A Visit to Ali Pasha

“Why do you go to Ioannina”?  Pronouncing the town’s name very carefully in four syllables for our benefit, our driver broke the silence of several hours on the road from Athens during which the entire conversation had been limited to driving time and route information.

I wanted to say, “?ληθ?ς, δεν ξ?ρω,” (“Truly, I don’t know”), but then he might overrate my feeble grasp of his language and go off, full speed ahead, in Greek.  Better to give the short answer, that I had never been any farther north than Delphi.

“The reason I ask is because most people head straight to Kalambaka, hit a monastery or two on Metéora, and have lunch either in Kalambaka or Metsovo, take a tour of Delphi, and then back to Athens.”

Perhaps, I thought, that would have been a better plan, but we decided our itinerary almost at the last minute.  We had been planning a trip since May, but with one thing and another on our minds, we picked Greece only in September, and we had no idea of what to do after spending a few days in Athens.  The quieter islands were closing up for the winter, and nothing could induce me to go to the popular destinations like Mykonos, where the cattle boats disgorge daily hordes of shirtless drunken Brits to fornicate on the beach.  (Greeks, who are the most morally conservative...

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