To borrow a phrase from the comedian Jim Gaffigan, Ben is what you would call "indoors-y". Even though he likes things like Boy Scouts, BB guns, bow and arrows and the Waverunner at the lake, given the choice, he'd rather be on his computer exploring a new "space program"; online and in the shade.
In fact, walking long distances and just exploring is truly torturous to Ben, so I was surprised when he kept insisting we take an hour-long hike down, up, down and back up the huge hill behind our villa in Santorini. But he could not wait, pestered me for 36-hours, and when we finally went with him eagerly leading the charge, I cannot remember him being so happy outdoors...maybe ever. And he kept vocalizing his pleasure, which if you know Ben (like a lot of 13-year old boys), he NEVER does about anything.
I think there is something about the complex structures of terrain development that excites him as he likes to stop, look, ponder and the discuss the various rock formations he is observing - especially if there are openings to enter. So, we may have a new thing that Ben likes to do (and outdoors to boot) - and eagerly with his Dad. :) And to hear him express his deeper thoughts on anything is truly a treat for me and Suzanne.
When we went to Red Beach earlier in the day, he climbed up and over the hill, taking the long way, just for the physical challenge. And later at the famous Santorini Lighthouse, he went way out on a chalky cliff to gather some natural chalk samples!
Plus, and also unusual for Ben, he never complained on any of the climbs, even when they were very steep and "breathtaking" in both beauty and the taxing, physical sense.
So, what to do next? Find some additional climbs while here in Greece (although some of the 500-ft. ragged drop-offs make me extremely nervous!), and look for some caves to explore while driving through Europe in a few weeks. I see some already on Google Maps that may be close to our intended route. Stay tuned...
P.S. Now if I can only get him to stop wanting to throw rocks down the cliffs...