Hello hello. Where the hell was I last?… Olympos… Yes, at the base of that God-forsaken mountain (literally, no Gods… Pft). Since then myself and the crew, Hans and Furi, have journeyed on down to Kokkino Nero, Volos, and now on Pilion which is next to it. What have I been up to? Well, here we go once again… And again no access to a bloody computer, so no pictures my friends. Sorry… But like I said before, there shall be many picture posts eventually…. Sometime. Count on it!
So we left Litochoro after about a week or maybe a bit less after our Olympos invasion. Our target, Kokkino Nero, a small village maybe 40km away, that we were told had thermal water… We hitchee on down, myself splitting off to give ourselves better chances… We were picked up by the same man, however, and I forget his name so he shall be social-worker-man (SWM). So the neutral-faced SWM took us all the way to Kokkino Nero, about 20km out of his way… He even bought us food… A lovely heart in the guy, who was reminded of his own travelling days.
Kokkino Nero was the first tourist town that sisnt scare me. Huge Plantanas(sp..?) line the streets of the village, with houses built around them, or even incorporating them in the design… Only one ‘fancy bar’ with bad music, and the tourism season was essentially at its end… We found ourselves a lovely and fairly undisturbed beach, complete with a ghost village of sea-shanties made from the local bamboo. Though it wasn’t until our beach-spot was ravaged by the ocean that we tookover a couple… And eventually fortified the bloody things to protect from a few days of raging thunder, lightning, wind and rain.
Our days were spent….. …. Relaxing! For two weeks we really did more hanging out, collecting chestnuts for our meals, eating the delicious local bougatsa, swimming, and some local exploring. Oh yea, and no thermal water… Hah… Hah.
Also, I didn’t mention my decision not to head north after all… Well, due to falling temperatures, I decided to keep on south instead of north to Xanthi and Samothraki. I do t MIND colder temperatures, but for beach living it just doesn’t work so well. And so, south I go.
After Kokkino Nero our goal was Thermopolis, which most would know from the stand of ‘The Brave 300,’ which also has thermal water. And so, one day we split off for our hitch. Three rides took me just past Agia: Anthony (Kokkino to Veliko), Venny the Albanian (Velika to Agiakampos), and Nikos the hunter (Agiakampos to just past Agia). And not long after I was picked up by an Israeli couple who had…. My two companions stuffed in the boot. Nyaha, of course. So they managed to fit me inside, somehow, and then we were Volos bound.
We passed through sad silent villages, the streets literally lined with cotton, and confused-faced people staring at the three of us crammed in the back of this tiny vehicle. With Johnny Cash and a few scores of classic compositions as a soundtrack to this snippwt of our trip, it was a very funnishly odd experience… But memorable, oh yes.
So the lovely couple drop us off in Volos, and give us their contact details in Israel. We found ourselves a wee bech to call home for a night, and make friends with the nearby Taverna the next night which gets us a roof to sleep under (though the local old guys keep us awake for hours singing away in the Taverna next to us, getting louder as the Tsiporou levels heighten… But again, its Greece, it was quite cool). We wandered around Volos a couple of days, and even found a restaurant for coffee, where so many people never even touched their snack-foods… So one afternoon we basically ate for free all day if we grabbed the leftovers before the tables were cleared!). On our last night, we got ourselves a couchsurfing message from a man living above the city, at the base of Pilion. So we journeyed up there and spent the night at our new friend Jasons’ house, overlooking the city.
The next day we decided we might as well keep going up… And again we split up. My ride up to the top of the mountain (where I sit now) was with Petros and Vassia. They told me many of the little villages around the mountain range here were like some of of LOTR… Of course my interest was peaked… Soon after that lift I was picked up by a convoy of mushroom hunters with…. Furi and Hans in the back! Har.
We were invited for the mushroom hunting, which ended up taking us through the beautiful villages of Kissos and Mouresi, which, cloaked in thick fog for a time and adorned with some massive Plantanas, was very much LOTR like. After the hunt of the mushrooms, they invited us back to Xania (basically where we sleep now) to the local taverna where the mushrooms would be prepared. It was actually my first time in a Taverna, so I spent a whole 5 Euros on a meal! My daily budget, if not lower. So with wine, mushrooms, and generally lots and lots of food, it was a lovely night… And such nice bloody people. Though they asked so many questions relating to our travels.. Most in an admiring or at least intrigued sort of way. A lovely day, ended with them driving us to a perfect camping spot, again surrounded by the huge old trees I’ve come to love.
So… Three days here, now. Exploring the abandoned and ruined houses of the area, including a sanitorium, and enough forgotten chestnut and apple orchards to feed us for as long as they’re in season, really. It is evwn warm up here, relatively speaking. But a day more, I think, before we head on to more villages, and eventually Thermopolis.
Phew. So that has been yet another update, as we slowly meander our way through Greece. A beautiful country so far, with autumn leaving tourist hordes behind, and a calmness settling over many of the places we pass through… Oh, and heat I can actually deal with.
Till next time.
Not all those who wander are lost