GREEK NOSTALGIA, OR THE ENDLESS PAIN OF A WOUND. Yes, Pain of an old wound: that is, exactly, in Greek, the meaning of the world nostalgia (νοσταλγία). That’s exactly what I’ve felt for the last fifteen months and a bunch of days within my soul. A painful emptiness that I was not able to heal with any medicine, nor to fill in with any trip or any destination. No matter how far, how beautiful. No matter how hard I tried.
I’ve spent my afternoon reading about the Greek language since I wanted to write a sensible post. It did not surprise me a bit to find that the origins of the world nostalgia derive from the term νόστος (nóstos, “a return home”) combined with ἄλγος (álgos, “pain, suffering”). I immediately traveled back in time, getting to the sight of the big logo Greek Tourism Board displayed at the London Travel Market: Greece, welcome home.
Why is it that I consider this country my home and its people my brothers? I don’t speak their language, I don’t profess their religion, I was not born on their land. And still, my heart starts beating fast whenever I know I’ll be getting home.
A series of coincidences will be taking me to Athens during another tourism event for the promotion of the land. I will be honest: Greece ignites my senses for such a long series of deeper reasons that I do not intend to bore any reader with technical details of trade fairs. What I want to share is my excitement, my delight, my pleasure. I feel like a little child who’s about to meet Santa.
City of dreams
I’ve dreamed of you all of my life. I’ve dreamed your streets and your late midday colors, your dawns and sunsets. I have imagined endless series of ancient columns, one next to the other, reminding the world the perfection that resides in beauty and the beauty living in humanity.
I’ve fancied myself holding your hands, Athens, and you carelessly escorting me around, in the silence of the night. With the background lullaby of cats moaning on your rooftops. With the pungent smells of octopus and oregano coming from your open windows, the breath of your kisses of ouzo. Athens, you’re finally going to kiss me.
I’ve been secretly having a love affair with you, with a city I don’t even know. My heart bled in agony when you suffered, sang with joy when you exulted, and pounded with anger every time you got hurt, when you were beaten and humiliated.
Greece, we will finally meet again.
Athens, you will finally hug me with strength and enchant me for real. For ever.
I will now be able to prove this madness about you. And you will also be allowed to stop me from leaving. How could one ever want to leave home? I’m about to meet Zeus… and to see you, Athens.
I’m going home.Greek Tourism Expo 2015 – Athens Greek Nostalgia
Very special thanks to Claudia Toffolon, featured photographer.
Claudia Toffolon is a passionate traveler and amazing photographer. I was lucky enough to meet her a couple of months ago in a group of travelers and we became good friends. We share the same love for certain destinations, among them Greece. She loves this country in a way I can really understand, and since she has already been to Athens, I sent her an e-mail and asked her to kindly offer me a picture that represented this city well. She sent me so many wonderful pictures it was a hard task to choose, and even if I said I just needed one, I could not resist using two of them in this post.
I not only thank her immensely for her great generosity, but I also invite you to visit her website, her Facebook account and follow her Instagram feed. You will be amazed to see how wonderful her pictures are and how her passion produces incredible masterpieces. I hope to feature more of her work soon!
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