Hillel Halkin (Commentary) writes about a trip to Ithaca that was strangely evocative...Here's part from the beginning:
But the Ionian islands meant Ithaca, and Ithaca meant The Odyssey, and The Odyssey is a book I have cherished. Several years ago I made a list of the things I most wanted to do before I died. One of them was learning Greek to read The Odyssey in the language Homer wrote it in. Poetry, not just as language heightened, but as language transformed, its particles fused into rare new elements, begins with Homer. The winedark sea! The rosyfingered dawn! No book has lovelier phrasing. How could I have been so foolish in college as to major in English, which I needed no instruction to read, when I could have been studying Greek? How not sail to Ithaca now?
And here's the sort of goofy, sort of poignant end of the piece:
Nor did I encounter any ghosts on Ithaca. It was just a small, pleasantly undeveloped Greek island, and while something in me was fulfilled by being there, I did not learn much about The Odyssey that I couldn’t as well have learned from books. But then again, I had only read, or re-read, the books that I did because I went to Ithaca.
It was fitting, then, that the only ghost that did appear was a book’s. It was the ghost of the same book I had lost when I was little. For years, this was a blank in my memory. Apart from having lost it, I couldn’t remember a thing about it. And then, as I was writing this essay, a small part of it came back to me.
It was a Donald Duck book. That is, Donald Duck was its main character; I can’t recall even now who else of his comic-book entourage was with him. But I know he was on a sea voyage and crossed the Equator, because the book had a chapter—I presume it was my favorite, since it alone has surfaced in my memory—in which he had to go through the traditional equatorial ceremony of being judged by King Neptune and sentenced to a symbolic dunking. There was, I’m quite sure of it, a colorful illustration of the captain gotten up as Neptune with a trident, prodding a reluctant Donald in full dinner dress off the diving board of the ship’s swimming pool
Now the odd thing, which must be what stirred this memory from its depths, is that Neptune, the Roman god of the seas, is the Greek Poseidon, Odysseus’ nemesis. Poseidon thwarts Odysseus’ return to Ithaca because Odysseus has blinded his son, the one-eyed Cyclops, who prays to him for vengeance. Consequently, as Homer has Zeus say, “From that time forth Poseidon, the earth-shaker, does not indeed slay Odysseus, but beats him off from his native land.”
So I had to go to Ithaca, it would seem, to find a fragment of a children’s book lost sixty years before. Things turn up where you least expect them to.