A Travellerspoint blog

The People We Meet Along the Way

If I could pack people up into memory boxes...

View Crete, Greece on lelanius's travel map.

The intrigue of travel can begin with the interesting and thought-provoking people we meet as early as the onset of the journey, as the people of the place can not be overlooked for the place itself.

A few interesting people have definitely graced the pages in this new adventure story in my life. These are a few of our shared stories.

When I was boarding my very first flight out of the states, I heard an announcement that there would be no meal served on board. I was already starting to have a nasty headache and badly needed some Excedrin Migraine, so I hesitantly asked a very distinguished looking gentleman in airline uniform if there would be water available for purchase on our flight. He kindly replied in the positive and I sat down satisfied that I did not need to buy a water at the airport and bring it on board. After we boarded and were seated, I was surprised but grateful when I saw the same uniformed gentleman come straight to my seat and personally give me a free bottled water! It turned out that he was the captain!

Every fight I was on, people wanted to talk to me, especially on the international flights, as they wanted to learn where I was from and why I was going to their country. Everyone was so curious but so nice. A long-haired, long-legged, pale-skinned American, I was quite the novelty to them! On the plane to Poland, a kind airline steward moved me to another seat so I would have more leg room after a woman crunched my legs when she reclined her seat back to sleep, and I ended up sitting next to an interesting gentleman named Tomas who told me various stories of his grandparents’ experiences in the ghetto of Warsaw, Poland, during the Holocaust after the Nazi invasion. After bringing tears to my eyes, he invited me to see his splendid homeland and shared snippets of culture and insights that only a native can provide. When we finally arrived to Poland, he looked out of the window with deep pride and then said to me in a rich, Slavic voice that people in Hollywood can only imitate at best, “This is Poland. Welcome to my country.” A definite highlight to my trip! Tomas helped me navigate my way through the Polish airport until we each had to go our separate ways.

The fight from Warsaw to Athens brought a fresh adventure after my earlier flight was late on arrival and I rushed, ran, huffed through the Polish airport at warp speed to catch my connecting flight. After a very hot, red-faced, and uber sweaty version of myself boarded the flight to Athens, I realized that seated next to me was a German man who was trying to ask me something. Sadly enough, I realized how truly physically and mentally exhausted I was when I realized I couldn’t even remember my six years of German classes in order to simply respond. Luckily, a fellow multi-lingual passenger offered to translate: would I be willing to switch places with his wife (a few seats back) so they could be together? Of course I switched. When I moved to his wife’s seat, I ended up next to a positive delight of a lady named Agnieszka (Polish name meaning Agnes in English), who literally filled my mind with fascinating stories of the beautiful country that is Greece. Talkative but very delightful, she has been spending the past eight years in Greece on and off and told me all about everything. A beautiful and vibrant lady was she, and her sheer excitement and buoyancy were contagious. We became something of necessary friends, however, and I am glad of it because, when I got to Athens airport and had to gather a trolley and file a lost baggage claim, she was the one to lend me the Euro and help me out as much as she could. I will be forever grateful to the strangers who so kindly helped me out in time of need!

After missing the connecting flight from Athens to Chania and purchasing a new ticket for a flight which was also delayed, I was at last seated between a man who refused to turn off his electronics during the flight and a young lady from the UK who was a frequent traveler to Crete. While the airline stewardesses passed out refreshments, she told me stories that would whet the appetite of any tourist. Just as we were finishing our snack and drink, the captain of the plane asked for people to return to their seats and fasten their seatbelts for our descent and landing. The British lady to my left lit up radiantly and beamed, “We have arrived!”

So have I arrived? Hardly.

Ah, but my journey has just begun!

Posted by lelanius 06:06 Archived in Poland

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