We had been watching the weather reports diligently for over two weeks to find a break in the rain and cold so we could try out some new camping gear at a secluded site. Finally, there were rumors that we might have a full 24 hours of relative sunny weather before yet another storm was to descend on the island. So, with hope in our hearts and wine in the cooler (oh, and some food, too), we set out with friends to a secluded rocky cove on the Rodoupou peninsula.
We stopped in the little seaside town of Kolymbari, a thriving tourist town in the summer months that was all but closed down when we arrived on this clear February day. We did manage to find a taverna that with an open door and were greeted by the owner who was surprised to have four “tourists” walk into his place. I believe he was even more surprised and pleased that we wanted to order lunch. Clearly alone, he was the waiter, cook and busboy for the day. He graciously opened the kitchen and proceeded to personally whip up a meal for us. We thought we ordered something small, quick, and simple – “pork pita souvlaki to go.” After listening to the pots and pans rattle around in the kitchen for about 30 minutes, he presented us with a pile of ENORMOUS pork chops and all the fixin’s on a huge tray complete with table settings (“to go” must have translated to “take the tray to the park outside the taverna and sit on the wall.”) Such a sweet man, and such a delicious lunch, we decided to park ourselves down at the nearest table and dive in.
After a peek at the Monastery of Gonia outside of Kolymbari, we headed up the road to Afrata relishing in the blessings of full tummies, stellar weather and great fellowship. We stopped at a friend’s house to say hi and thanks to Kirsty’s generosity we had extra firewood to last us the night. (She and another friend eventually crashed our party later that night and following a few campfire stories we introduced these two deprived Brits to the gourmet camping delicacy without which a campfire is just a campfire – S’mores.)
Our campsite was a tiny empty cove that boasted a great view, easy access and a perfect flat surface where we pitched our tents.
No wind, no rain, and plenty of food and friendship made for a memorable evening. There’s nothing like sitting around a campfire to bring out the laughter, reminiscing and finally the soul sharing that we appreciate with good friends in the Lord. God has blessed us many times over with placing people in our lives who point towards Him and as the conversation turned towards the real stuff in life, we all marveled at His goodness.
The darkness settled in and a brilliant canopy of stars filled the night sky and then, just as we thought it couldn’t get any better… the moon rose over the water…