It has been a busy year of traveling, biking, and agility training and trialing with Louie. Luckily, I have been in great physical shape for all of it, until now. After a pause over the winter, Louie and I got back to trialing in the spring, and he earned his Open Jumpers with Weaves title at the Princeton trial in April – hurray! On one hand it is great to earn a new title and advance to the next level, on the other hand, then you have to advance to the next level where the courses are longer and harder and you are allowed fewer, or no mistakes. After Greece and Idaho, I had us registered for three weekend trials in a row in the hope of getting our Open Standard title at one of those events. It was a tremendous high to have a clean run and get a qualifying score and the third needed leg for the title on the first day back in the competition ring. The next weekend, we were finally with all the “big kids” in the advanced courses, and even though Louie did really well and stayed with me with minimal mistakes, we didn’t qualify in either the Excellent Jumpers class or our first time at Excellent Standard. The third weekend was a bust for Louie and for me.
It has been a whirlwind year of travel for me! Back in April, a girlfriend of mine from my bike club told me about a trip she was planning to complete her “50 in the 50’s challenge” – a physically active trip in all 50 states while she was in her 50’s. Idaho was the last state she needed, and even though she was now 61, she was allowing for the lost years of fires and COVID. It sounded like a great adventure and I signed on. We would be camping with mountain biking, hiking and white-water rafting, quite a challenging itinerary. My attitude at this point is, “if I am in good physical shape, I might as well do it while I can!”
We had this trip mostly planned for June of 2020 and my 60th birthday, but COVID struck, and we cancelled it along with everything else. Luckily, we hadn’t bought plane tickets or paid any money to the tour organizer. Then, one January afternoon in Maui as I meditated on the hillside overlooking the sea and islands, the thought floated into my mind, “I think it is our 40thanniversary this June…we should take that trip to Greece!” It was very easy to reconstruct the itinerary with the incredibly helpful travel agent, Takis, who plans trips for the Hellenic Studies Department at PU. Prices were more expensive than they were in 2020, but still very reasonable compared to the rest of Europe. Traveling in early June we were also very lucky with the weather, which was cool and cloudy before the blistering heat of the summer set in.
After an uneventful direct flight from Newark to Athens, we arrived in Greece on June 11, our anniversary day. We were met at the airport and taken to our lovely hotel, the Herodion, only a short walk to the Acropolis Museum and charming Plaka district. We walked around a bit and rested in the afternoon before a delicious cocktail at the hotel’s rooftop bar, followed by a magnificent dinner at the famous Dionysis Restaurant overlooking the south face of the Acropolis – a suitably grand way to celebrate this major milestone in our relationship!