains there.

Our train arriving in Cortona, Italy

On subsequent trips to Italy we've tried to include at least a train trip or two.  Trains played prominently in our last, pre-Covid, trip  to the Tuscan town of Cortona (yes, the one Frances Mayes put on the tourist map). We took the train both to and from the small village with its equally small train station. There was no confusion about getting the right train there ~ there was only one!

Masks are required in Italian train stations/trains and distancing encouraged

When finally last month we decided to return to Italy, we made train travel key to our 10-day adventure. We began by spending a few days in Bologna then we hopped a train to Verona for an overnight stay. Another train transported us o Venice where we spent the remainder of our time. 

That Amazing Italian Train System

Waiting to board the train to Verona

Italy, a country about 3/4th the size of the state of California, has a railway system of 24,227 kilometers, or 15,054 miles.  And with high speed trains that can reach 300 kph, or 186 mph, it has come a long way since its first railroad was constructed in 1839. That line between Napoli and Portici was built to connect the Royal Palace of Naples to the seaside. Now rail lines lace the country and trains travel with such frequency that picking a time to travel isn't difficult.

Trenitalia ticket offices

We purchased our Trenitalia tickets at the train stations.. Self-service machines also dispensed tickets but we took what we consider the easier route and used customer service. Staff spoke fluent English so we could ask questions about the options available to us and not guess using the self-service machines..

In what we assumed was an attempt at maintaining distancing, customers waited outside the ticket office until their number (generated by a small machine at the entry) was posted on the sign (to the left in the photo above).  It isn't unlike the process used at cheese and meat counters in Greece. 

Ticket to Venice for less than 10 euro

The tickets are easily understood. Using our trip to Venice as an example, the ticket showed both our destination and from where we were departing. Estimated times of departure and arrival were also provided. Perhaps the most important thing on the ticket was the type of train and its number. Tracks can change at the last minute so it is important to know which train you are looking for. 

 The class of travel and the price paid is also printed on the ticket. The QR code, that ubiquitous part of travel, I wrote about in an earlier post, was scanned by the conductor as he made his way through the car.  

Second class on this modern train looked like this

We were impressed that certain of the cars were designed with space to park bicycles and included charging ports for electric bikes.

A train car with space for bicycles

Dogs, cats and other small domestic animals are welcome on board Italian trains. For a portion of our journey to Venice we watched this four-footed passenger be assured, kissed and caressed by his human who sat on the floor with him. (His owner muzzled him only when the train started and removed it the minute they stepped off the train.)

Pet-friendly train system

One tricky thing to remember is that the train you are riding might have started long before the station from which you are departing and may be traveling beyond your destination. You need to pay attention to the screens in each car showing the next destination and listen to the announcements made in Italian and English, prior to each stop. 

Monitors throughout the car show 'next stop'

This photo of one of several monitors in our car was taken on the train from Bologna to Verona, and shows the train began in Rome and was ending in Bolzano. We were riding just a segment of the trip and needed to be alert to when the train arrived in Verona.

Binario or platform may be outside or inside

The good news is you don't check your bags on Italian trains. 

And the bad news is you don't check your bags.  So you'd better be able to lift and carry and stow the baggage you have with minimal effort. You may need to hoist the bags up or down when entering the train car while balancing on a narrow step that doesn't quite fill the gap between the platform and the train. (Fellow passengers don't sympathize with those who block their way.)

Train stations, the larger ones, are built like subway stations in the U.S. with trains and tracks at ever increasing depths. The track you want may be many levels below the ground level. Escalators and elevators are easing movement but still there is the occasional need to haul your bags up and down stairways the old-fashioned way, as we've too-often found when the one going the direction we are is not working.

Our travel juices flow when riding trains. . .

Train travel, for us, is a much more relaxed way of traveling. There are no security checkpoints to clear, no emptying pockets and pulling electronics out of hand baggage. You need not arrive hours in advance of departure as you can board the train right up to departure. You don't need to turn off mobile devices and you are free to get up and move around.

Countryside views from the train window can't be beat

Much like airports in Europe, you are required - during this time of Covid - to wear a mask in train stations and while aboard the train unless drinking or eating. You must also show proof of vaccination (our CDC issued cards were accepted) or proof of a negative Covid test.

We'll bring this journey to a close and be back next week with another Italian tale. Until then our wishes for safe and healthy travels. Thanks for being with us today! And welcome to our new subscribers!!

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Saturday, December 11, 2021

Armchair Travels To Far Away Places

It is winter in the slice of the Greek Peloponnese we call home. Sometimes winter here can be as harsh in its wet and windy way as springtime and fall can be gorgeous.  After two blustery weeks we've concluded this might be one of those more nasty winters.

Our Village - wind, rain and waves

The rain -- admittedly, badly needed after the summer's drought -- has been making up for lost time. We've had very little of that Mediterranean sun in recent weeks. The wind gusts so strong that they can topple heave planted pots, often knocks out internet when we least expect it. In recent days we've kept the fireplace at the ready in case we lose power, which means we lose heat as well.

Waves are 'Hawaii-sized'

It is the kind of weather that calls out for a warm beverage and an armchair and a journey to somewhere exciting.  Thanks to the written word, we've taken some interesting trips of late without setting foot outside the door. Here are some of our destinations and the writers who took us to them: 

Greek Islands:

We journeyed back in time and to two Greek islands with books written by Australian writer, Charmaine Clift. Clift and husband, George Johnston, also a writer packed their bags in 1954, leaving post-war London to live and write on a Greek island. 

Her first book, Mermaid Singing, tells of their life on the tiny island Kalymnos, known then as the home of sponge divers.  Not finding quite the life they were looking for they headed to Hydra and that story is told in her second book, Peel Me a Lotus.

Hydra Island, 2020

They lived for almost a decade on Hydra and were key players in the informal bohemian community of writers and artists there, a group that later included Leonard Cohen.

You need not be an expat to enjoy these tales of life on Greek islands in the mid-20th Century.


We headed back in time again reading in this historical novel by another Australian writer, S. C. Karakaltsas, The storyline going back and forth in time links the narrator, an old man, to his childhood  and the horrors it held.  A Perfect Stone is set in both in modern-day Australia and Greece during the time of its Greek Civil War, 1946 - 49.

Anyone who has dealt with aging parents will appreciate this book as well as those who have an interest in Greek history.


Yes, we've just returned from Italy and one souvenir I always bring back with me is a book about the place we are visiting, purchased from a real brick-and- mortar store there. Luckily Bologna, our first stop, is home to a university and has as many bookstores as it does coffee shops. It can be fact or fiction.

It was a murder mystery, A Quiet Death in Italy by Tom Benjamin that came home with us this time. It was such a page-turner that I've now ordered another of his books.  I was glad all we saw was the beautiful side of Bologna and not the sinister one we found in his novel although when the mist moved in at night and the streets emptied we could understand how he got his inspiration.

Bologna street scene


It has been far too long since we've been to France. We were supposed to go there last year but Covid took care of those plans. 

So I got my shot of Paris by finally getting around to reading a memoir published in 2005 by a Canadian journalist, Jeremy Mercer, who found himself living at the iconic bookstore, known as Shakespeare & Co.   I found Time Was Soft There a somewhat far-fetched memoir, but then again, I wasn't there and truth is often stranger than fiction!

Located near Notre Dame, the bookstore is still popular (you can follow it on social media or order books from it on-line). The most fun would be shopping there. It is located at 37 Rue de la Bucherie.

Middle East

The Middle East serves as the basis of the narrative but this action packed spy thriller has taken us from France, to England, the United States and Spain.  Another page turner by Daniel Silva with such detail that sometimes you forget it is only a novel. . .

Desert sands of the Middle East

The clouds are darkening and it could be time to light that fireplace soon. So I'll sign off for this time around. Hope you'll be back for a bit of Italian train travel. . .and thanks for your time today!

And I haven't mentioned it for awhile, but signing up to receive our posts as emails, is a snap with our new distribution service.  So if you liked this and want to hear regularly from us, just head to the TravelnWrite  home page and fill in your email address!

If you have some time how about telling us where you've armchair traveled to lately? We'd love to see some book recommendations from you!!

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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Italy ~Travel in a QR Code World

Our destination was Italy.  It was a trip to a neighboring country, less than two hours away by plane. Yet, it didn't take long to realize that while we knew where we were going, we were definitely traveling in a whole new world: the world of the QR code.

We'd flown from Athens to Bologna, the start of a 10-day trip, on a brisk November day two weeks ago. After unpacking it was time to get to the business of what we had come here for: eating and drinking Italian food and wine. 

The Scout, the wine and the QR code menu - Bologna

We were seated at a popular bar in Bologna's historic market district, on which two-inch by two-inch laminated cards with a QR codes served as the menu.

Italian wine - Mama Mia!

Now, I can't tell you how much we love Italian wine and how much we dislike QR codes. If you've followed our adventures for very long you know we call ourselves, 'techno dino's' for good reason. We are dinosaurs in a world of technology that long ago moved beyond our skills and understanding.  We are people who - heaven forbid! - often leave their mobile phones at home.

It turns out that  QR codes, short for 'quick response' codes, were invented back in the 1990's by a car manufacturer to track the components in car production. In the last year they have become the access point to menus, shopping, travel and are being used by any number of industries. The little black and white graphic squares hold far more information than the 'old' bar code.

No QR codes here - Yay!

Some retail stores place bar codes in windows so shoppers can make purchases without entering the store. Tickets for public transportation sport the little guys. And since the pandemic turned the world upside down, public health agencies on this side of the pond use them in contact tracing efforts --  notifying travelers of possible Covid exposure.  

We concede that in this Covid-influenced world, we must credit QR codes for providing a 'contactless' means of conducting business. And as a result, we techno-dino's - out of necessity -- have been forced to learn how to point the camera of a mobile device (aka smart phone) at them to access the information we need.  

So many wine bars from which to choose - Bologna

Information like the wines available at this bar we'd chosen in Bologna. So I aimed my Android device's camera at that small Italian square and read: 

'No network connection.' 

"But, of course!! (Fisica!) as we say in Greece. . .our Greek phone network doesn't work outside the country - so we had no way of accessing the mysteries of the menu in Italy. 

Explaining our dilemma to the 30-something waiter, we asked for a menu.  

Problem was, he explained, they didn't have a printed menu. With frustration causing greater thirst, The Scout, sought to solve the problem by saying, 'We will have two glasses of wine.' 

Well, that was far too simple a solution. There were choices to be had. A menu would be found! Within minutes our young waiter  presented us with a phone borrowed from a staff member - and on its screen was the wine menu. 

Yay, for the printed menu!

I am happy to report not all trattorias and bars have moved away from the printed menus and that made the trip a whole lot easier! But our experience at the bar highlighted the impact of  the QR code when traveling these days in Europe.

Don't leave home without it

One of our many QR codes for travel

'Check in now for your flight' came the email notice from Aegean Airlines, the day before our departure. Following instructions we promptly had two emails in return each with a QR code that needed to be shown at the check-in desk. 

Worried that we wouldn't have internet access in the airport (which is a well-reported problem for many travelers, as is the 'dead phone battery') we took both our Greek phones, charged them overnight at the airport hotel and opened each of them before we left the hotel to display a QR ticket code - The Scout on one phone and The Scribe on the other.

As if presenting gifts we placed the two phones showing the QR codes on the check-in counter. (Opening them and having the code displayed really was a gift in our minds.) The ticket agent glanced at them as he asked for our passports and then using the passports typed our names into his computer and said, 'You are going to Bologna?'  

With little attention paid to our QR codes, he printed paper boarding passes for us with the baggage claim tickets stuck on the back, just like in the 'good old days'. 

Off to Italy - PLF QR code in hand

The European Union rules for travel require completed the EU PLF's (that would be, European Union Passenger Locator Forms) for entry into each country. And each country has a slightly different take on them. Italy required one per passenger, Greece requires one per family. Forms are to be completed on-line prior to travel. 

The form is a lengthy document requiring, in some cases, details down to your seat number and the exact hour and minute your flight is scheduled to arrive.  Others aren't as detailed. The purpose of each however is to know how to reach you should it be determined you were exposed to Covid.

Immediately after submitting that form. . . .(you guessed it). . . a QR code is sent via email to your mobile device.  Our QR for Italy provided a link for downloading as a PDF document to our phone, which could be accessed without internet. We tried several times to download but got no further than the message reading, 'We are experiencing difficulties, try again later.'  So, we'd also opened those PLF QR codes before leaving the hotel and left those pages open - as they also had to be shown at check-in..

Rejected for not being 'official' enough. . .

Greece allows travelers to print the PLF but it comes out as only a QR code on the paper with a small letterhead. We had our printed copy rejected by an airline agent who said it didn't have enough proof of being issued by the Greek government.  Thankfully we found the PDF on the phone with printed information and QR code - it was accepted.

I should mention that you don't get beyond the check-in desk at the airport without showing that QR code, so it is a step key to travel. 

Green Pass -- QR code in hand

United States version of the 'green pass'

The European Union 'green pass', as the Covid vaccination record here is called, is another QR code on a mobile app provided by each EU government. You must show it to travel, for access to tourist attractions like museums, restaurants, bars, to shop in retail stores - nearly every public place you want to go these days.  

Those of us vaccinated in the United States, carry a card that has information about our vaccinations on them. While we don't like QR codes it would be so much easier to travel (and to go about daily life for that matter) if we did have them only a phone away.  

On several occasions in the last couple weeks I have found myself holding out the cards to a perplexed gate keeper, pointing to the notations of our three shots and saying, 'American, Pfizer, ena, dio, tria,' in Greek and 'American, Pfizer, un, due, tre' in Italian.

Our CDC cards were checked by the airline, train and three of the four hotels in which we stayed. Museums also scrutinized the cards. The cards were accepted by all who reviewed them. 

But not once in the 10-day trip were we asked by an Italian bar or restaurant to show our cards. Other customers were being asked to show green passes on their phones. We reasoned that either we looked and sounded like tourists, who wouldn't have been allowed in the country without vaccinations or they didn't want to deal with our cards and matching the names and date of births on them to that information in our passports.

Trains, ferries and buses - QR codes 

QR code on train tickets

Train tickets in Italy carry the QR code which is quickly scanned by the conductor as they make their way through the train. We purchased tickets from a ticket counter and received paper tickets, had we done it on line we would have had e-tickets.

The ferries that shuttle people through the canals of Venice also have gone to an optical reading system, no longer time and date stamping the tickets but using electronic coding instead.  

Paper tickets sold at the ticket office

We traveled on the airport shuttle bus between the Bologna airport and train station, where electronic readers have also replaced the time/date stamp of the on board validation machines.

While traveling in the techno-world is still a bit of a challenge for us, we can't tell you how nice it was to travel again.  There were plenty of tourists and folks out and about but none of the crowds of pre-Covid travel. 

We are wondering what your travel experiences in the QR code world have been like?  Have any of you been contacted by an airline or government agency using the PLF information after a trip? Shoot us an email or tell us about them in the comments below.

Hope you'll be back next week when we'll have another serving of Italy for you. Thanks, as always, for the time you've spent with us today!  

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Saturday, November 13, 2021

Expat life - An Old House Made New

The jackhammer's pounding on the floor above us rattled the ceiling, the walls and our brains. From the furthest points in the upper garden to the lowest level of the olive grove, there was no getting away from it.

The Stone House on the Hill

For two and a half days, the racket of those mechanical waves dislodging and destroying the massive centerpiece our living room, shattered the silence of this rural slice of Greece. It nearly shattered our resolve for the project as well, as we cringed, encamped in the guest room on the lower floor.

So painfully obnoxious was the sound, that our next-door neighbor said he'd been ready to start wearing his noise cancelling headphones inside his home.

The Stone House on the Hill

While I had once chuckled at the hilarious tales of stone house renovations recounted by writers Peter Mayle in France and Frances Mayes in Italy, I found nothing humorous about it now that we were experiencing it first hand at our Stone House on the Hill in the Greek Peloponnese.

If the sound didn't do us in, I was certain we'd be asphyxiated by the concrete and stone dust that filled the house. 

And had we succumbed to one or the other, we'd have had no one else to blame but ourselves. . . we had chosen this path of destruction and there was no turning back.

Time for a Change

The Stone House on the Hill built in terraced olive grove

Early this year, we had declared it the Year of Change at our spitiki, small house, in Kalamata olive growing country. The layout of our Stone House on the Hill follows that of our olive grove which marches down the hillside on steep terraces. Thus the three floors of our home are built on terraces that were long ago carved into the hillside to accommodate olive trees. Stairs lead to the house and stairs connect the floors of the house.

The early years look at The Stone House on the Hill

Our 15-year-old house (still an infant when viewed in the overall span of Greek history) felt and looked tired when we bought it. In the seven years we've owned it, there have been small cosmetic changes, but this year would herald a major makeover. It was definitely time for a face lift and body sculpting!

New closets were installed in July which provide more storage space, yet take up less floor space than the originals that came with the house. 

Our new front door 

That same month we gave the house its first facelift by replacing the original muted green windows and doors with energy efficient ones - their vibrant blue giving new life to the interior and exterior of the home.

Tile replaced flagstone on the front deek

With October's summer-like weather the third of four projects was completed. It was another facelift,  the installation of tiles on our outdoor deck to create more of an outdoor room than flag-stone paved patio. And it worked! The project brightens the deck and gives the feel of having increased the space. 

Tiled Outdoor room/deck at The Stone House on the Hill

Buoyed by the outcomes of those projects, we moved to the grand finale, or what will now forever be remembered as 'the mother of all projects' here. We were finally getting rid of the massive stone stairway that looked as if it belonged in the lobby of some grand hotel and not the small living room in our house. 

Dreams Undeterred

The original stone stairs in The Stone House

Throughout the spring and summer I would imagine a house without that massive stairway. Okay, so  maybe I was obsessing about it, but I'd grab my tape measure, or metro, and  I would measure the structure and announced to The Scout that we would create 'x-amount' of living space if we were just to get rid of 'those' stairs. In fact I announced it to every visitor who walked through the front door and to any poor soul who would listen to me.

The Scout, using that voice-of-reason tone that husband's often use, pointed out how miserable the project would likely be as we'd need to remove its stone and concrete base, read that: dirt and dust. Then we'd likely find more stone and concrete inside. (He was right, btw.)

His even more spot-on reality check was that we had no idea how to go about coordinating such a project and certainly didn't know of any stair contractors.  

The truck said 'stairs' - we were on our way!

Fate was with us (as it so often is in this expat life) as one morning we literally drove past the van of a stair building company working on a house in the village. One Greek word I know is skala, or stairs, and it appeared on the side of the van. By afternoon the contractor was at our house. We shook hands on his proposal and the project was underway!

Paniotis, the 'stair master' as we named him, returned a few days later with the men who would destroy and rebuild the living area. He set out the plan of action: demolition, rebuild of the wall and re-tile the space exposed by the stair removal. Like dominoes falling, those steps would be completed and then he could install a much more compact open wooden stairway. 

Two weeks was the estimate from start to finish.

Out with the Old, In With the New

Provlima: wires ran through the stairs

The demolition was barely into its second hour when the workers called out, 'Ella! . . .Provlima!' (Come! Problem!).  Removing the wooden treads had revealed not only more concrete under the stairs but a major bank of electrical wires that ran their full length from the wall to the floor. 

Provlima solved - meeting of the minds

The team - stair builder, demolition duo, the tiler and the recently-added electrician -  gathered at the stairway that afternoon in a hastily called meeting. We took our places as spectators.  They scratched chins and  heads, pointed and measured. Voices sometimes raised, as is the case of most Greek conversations, options were discussed. 

After a time, Paniotis turned to us and said, 'Yes, we can do this.'  He drew a plan of action sketch, all viewed it, and it was taped to the refrigerator door as a handy reference.  

The plan on the back of an envelope

The meeting adjourned and  the jackhammer resumed its destructive percussion.

Jackhammer serenade resumed

What seemed an eternity later, the jackhammers were silenced, the space cleared and, our master stone mason began putting the wall back together, creating a niche for adornment and then floor tiling was completed.  We marveled at his skill in putting the house back together.

Stone mason magic

Much of the stair work had been done in the Kalamata workshop so installation required one very long work day.

The new stairs

Day 12 found us up to our elbows cleaning concrete dust that had escaped despite the best attempts at sealing off the workspace. Cleaning finished, furniture moved back into place and by Day 14 we were settled into our new Stone House on the Hill -- one that now has an enormous amount of space in the living area.

Footprint of the old stairway

Time to Travel

We are now back to doing what we do best: planning and packing for travel.  As Covid continues to dictate protocols and preparation for travel, countries on this side of the pond are open and welcoming travelers. 
Protocols and preparations begin for travel

Way back when we bought our stone house it was to serve as a launchpad for adventures.  It is time we start using it as just that!  We are off next week. . .and I'll tell you about it in upcoming posts. Until then wishes for continued health and happy travels to you and yours. Hope you'll be back and bring a friend or two with you! And as always, thanks for your time today. 

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