30 Mar

The adventures of a greek celebrant

Since I’ve started with failed GPS stories that led me in some amazing places, I believe it’s time to share my adventure in Skiathos island in the distant 2018. It was July 13th and as soon as I arrived in Skiathos I went straight to my hotel in order to settle in. I had traveled from Volos city with the ferry to Sporades. It wasn’t my first visit to the island. Our rehearsal with Victoria and Patrick was arranged at 1 p.m. They had told me that Agios Alexandros was in the east part of the island, meaning on the other side of the main town and port. So, I already knew that it would be a long drive thus I had brought my car with me since taxi was not an option. I got ready and 40’ prior to our meeting started driving. According to my friend, GPS, it was a 35’ drive via the short route and there was another option of an hour’s drive. To my defense the longer route seemed like it would send me north and then east and according to my “friend” both were main road routes that at some point would lead on a smaller one heading to Agios Alexandros. After 2’ the GPS command me to turn left. I should have decided right then and there to change plans and take the longer route. The left turn was a steep up-road that seemed absolutely untrustworthy. I thought I was going to be late and then their Greek celebrant would be the untrustworthy one. I turned left. I got a bit stressed given the driving was a bit challenging. Little had I known the worst was yet to come. After some time, I reached a road that seemed safe. There were even some signs. An arrow was reassuring me that I was on the right path to Agios Alexandros. Thank god my torture was over. I turned right. Soon I met another crossroad. No sign or arrow, not a clue. It was GPS time. Soon I had to take a dirt road. I thought ok, the main road of the island does not lead to my destination, it’s perfectly understandable, I knew this already. I was driving for a good 15’ and no sign of Agios Alexandros. Another crossroad; my GPS informed me that I should turn right. The road was leading to some property. I was desperate. How could I find the right path? WHY THE GPS SCREAMS “TURN RIGHT” WHEN IT MEANS THE NEXT TURN? I cannot recollect how many times I had gone back and forth until the road had no crossroads. According to my “friend” I had already reached Agios Alexandros but I was in the middle of nowhere. I was still driving on the track road when I realized there was no phone signal. A few minutes later I was relieved to finally see a hill with a beautiful white chapel. A found a convenient olive tree and parked under its shadow. No sign of life. I started walking up to the chapel area. OH MY GOD! Oh, the views! On the right there was an arch. I passed under it and got to the front of the balcony. There wasn’t a beach just steep rocks; I was on a cape. A breathtaking cape on the east of Skiathos. In front of me endless blue. Not a thing that could block the view of the Aegean. It was - and still is- one of the most memorable sights I’ve ever been to. So, I was super excited about the views and eager to find different spots to admire it from. I started taking selfies, deep breaths but I was still alone. The fact that there was no sign perception got me a bit worried. 15’ had passed and no one was in sight. What if my couple was trying to reach me to let me know that something came up? What if our meeting was not at Agios Alexandros and I’d messed up? I felt helpless and I was scared being there by my own. 5’ minutes later a group of cars approached. I prayed it was my couple. It was my couple and their entourage! I welcomed them excited and relieved. We did our spacing and then I met Soula! Soula is the mother of the bride and had bought a house in Skiathos even though has no link to the island. She lives in South Africa and spends her summers in Skiathos. She then let me know that we would use her mother’s Stefana, the ones she had herself used at her marriage and that she wished to perform the stefana ritual herself at her daughter's wedding. I was thrilled! These stefana had been used to two orthodox weddings in South Africa and now we would use them to commemorate their heritage. You must know by now that I’m a fool for heirlooms passing through family so I was genuinely happy! Victoria and Patrick were amazing. They were welcoming and I was so glad to be their celebrant. Until this day are so agreeable and helpful whenever I ask them to help out. I love Soula. I always send my best to her whenever I speak to Victoria. Guess what. Driving back to my hotel felt like a piece of cake. Of course, the day of the wedding I once more took the short route to Agios Alexandros since by that time I was a pro!

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