In October 2010 we decided to go on a road trip to see the main sites of Ancient Greece. There were five of us: me, my husband, our daughter and their best friend (then both aged 10), and our son (then aged 5). And my camera and several lenses! This was in the dark ages: Instagram came out that same month, our children were all still in primary school, were obsessed with Percy Jackson, and I had little idea of what I was doing in the world of photography. Looking through my photos from that time, what I chose to photograph was often pretty random (I even tried freelensing!) and I processed every image with a different preset. This was… not ideal.
But we had a lovely time, starting in Athens, going as far north as Thessaloniki and as far south as Sparta, and visiting Delphi, Mycenae and many other sites along the way (making sure to find the resident cats in each site too), driving for several hours each day, all squeezed into a tiny rental car. Delphi in particular was magical, and I have wanted to go back ever since. And it was foggy when we passed through Meteora, so we couldn’t see any of its famous rock formations. So there was unfinished business there, too.
Fast forward to the early summer of 2023 and we decided the time had come, 13 years on, to return to Greece and retrace our steps. We remixed the itinerary slightly, skipping Athens, removing Thessaloniki and adding Marathon, Olympia and Corinth. But it was essentially the same big circular, anti-clockwise route around the mainland. We wanted to visit our favourite places again and see how they (but mostly we) had changed. So it was going back in time in two ways: back to Ancient Greece, and back to our 2010 trip as well. This time we were going in May, rather than October, so the light would be different. And our approach to photography would be different, too. Instagram was now part of mainstream culture, I had more cameras, and I now shoot film as well as digital — and, all these years on, so do some of the younger members of our group. Some of them even drink wine now, too!
We got a bigger vehicle this time: a minivan, which we named the Minotaur, because it was a beast that could swallow huge amounts of luggage whole, and also because we were going on a “minor tour” of Greece. All these years on, our daughter now has a degree (and masters) in Classics, their best friend has run the marathon, we have visited many more ancient sites, watched many documentaries and listened to podcasts on a classical theme, Percy Jackson was being rebooted for TV, and I finally felt as if I understood what I was looking at. That said, I would love to visit this part of the world again. And I wonder if the cats we spotted on this trip were were the offspring of the original cats from 2010.