Would you like a little coffee?
Here in Greece, where a cup of coffee is more expensive than anywhere else in Europe, where you choose to drink it means a lot. Each cafe bar, expresso joint, kafeneio--even Starbucks in down town Athens--has it's own particular personality and its own set of devotees.
And would you believe it, decaf is now available! I guess it is a case of the market demand by those of us who like to get up in the early morning for a stroll in the cool and quiet before all the madness begins. Can't do this if amped up at 200 am with a frappe...
Here in my "hometown" of Paleochora, Crete, there are so many choices for coffee that it would take three weeks to exhaust them all. In the evening, such as now as I am writing in an internet cafe, the main street is closed off and the cafe tables are brought into the street. It seems that EVERYONE in town, tourists and locals alike, is out for a stroll and something to drink. It is wonderful to walk the friendly gantlet and run into a distant cousin. We'll walk together and greet the townspeople, talking about family history, politics, or maybe remembering the red-haired Barbarossa, who ruined the Venetian castle here so many years ago.
The town has gone through many successive eras since then. A few days ago the local troupe of traditional singers and dancers paid tribute in the main square to those killed during the Nazi occupation and near destruction of the town. Now there is cheerful prosperity everywhere you look, but as in all of Crete, the memories run deep.