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RTW Meet In Athens

June 12, 2007

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“Kidsnall” left Toronto going west around the same time we headed east to Europe and during our planning stages, we discussed possibly meeting in the mediterranean some where as it seemed our paths might cross there. They have a boy and girl who are now six and eight and the boy is almost the exact same age as Mozart, so they were both five when we started. It is hard to believe how far we have come mentally, spiritually and physically from those hectic days last spring and summer as we prepared for our round the world destinies. 

We met thru the Bootsnall forum (www.bootsnall.com) and they have a blog too there at (www.blogs.bootsnall.com/kidsnall/) about their journey. As you have seen in the past, it is always a hit and miss when we try to connect with people as it is not always easy when both parties are on the move
and making it up as they go. We were not sure if we were going to make it or not as we emailed back and forth, but we squeaked in time for a quick visit in Athens the day we arrived, for early dinner together, the night before they left for Cairo.

We are glad we did as it was really fun sharing “war stories” and swapping advice about our round the world adventures. They were great and the kids just loved each other so we wished we had had a few days to spend together instead of a few hours. They became instant best friends as they have a lot in common and loved chatting about it to one another.

We met in the main square at the always ubiquitous McDonalds which is a kid magnet and then walked around until we found one of the many outdoor restaurants in the Plaka area near the Acropolis. While
we waited in line for a quick ice cream at Mickey D’s, and they walked from their hostel to meet us,
an American woman approached us when she heard us talking. She was from Michigan which is where I was born, and she was so in love with Greece that she was in the process of moving to Santorini. We had a fun conversation with her while we waited to meet our friends and like so many, she told Mozart how lucky she was to be getting these experiences at her age.

The waiters put the tables together and we were not the quietest group in the restaurant, but that does
not seem to be a problem in jovial Greece where kids are adored. The kids had a gigantic dish of plain spaghetti with fresh parmesan on top for each (even though we had asked for small kids plates), while we enjoyed more typical Greek food. Although they also took a bite or two of the chicken slouvaki and enjoyed their share of tzisiki with pita bread.

There is lots of wifi in this area and “kidsnall” took out her laptop and we almost wrote an email to “gogirl” who was also in on the planning stage talks and on a round the world trip with her two young teen daughters. She also left with her family a little later than us, from Missouri, USA and headed west and was also in the Med area at this point in her trip. I had recently “talked” to her when she was in Turkey and knew she was in Cairo at this moment. The signal was too weak to email, but we may yet end up meeting with her as she is coming to Greece next and we will be here a while.

Since she had her laptop out, “kidsnall” showed us some pictures of her trip of things we were discussing like Nepal and meeting their foster child in India which were highlights for them. We filled them in on adventures that we had in Morocco, Holland , Belgium and parts of Spain that they will not see as well as our village life in the winter and they advised us on Bali,Thailand and Cooks Island which we will do later. We had both just done a quick tour of Italy and they just went to some of the same places we went to in France, so we compared impressions. We talked about homeschooling on the road and the joy of traveling with kids around the world. There are not too many families with kids this age that you can discuss these things with! They will be heading home soon, so we’re so glad that this worked out, as it was our only shot.

We really enjoyed our time together and were grateful that we got this opportunity to meet in person. It was hard to get the kids to separate and Mozart still talks about them and wonders when she will see them next. We were near the Palace, so we watched the changing of the guard when we separated, which they had recommended, and it was a good distraction. We have never seen a changing of the guard like this and it was quite a fascinating ritual.

Every round the world trip is different as the world is a big place with just too much to see and experience even on the slowest trip, but there are certain commonalities, especially when traveling as a family, that one shares and it is worthwhile to connect. Once again, thanks to the internet, we met “friends” in real life that we knew from online communities.

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