Last week we officially lifted the curse that had been cast upon us.
Back in ancient Greece curses were a real thing. And for a time, I'd started thinking they were a real thing in this 21st century Greece as well. It seemed as if we had been targeted by the famed and feared 'evil eye' and a curse or spell had been cast upon us.
|Mati's to ward off the 'evil eye'|
Although our Stone House on the Hill sports any number of 'matis' the Greek icons that are believed to ward off the evil eye, we had fallen victim to our curse sometime during or in the aftermath of 'those Covid years'.
For that reason, I named it, the Covid Curse.
|Amathus archeological site in Cyprus|
In comparison to some Greek curses that have been cast over the centuries, ours was a mild one. It thankfully was nothing at all like the one unearthed in 2008 during excavations of Amathus, the ancient city state in Cyprus. Archeologists there in 2008 discovered a lead tablet, believed to date back for centuries, on which was written, 'may your penis hurt when you make love' and with it the image of a man holding in his hand something described as being the shape of an hourglass.
Our curse was one that didn't inflict pain or hardship on us, just a bit of mental anguish and embarrassment. It seemed to have made us: castaways.
|Visitors return to the village in droves.|
While expat friends in the village began welcoming houseguests as soon as the Covid travel restrictions lifted, we waited . . . and waited . . .and waited. No one came to visit. No one even mentioned coming to visit. In the pre-Covid years we had guests both coming to the village and to our home to see us and our world at regular intervals.
|A long-haul flight between West Coast USA and Greece|
For a time, we reasoned that it was the lingering fears of Covid that kept them away, or perhaps, the distance they would need to travel. The majority of our guests - back when we had them - came from Washington State in the US Pacific Northwest.
But then our friend Chuck, who hails from the same Washington town and now lives just down the road, started using a calendar to keep track of his upcoming guests. Then our expat friends from California, now just down the road the other direction in the village, started using a calendar to keep track of their guests. Another couple from Portland, Oregon has also been hosting guests from back home regularly.
|Easter dinner with expat friends and their guests|
Thankfully those expat friends who had guests let us share them - inviting us to join them for holiday celebrations, dinners, drinks or morning coffees. Friends quit asking if we had guests coming anytime soon.
Finally, The Curse is Lifted
For a time, I actually thought that maybe what we needed was a 'curse expert', one who in ancient times, specialized in the writing of curses and spells, according to historian/archeologist and author Jessica Lamont. I figured if they could write a curse or spell, they could probably conjure up a removal incantation of some sort as well.
Lamont, by the way, is an expert on the subject and her most recent book published by Oxford Press is titled, 'In Blood and Ashes, Curse Tablets and Binding Spells in Ancient Greece'.
|Curse was lifting. Dinner with two sets of visitors!!|
Before we resorted to some sort of exorcism, we started seeing signs of the curse losing power. A blogger friend visited at the same time as friends returned to finish the visit, they'd cut short in 2020 when Greece closed down for Covid.
|48 hours of guests. . .how great it was to see friends!|
Then former neighbors of ours in Kirkland, WA, now of California, tacked on a side trip to the Mani to visit us as part of a whirlwind Greek trip. We had a fabulous 48 hours with them in June.
The curse was officially lifted last week with the arrival of our first houseguest since November 2019.
|Curse was lifted: our first houseguest since Nov. 2019|
My friend and writing colleague, Brian Cantwell, (cub reporters together in our 20's and then he became my travel editor at the Seattle Times, during my freelance years) arrived for a long weekend stay as part of his 10-day tour of Greece. Brian lives on a remote San Juan Island, called Center Island, year-round population of 10 households. He adapted well to our rural Peloponnese expat world. He writes of life on his island at Cantwell's Reef. He also wrote about his time with us if you want his take on the visit!
|Exploring our world with our guest|
His arrival at the Kalamata bus station on a Friday kicked off a long weekend of eating, touring, drinking, touring, hiking and swimming that continued until his Tuesday departure.
The curse was lifted!
It was like the olden days of having guests! But just as he admitted being rusty at travel logistics (his first trip after Covid) we were a bit rusty at being hosts. It was good to get back into practice again.
More to Come?
|Our slice of the Mani|
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|Travel isn't for sissies!|