So finally here we are: Athens. For all those traveling east is a long (and maybe non-sense) detour, but not for us. Sophia and Edu were waiting for us and we were looking forward to meet them again: last time we were together was eight years ago, in Bologna. Sharing time with them and their kids, being part of their everyday life with our out-of-the-ordinary presence, their hospitality and the sense of belonging, of being home: strong and warm feelings, so touching – and fun.
And, again, it’s not just being here and seeing something new. It’s about how and with whom we spend our time. Sophia and Edu are the reason why we came down south!
Funny how we learn some Greek while talking mainly in Spanish (Edu is from Cordoba, Spain, while Sophia is Greek).
Not just fun, however. We listened to them talking about the impact that the economic austerity imposed by the European Union had for Greek people and for their lives. They went through really hard times: either no job or job but no pay, taxes and expenses that doubled, enough money just for food, luckily lots of help within family and friends but no clue about how long all this would last. Since 2017 the situation has been getting better, but the economic crisis and the austerity measures have left signs in people’s life and in places. The feeling is that Greek people have been punished with intention and political will.
Back to nice things: the Acropolis for real! After studying it and watching it just in pictures for years… And the Acropolis museum, that we visited with Xanthippe, a guide, friend of Edu, that explained us all the small and important details that make the greatness of this monument. Sophia and Edu also had contacts with a cultural web channel so we had a video interview with them that it’s gonna be published soon (as soon as we receive the link we’ll post it here and on our Facebook page).
Wandering the streets of Exarchia, watching Eduardito football match on Sunday morning, a walk by the sea, watching Athens from the terrace of Sophia’s parents flat (their hospitality, too!), enjoying the extraordinary warm weather, listening to Fabrizio De André while coming back home late at night… This is our longest stay so far, four nights.
But the road is calling us. Tomorrow we’ll take a ferry from Pireus to Chios island. We choose this way to get to Turkey (we’ll take a second ferry from Chios) and then we’ll start cycling north to Izmir and then Istanbul.
More than ten days in Greece, lots of mountains, kilometers and traces of the past.
Meteora, Delphi. A few of what looked like ghost villages or abandoned hamlets.
Orthodox churches where we liked to camp for the night.
The small country roads with nobody around and the huge traffic everywhere getting to Athens.
The first camp fire of this trip.
Greek aggressive dogs: too many, too big, too often. We learnt how to stop quickly and get off our bikes then walk while shouting or singing loud to keep the dogs in the distance, sometimes adding a shot of water from our bottles to keep them away if they were getting too close.
Living all the spaces for a short time.
Sometimes days that are too long on the bikes (for me, not for Mery!). What do I miss? Time to read, do nothing, meditate, maybe watch a movie.
A written exchange with Geoff (with Agnieszka, nomads, free spirits, similar souls we feel very close to) about ups and downs, the will to hold on (to what?) and the liberating feeling of letting go.
And all that’s lost in the buzzing of our wheels.