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Menopausal Tours


Greek Female in Heat


Journeywoman Archives

Writer Margaret Hogan is a post-menopausal woman with a passion for travel. Her most important possessions are a small suitcase on wheels and her well-used passport. Margaret writes...


Walkies with Hugo...
Dogs in  Love

Travel is alluring because the unpredictable will happen. This maxim is always true in Greece. It's May on the island of Symi in the Dodecanese and I am walking a leashed dog along a most elegant waterfront. Why Symi? Because I love to walk. And, in Walking Magazine, I read about hiking with English expert Hugo Tyler who knows every path on Symi and who is a departure from the ordinary. His T-shirts proclaim "Walkies with Hugo " and his rest stops are ouzo stops.

Symi isn't very populated or touristy, except for daytrippers from Rhodes. Better yet, there is no airport and, as far as I'm concerned, that's a good tip off for a first rate island holiday. So, here I am "ready to walkies."

Just off the boat from Rhodes, I'm greeted by Hugo and his youngish dog, Mitsubishi. We are pushed and buffeted from all sides in the frantic chaos that can only happen when you disembark in Greece. "Vroom! Vroom!" I don't yet know what Hugo is shouting or why, but a little woolly mutt, leash trailing, scatters. Not for long! All of a sudden--four minutes on Symi--and between Hugo and me are two dogs mating. Pleased to meet you, Hugo. Pleased to meet you, Mitsubishi, bitch in heat. Hello, Symi.

This male-female thing...

Giggle!We have lunch at the far side of the U-shaped harbour in Symi town. "Dromo!" Hugo shouts. "Dromo"! He tells me that the word, a variation of "Aerodrome, Hippodrome," is the Greek equivalent of "Hit the Road." "Dromo!" Dogs pee on nearby chairs. Mitsubishi, an eight-month old virgin, seems confused but willing--miserable both at wanting the unknowable and being restrained from getting it. After awhile, as we eat, she creeps under my chair to lie quietly. We eat surrounded by a ring of eager dogs. Mitsubishi trembles, yet for a few minutes all is quiet.

I think about this male-female push-pull. The trouble is that these days when we travel to Greece, we're all in the shadow of the ubiquitous Shirley Valentine. Is Hugo a roue of grand proportions? Will I have to leap off a small boat and swim ashore? If I have to fend the guy off (flattery, I know, to my gray hair and matronly proportions), will I be able to concentrate on my week of hiking?

Contemplating Mitsubishi, I can only reflect that I'm on the other end of the continuum and happy to sink into a post-menopausal unisexual calm. Hugo appears to be doing some mulling of his own. He is probably wondering if I'm doing a pilgrimage to find myself, and if he'll have to fend me off. Would it help to explain these sexual politics to poor Mitsubishi?

Six pairs of doggie eyes watch...

Dogs in LoveWith the slowness and ease of time in Greece, the afternoon moves on. Hugo and I keep chatting, particularly about how far and where I'd like to hike. We drink wine. Mitsubishi sleeps. At least six pairs of doggie eyes watch. I can't stop looking out at the busy harbour and at the softly-coloured neoclassical houses of this most beautiful town--houses which rise to the sky and remind me of Venice. But the reverie eventually ends. It is time to move for Hugo must re-write the chalk board on the quay, advertising tomorrow's walk. Since Mitsubishi has accepted me, I hold the leash.

Now I'm shouting "Dromo!" and "Vroom, Vroom! Vroom!" (which Hugo now says doesn't mean anything but sounds like it does) and I'm lunging at assorted dogs and stamping my sandals and striving to protect the virtue of Mitsubishi, my new four-footed friend.

"Dogs have never found me this interesting before," I comment in a dry aside to the day-tripping horde which surrounds Hugo, our canine entourage, his chalkboard and me on the Symi waterfront. (And, I know for sure that I am now immortalized on home videos in Derbyshire, Sussex and Liverpool--a crazed gray-haired lady shouting, kicking and, at times, forcibly interrupting the act itself).

So it is that mixed into a tangle of dogs in heat, I am introduced to Symi. This is the unpredictable, the chaos, the serendipity that is Greece.





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