Ireland was wonderful and definitely a trip I will always remember. But Greece a few years later was incredible.
My mother, recuperating from cancer treatment, decided to follow through with a summer-long trip Mom had planned to take with - you guessed it - Joan and myself. I was then 30, Joan 15. We left late May, and come back in early August, 1984. We flew into Germany and stayed a few days. I flew separately from Mom and Joan and went a few days early. I met a man named Uli on the airplane, and he introduced me to his great group of friends. Mom, Joan and I were included in many social gatherings with them, and even stayed by the Czech border (then still communist) at one of their nice, small resorts.
We traveled from Germany to Greece, then back to Germany where we drove to Switzerland and Italy. Daddy joined us in Greece for a few weeks. We toured all the usual things with great enthusiasm. When our taxi dropped us off at the National Museum, the taxi driver stuck his head out the window and queried; "Should I come back in an hour and a half to pick you back up?" to which my father quickly quipped "What? You think we're going to view the museum on ROLLER SKATES, for gosh sake?!!!" and turned on his heel in disgust. He was right - we ended up spending 4 hours there and still didn't see everything.
Then on the way out, I heard someone calling my name - it was a man we met on a tour before Daddy arrived. He invited us to a taverna to join him for a party, and unbelievable, my dad said we'd all go. We had a blast! We all even danced at the end, complete with the waving hankies. My dad had too much ouzo! My mother got miffed at something (she'd had too much wine) and said something snippy. My dad gave her the finger! Joan and I gasped in amazement! This had never before happened; this is a man who never even cursed!
The next day, Mom was still mad at Dad. We were planning to take a hydrofoil and tour the Islands, soak up some beach time. Daddy, Joan and I set out. We took a bus first, and met some lovely Irish girls who had just arrived from Rome. They were exclaiming about getting their 'bums pinched, even in the Vatican, THE VATICAN FOR gosh sake!' and my dad was trying not to laugh out loud in front of them. We arrived at the pier to catch the ferry, and someone again called my name and waved - another fellow we'd met on a tour. My dad said "Oh, Christmas; this one looks chatty!" and he was right. Luckily, he was going to a different island or I swear my father was going to get off the boat. The fellow chatted our ears off, quizzed us about our future plans and my dad cut me off during an explanation "We're going to be doing family things, young man!" and that was that.
We got to our destination still early in the day, gathered up personal items and walked down to the beach. We had our suits on under our clothing, so we picked a nice spot and spread out. Joan and I flopped down but my dad stayed sitting up, just enjoying the view. It was gorgeous.
After a while, I started reading. That went on for awhile and Daddy offered to go buy some lunch. Joan and I gave him some lunch ideas and went back to dozing and reading. Daddy came back with yummy food and sodas and Joan and I sat up. And immediately noticed that we were, in fact, on a topless beach.
Joan and I had taken our father to a topless beach.
I immediately felt like an idiot in my one piece. I told Joan that I might feel more comfortable if I rolled down my top. My father sputtered in horror "You are absolutely NOT going to remove your top! Well, that-that-THAT would look STUPID!" I busted out laughing so hard I was crying. The look of horror on his face was priceless.
We enjoyed our lunch. Then I poked Joan in the ribs and whispered: "Look at Daddy!" The man was trying to surreptitiously watch all the beautiful bare-breasted girls around us. But once in a while, a group of lovely German girls would trot down the hill to the beach and the man, really quite a prude and extremely shy, could not help himself: His head would bob with their lovely, bouncing breasts as they made their way down the beach to the water.
We stayed on that beach until my father was red as a lobster. Getting back on the bus to go to the pier to go back to Athens, my dad said "That was a Great idea, girls! What a wonderful day!" and Joan and I roared with laughter. When my mother asked why in the heck we had stayed 'til the man was toast, I airily said "Oh, there was so much to SEE, Mom; I didn't know but we took poor Dad to a nudie beach!"
For the life of me, I can't remember my mother's reaction.