Pandemics are great times to think back upon the romantic moments in our lives. Normally I am always planning my next family vacation or “holiday” as I term them, but during the Covid-19 days, not planning to travel for awhile, I find myself reminiscing more about past adventures. In 2008, we fulfilled the dreams of both my son and myself, spending just short of a month in Greece. It was overall a delightful experience for the three of us
For holidays, I enjoy planning, into our itinerary, a little unexpected surprise for my two guys. Frankly, I do the planning, so most aspects of our trips are surprises; but a little something that I feel will be a bit more special or memorable. I tell them that I have made specific plans for a specific date but refrain from telling them what we will be doing. I look back on this particular excursion with joy for it was brimming with romance, as was my intention.
The date, May 23. The time, late afternoon. Sometimes my hubby is uncertain whether to be excited about my “surprises” or apprehensive. I think he immediately relaxed when we joined the driver I had arranged in his large yellow Mercedes taxi. I could almost feel the sigh of relief, “Ahhhh, at least we aren’t driving.”
My destination was the ancient Temple of Poseidon on Cape Souion. Our driver would transport us along the scenic drive, stopping here and there, showing us different places and allowing us to take in the vistas along this portion of Greece.
And of course, it was beautiful. Then we would have dinner and arrive at Souian in time to see the ancient temple in full light, and then, to watch the sunset.
The restaurant was perfect, a locally owned Taverna along the water's edge, with a view of the Temple in the background. I knew a fresh seafood dinner would please Mike, and to gaze upon the water and temple while enjoying it, sounded perfect for my plan. We were remarkably early for dinner, which In Greece was typically around 9 or 10 pm, so we had the spot to ourselves. Dinner was delicious and we had the best seat in the house.
Forty-three miles southeast of Athens, on the southernmost tip of the peninsula of Attica, lies the promontory Cape Souian. It is most well known for its elegant Doric Temple of Poseidon, one of the dominant monuments of the Golden Age of Athens. First appearing in literature in Homer's Odyssey, the promontory is shrouded in legends. It is considered to be the place where Aegeus ended his life by jumping from the cliffs, tormented by the thought that his son Theseus had not been successful in killing the Minotaur in Crete. The tragedy was that his son was victorious; he had merely forgotten to replace the black sail with the white one when he sailed home. Aegeus was immortalized by naming the sea in his honor. I fondly remember listening to Greek mythology on audiotape in the car with my son as a toddler; his childhood predated car videos for the most part. We listened to Theseus and the Minotaur very frequently. I think it may have been a favorite for both of us.
The weather was gorgeous. The sky was blue. The ocean was bluer. I don't frequently encounter perfection, but when I do, it remains with me. This was indeed the perfect spot for a Temple to Poseidon, the ancient Greek God of the sea.The Temple's remains stand high on the bluff surrounded by the sea on three sides.
Because Sounion commanded the seafaring lanes to Athens, it was fortified to guard Athens' maritime interests; Sounian bay, just beneath the promontory, has hosted regattas in honor of Poseidon since ancient times. This promontory and temple would be seafarers' last glimpse of Greece as they departed and their first glimpse upon their return. That sounds romantic to my spirit.
The sunset over the Aegean Sea was lovely. Greece has gorgeous sunsets and Cape Souioun is an outstanding spot for enjoying them.
If in Athens, do find the time to visit the magical spot of Cape Sounion. The contrast between the hustle and bustle of Athens to this serene spot is tremendous. I personally avoided the tour bus groups, arriving just after they departed for the day, and what can I say, it was memorably romantic.