By DREMA DRUDGE
(Fiction, Spring 2013)
Greece has always been on my bucket list. Imagine how thrilling, then, to learn that I could go with not only my husband, Barry Drudge, (a current Spalding MFA candidate) but with our Spalding family.
From the Byron poetry reading at the Temple of Poseidon in front of the block that Byron carved his name into, to our magical visit to the Acropolis in Athens, the trip did not disappoint.
Being there during the historical economic Referendum was also something we will never forget.
Even the tourist areas offered treasures beyond the expected. When we were taken by a hand painted plaque of Apollo, the artist rushed out and offered to touch it up for us and to sign her name on the back. She also invited us in to see the rest of her work, though we didn’t have time to take advantage of it. We think of her every time we glance at her Grecian blue art.
Greek salad for breakfast every day, souvlaki on a stick, Greek honey and croissants, a multitude of olives…the food was amazing and never ending, it seemed.
At Fodele, the all-inclusive resort in Crete, we found time to relax with alums and students in the evenings. The traditional Spalding abroad sing-along was held on the beach this time, the waves competing with the music led by Barry and Atul until the setting sun had long since disappeared.
Surprises popped up as if Greece had been preparing them just for us: I found a highly decorated, ancient chapel on a morning walk hiding on a hillside, just out of sight. I ran back to get Barry and insisted that he and the camera accompany me to it before breakfast.
Even when we weren’t being tourists or students, every time we looked up there was someone who would “get” our obscure joke about the Bloomsbury group or who would gladly accompany us to dinner. Or rescue us when we had been abandoned at the wrong site by our taxi driver. (True story.)
All of this was only sweetened by the insightful, instructive lectures and the impressive readings by both students and staff. We discussed books we had all read (always a luxury) and were even able to ask the authors who were there questions (definitely a luxury) about them.
My journal is overflowing with publishing tidbits, websites and books to check out, traveling ephemera, and page after page of inspiration, ideas, and gratitude for this experience that has not – could not – leave me unchanged. A traditional tour booked through an agency could get you to Greece, but it couldn’t hope to offer all the rest.