Bad Photos of Beautiful Places: A Bus Ride through Greek Countryside

While crossing over the Bulgarian-Greek border, I couldn’t help but take a photos of the mountains, sprinkled over by powdered-sugar white clouds. And another photo. And another. So many photos. I knew that they were bad photos, including reflections and shine from the window, probably even smudges from unwashed glass. But the scenery was so beautiful. I was addicted; I couldn’t look away. I wanted to memorialize the moment somehow. I could have just sat back and enjoyed, and taken pictures with my mind, and after some time I really tried, but I am a tech-obsessed millennial…

and I had to at least attempt to capture the gorgeous countryside I was seeing.

In the Balkans at this time, winter was almost nowhere to be seen (I was shocked upon seeing snow when I returned to Bratislava!). No, it was 10 degrees C and up there, which was practically summer as far as I was concerned. It was a wonderful break from the chill, and the best part about it was sun sun sun.

Despite all that, and perhaps because of the bittersweet middle space I occupied as a temporary escapee from cold Central Europe, this Edna St. Vincent Millay poem, “Alms,” was playing through my mind:

My heart is what it was before,
A house where people come and go;
But it is winter with your love,
The sashes are beset with snow.

I light the lamp and lay the cloth,
I blow the coals to blaze again;
But it is winter with your love,
The frost is thick upon the pane.

I know a winter when it comes:
The leaves are listless on the boughs;
I watched your love a little while,
And brought my plants into the house.

I water them and turn them south,
I snap the dead brown from the stem;
But it is winter with your love,—
I only tend and water them.

There was a time I stood and watched
The small, ill-natured sparrows’ fray;
I loved the beggar that I fed,
I cared for what he had to say,

I stood and watched him out of sight;
Today I reach around the door
And set a bowl upon the step;
My heart is what it was before,

But it is winter with your love;
I scatter crumbs upon the sill,
And close the window,—and the birds
May take or leave them, as they will.


  1. […] Peter Pan and his wife make all kinds of jewelry, from wood, clay, leather and other natural materials they find. If you look in the middle left of the above photo, you’ll see “kaštan” or chestnut earrings. I wanted to buy them but they were too heavy. Instead I bought wooden bead earrings that looked like pomegranates (one of my favorite symbols ever since I studied in Greece. […]


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