Greece

MISTER SPECIAL

To be honest, I wouldn’t ask someone who goes on a holiday in Greece to write about it on his weblog. I guess, it will all be stories about nice beaches, white houses with turquoise doors, and a lot of feta-cheese. So I can imagine you haven’t as wild expectations as you had when we drove through Pakistan for example. But, to our own surprise as well, our adventures kept on going. Even though they were of a different kind than they had been until now on our journey.

Let’s start with looking back: we just found out that we spent 4 weeks in that country. But when we were actually there, we were totally not aware of that. Our time in Greece past by very quickly and felt quite surreal, I must say.

First, we stayed a few days on a camping near Alexandroupolis (close to the Turkish border) and finally caught up with answering all our e-mails, doing some administration, and reading weblogs of other travellers. On the website of Swiss overlander-friends who had recently stayed in Greece, I read they had enjoyed their time on the island Samothraki. So I looked up where that could be and found out, it was actually just the island opposite of us, the one we’d been looking at for a few days.

So the next day, we took the ferry to the other side, without many expectations, except for the plan of sleeping somewhere in the nature. Well, even if we would have wanted to stay on a regular camping, we wouldn’t have been able, because they weren’t open yet. So we arrived at the perfect moment: with already the good weather but just before the summer season starts, so we could camp anywhere without being bothered by the police. As such, we camped on different spots on this lovely and tiny (12 x 25km) island, and we’ve driven on about 95% of all the roads. When we were searching a suitable place for our 4th camp spot, a man came out from the forest and asked us to follow him. All with hands and feet, because he spoke only Greek and we did not.

Kyriagos, or Mister Special, as we started to call him later, seemed to have been living in that forest for quite a while. Maybe already for a few months, maybe even a few years. Who could tell? He had created a little empire over there. Well, that’s maybe a bit exaggerated. But you could really see that he was well organised in that forest near the sea. A tent, a hammock, a fire place, a big basket with lots of spices and sauces, a kind of a shower, a table and a few chairs. And then the food! As soon as we sat, he offered us a delicious meal. Just like that. And how happy he was, when he saw that we enjoyed it. The best of all were the gigantic potted figs for desert. It felt like a feast of tastes in our mouth! He showed us he had much more jars full of those figs. We assume all self-made. (By the way, when it was time to say good-bye, he offered us one of those jars. So in case you’re curious of how these figs taste, just let us know as long as we have some left.) 😉

And as with all new people we meet during our travel, we listen to our intuition. Can we trust this person or not? Well, we quite quickly had the feeling this guy might act a bit weird, but in fact he’s a good person. So we decided to park our car next to his space/area/zone and stay there for the night. First it was two nights, then four. In the end we camped there for a whole week, close to that wild man, and had lots of fun with him. We could barely communicate with him though, but actually all the miscommunication was also part of the fun for all of us.

The second day, Kyriagos took us on a hike to go swimming below beautiful waterfalls. On the way, he started taking off his clothes without any shame, shouted loudly at people and animals we passed, and finally he stood completely naked on top of a high cliff and jumped into the ice cold water. The hiking tourists we met on the way looked a bit surprised at us. But since many hippies come to Samothraki, they weren’t too shocked either. Later that day, he showed us the local ‘hot spring sauna’. A sweet little hut with a bath full of special hot water (containing sulphur and other minerals) that comes out of the mountains, and where you can bathe for free. Afterwards we were told that, in summer time, there are dozens of people sitting around the hut to wait for their turn to go in the bath. But when we were there, we were the only ones. So it all felt very ‘special’ I can tell you.

Well, and so the time passed by with more delicious food (for example Kyriagos’ freshly prepared octopuses), barbecues, more hippies, camp fires, and so on. Fantastic! By the way, we realised that by reacting quite relaxed and reasonable to all the shouting and strange behaviour of Kyriagos, he got more and more calm, at least when he was together with only the two of us. And by the end, we cuddled each other a lot. I mean, we didn’t have many words we could have shared anyway. We really both hope to see him back when we return to Samothraki one day. And hopefully we’ll speak better Greek by then or will have a translator with us, so we can finally find out why he actually ended up on this island…

After we left Samothraki, we drove on to Athens. You can’t have a bigger difference within Greece! (Samothraki has about 1300 inhabitants whereas Athens has 5 million.) The reason: seeing Electra! She decided to move back to her birthplace after having lived in Groningen (The Netherlands) for 7 years. So beside a bit of sightseeing (but really only a little bit), we mainly spent our time with her and her boyfriend Vasillis. And also in Athens we had a very relaxed stay. It was really a great week full of Greek coffee-frappés, discussions about THE crisis, anecdotes of our travel, and most important: a very familiar and pleasant feeling one has when being together with good friends.

And so we left Greece after 4 weeks and continued our journey home. Two routes were possible: either driving home on the right or the left side of the Adriatic Sea. But our choice was easily made. Because if we would have been driving through Albania & co., we would have left the EU and would have had to show our passports again. And this time we really didn’t feel at aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall like doing that again. It seems, we’re a bit done with travelling. But surely only for a short while. Anyway, we decided to take a boat to Italy and then driving slowly north. And so we spent our last night shaking between Greece and Italy, on the water, on the deck of our ferry, parked between two campervans. Also for Meopar this night was unforgettable!

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1 Comment

  • 1. sanda Sfintesco  |  June 14, 2010 at 23:31

    Hello, Le retour:on n’attendait plus rien , rien de specialement particulier ,au mieux peut etre un commentaire sur le comité d’acceuil de Luzern. Mais voila surprise…tout à coté en Europe quelle rencontre ,quellesphotos quels paysages. Que la terre est belle et toi quel talent !
    Je vous embrasse très fort . sanda


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