I discovered baklava while visiting the beautiful country of Greece after my freshman year of college. My friend Kate and I were in Athens, bone tired from an exhausting semester, but determined to explore the city. We spent our first day there trying desperately to stay awake, but failing miserably as we rode the subway around the city. However, after our first night of sleep -- which was at least 12 hours long -- we were ready to take on the city. We saw the Parthenon, observed dogs roaming the streets, ate moussaka, and then tried to find a piece of baklava. We had no luck on our own, so finally we resorted to asking perfect strangers for their help. We ended up asking a nice young woman who spoke perfect English, and she led us through dark alleys to a nice, bright bakery that we would have never discovered on our own. She did, however, correct our pronuciation of the treat -- baklaVA, not BAKlava. We each bought a piece of the sticky, nutty dessert and walked up to see Athens from rocks that were outside the main part of the city.
While on these rocks, licking our fingers as we ate our baklava, Kate observed that we were probably in a spot quite similar to the location that Paul once stood, as described in the book of Acts. We sat there, looking over the city, and flipped through our Bibles to the passage. That I was standing where Paul once stood was an amazing realization. There are Bible tours of Israel and Jerusalem, but I don't think they can quite compare to making that connection on your own.
Anyways, since that day, I've had a special affinity for baklava. I've contemplated making it, but all that phyllo dough and butter and nuts and syrup has scared me off. However, when I was shopping this morning, a Greek Orthodox Church was selling plates of baklava for a fundraiser. I was more than happy to buy five triangles, snap a picture, and recall fond memories of traveling in Greece. Someday I hope to return, husband in tow, and enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of Greece again.