For George and Mary Papanicolaou 1957 was the year of the fulfillment of a great dream: a trip to their homeland Greece.
Actually this trip would be a pilgrimage to their patrimonial country, combined with a big tour in the countries of Western Europe.
This was due to the fact that scientists from all over Europe had expressed the wish to meet the famous cytologist.
The trip began with the embarkation of Papanicolaou couple in the luxurious ocean liner “Queen Mary” and ended with their arrival in Cherbourg, on the 8th of July 1957.
From this point they had scheduled visits to some of the most important cities of Europe:Brussels,Bonn, Paris, London, Milan, where George Papanicolaou and his spouse would have the opportunity to meet prominent scientists and old friends.
Of course their final destination would be Greece. However, they would soon realize that Greece, was an entirely different country compared to the one they had left behind in 1913.
Which sentiments does a person experience when he/she comes back to the place where he has been born and raised up and meets relatives and friends, after 44 years of absence?
Excitement, joy, embarrassment and surprise, should be some or the feelings that George and Mary Papanicolaou experienced, when they disembarked in the beautiful island of Corfu, the first Greek city that welcomed the famous doctor.
Their next stop was Ancient Olympia, where they had a conducted tour, while their final destination was naturally Athens and their homeland Kymi.
Νumerous relatives, friends, doctors, compatriots being informed that the famous Greek Cytologist had settled down at “Grand Bretagne” hotel, were persistenly asking to meet him. He actually managed to get in touch with them, however giving priority to the Greek doctors. He was much concerned about the developments in the Greek medical field.
The most exciting moment however was his arrival in his homeland Kymi. As Odysseus who returned to Ithaca, he wandered through his town’s narrow streets, he spoke to its residents and genuflected at the Cathedral. He would remember the warm feelings of his compatriots and the way they welcomed and honoured him for the rest of his life.
The trip ended at the beginning of September 1957. George and Mary Papanicolaou left by airplane for theUSA, having in their baggages a precious gift comprising of unforgettable impressions.