The old man of Iraklion

The drive from Vamos in Crete to Iraklion, the capital city of Crete on a highway that skirts along the sea was therapeutic, even though I do not carry the same opinion about driving in Greece in general 🙂 We don’t see those kind of highways here in India and even though we know that there exists similar (and even better) highways around the world that meander along the coastline, this was a very exciting journey for us.

Our GPS did not function well once we entered Iraklion and had to drive around a bit to find the hotel and by the time we checked into our hotel it was nearly 4pm. Two hungry adults and two hungrier kids were now walking up the road to find some place to eat. Thats when we heard music, nice, lively tunes that seemed out of place in the otherwise deserted street. The music led us to a resto-pub . The lifeless ground level would have made one think that the restaurant was closed, but that music drew us up literally, to the upper level.
This level of the restaurant was divided into a cafe and a bar. There was just one couple in the cafe section. As we walked hesitatingly towards the bar area of the restaurant, an old man beckoned us in with a smile. I pointed out the kids and asked if they were allowed in there. He continued to urge us in with his index finger. As I walked further inside, he sent out a flurry of flying kisses! I did not expect that! I dismissed him with a flick of my palm and I turned around and walked back to the cafe. But remember, we were hungry and did not want to leave just because of a disgusting old man. The better half took  it upon himself to find out if any food was available, in fact anything at this point! We were asked to seat ourselves and as we did, the old man walks out of the bar area and took a seat facing us. He continued to smile and wave and generally seek our attention.
When we asked the cashier about the old man we were told that he was the owner’s father who had recently shifted from far away Thessaloniki to live with his son. Old and bored, he never missed an opportunity to make friends – anyone who walked into the restaurant was a potential friend. So basically he was a harmless old man!  On hearing this our hearts melted. He sat at his table and waved at us continuously and I waved back too. I hoped to give him a hug on our way out. But before we were done with our meal he walked into the bar and disappeared. We were told by the same cashier that he had gone home to rest.
Different holidays have left different side stories in our memories, but this one will be closest to my heart and I regret for mis-judging the old man. I wonder about him from time to time……

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