This afternoon, I picked up a book at a lovely bookstore hidden in the midst of Oia’s endless gravel path. It was a poetry book called “A Greek Quintet”, an anthology of poems by Cavafy, Sikelianos, Seferis, Elytis and Gatsos. A few hours later, I found myself stranded in a small patisserie overlooking the Aegean sea, enjoying a huge cup of pistachio ice cream and the fruity-sweet Vinsanto wine. I flipped open several first few pages of the poetry book, and my eyes landed instantly on The City. If you do believe that there’s no such thing as coincidence in life, then I’d like to share this poem with you.

The City by Cavafy

You said: “I’ll go to another country, go to another shore,
find another city better than this one.
Whatever I try to do is fated to turn out wrong
and my heart lies buried as though it were something dead.
How long can I let my mind moulder in this place?
Wherever I turn, wherever I happen to look,
I see the black ruins of my life, here,
where I’ve spent so many years, wasted them, destroyed
them totally.”

You won’t find a new country, won’t find another shore.
This city will always pursue you. You will walk
the same streets, grow old in the same neighbourhoods,
will turn grey in these same houses.
You will always end up in this city. Don’t hope for things
there is no ship for you, there is no road.
As you’ve wasted your life here, in this small corner,
you’ve destroyed it everywhere else in the world.

No matter how far one goes (or runs away for that matter), one will always meet oneself again and again and again and again.

αγάπη, H.


20 Responses

  1. Synchronicity indeed! Your beautiful posts on Santorini and traveling alone have made me ache to follow in your footsteps. I love the poem and I love your photographs, and in the past months, I have begun to feel the need to do exactly what you’ve done, go off on an adventure by myself. You’ve inspired me!

  2. omg! i really love ur post. i wish u could post more about how to get there from indonesia. im planning to visit greece in 3 years. and ur bloq is incredibly great!

    1. Hey! From Indonesia, I took the flight to Dubai and from Dubai to Athena, then from Athena to Santorini. You can also choose to fly via Frankfurt if I’m not mistaken 🙂

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A few days ago, while washing dishes, my mind went to one afternoon a long time ago, when I was still working full time. We were in one of our weekly team meetings at the office and we were talking about 'role'. We were asking each other, what role would we choose in the office, if that role had nothing to do with our job titles, tasks, or functions.
What are the things you would do anyway, even if you know you would fail? What are the things you would do anyway, even if you can't make money out of it? What are the things you would do anyway, even if you know you won't be great at it?
2020 has challenged us in many ways, collectively. Some of us may have been ‘forced’ to spend more time with ourselves, more than ever. For some of us, this can also mean having to stay with things that don’t feel right, things that annoy us, scare us, tear our spirits down.
I'm a published writer, a creative content consultant, and a stationery/blog designer based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In Indonesian, 'beradadisini' means being here. So, here I am!