Day 19 – Via Egnatia – the strangeness continues

What kind of place have we gotten ourselves into? 

We’ve decided we must be in some sort of alternative universe. 

This morning we went to check out of our hotel. It was a normal sort of place – reception desk, numbers on the room doors – you know – regular hotel sort of set up. The place was deserted. We called, rang the annoying little bell on the desk. We’re just about decided to leave a note and say put this on my credit card (we’d booked through booking.com) when a woman appeared. She went to a door and knocked and motioned for us to wait. We waited. Eventually a sleepy-headed guy came out – same guy we woke up in similar fashion when we arrived yesterday at 11:30 in the morning. We paid our bill. The beers were on the house. How nice of him. (Act of kindness number seven since arriving in Greece.)

We set off to find breakfast – and duly did so by sitting outside a little cafe the baker told us to go to. We ate our bakery delights while waiting for the cafe to open. When it did, we each had a coffee so laden with sugar  even I found it sweet!

While we were drinking our coffee a garbage truck came by with two garbage workers. They used the truck’s mechanical lifter and dumper to lift and dump a large communal garbage container. A woman was standing near by. As soon as the container was set down she looked inside and she went nuts on the two workers. They ignored her and drove off in the truck. She shook her fist and muttered away. We could hear and see all this from across the street. After we finished our coffee I went over and looked inside. The container had only been half emptied. This is clearly something that goes on all the time and is a bone of contention for this woman. It was pretty funny to watch…. But seems indicative of a system that is really broken – the “system” I refer to is Greece. Trains run late, garbage isn’t emptied, hotels aren’t staffed.

Our walk today was fairly short. It started in the rain but soon became sunny and quite warm. We arrived in Arnissa about lunch time and set about finding a hotel. This we did with a bit of friendly direction from a fellow from whom we asked directions.

Hotel found, one would assume one would go to the reception desk, book in etc. Not in Greece. We walked in. No one was around. We called out and looked about the place. I went into a couple of the guest rooms. Keys just in the locks. Nice rooms. We found a card at the reception desk and Pat phoned. Someone would be right over – turns out everyone was in the orchards picking apples. A fellow showed up and seemed fairly surprised that we’d been inside… We got our room. Negotiated a price and paid. We’ve been asked to leave the front door key under the door mat when we leave. We are here solo. This is a proper hotel. But it’s just Pat and me. We bought some beer in the village and riffled around in the reception desk to find a bottle opener. It’s a nice place. But we find this all kinda odd.

When we were having dinner this evening – outside – too much smoke to breath inside – a very skinny dog came by. I’d seen him earlier. It’s dreadful how skinny he is. Pat and I had too much food so we asked the restaurant staff to feed him. Just him, not the five or six other strays wandering around. They were willing but dumped the food where the other dogs could come and take it and they stared trying to do so. Pat and I set about shooing the other dogs away while our skinny dog ate his pork chop. This stopped traffic in the street and caused more than a few raised eye brows but we kept all the other dogs at bay while poor Mr Skinny got a decent meal. Once the dear old guy was finished he quietly went away. The other dogs were utterly flabbergasted.

We’ve made some tentative arrangements to get out of here tomorrow. As we have to cover two days in one (due to no accommodation at the next place) we are trying to get a ride for the first four kilometres to keep our walk to a bit less than 30. I have the blister from hell under my right heel deep in the callus and strained my left foot a few days ago so walking is a bit uncomfortable at the moment.

Speaking of feet, I didn’t tell you yet about my socks. I brought two pair of good quality merino wool hiking socks on this walk. One pair was stolen off the line in Bitola. It is not possible to buy any grade of hiking socks in this part of the world. So my spare socks are now really inferior poor fitting cotton ones with poke-a-dots. The pok-a-dots making all the difference! My hope is that the person who now has my good socks knows how very lucky they are!  

We met a lovely pair of Dutch cyclists today. He was wearing a Canadian cycling outfit. They stopped to chat for a bit. They are the first other travellers we’ve met on this adventure.

So that’s a wrap on today  except for the snakes. There were a few dead ones and one live one on the road today and they appear to be vipers. We need to research that. Needless to say during our comfort stops we stuck to short grass areas! Gee what else!….. Snake update – Pat has researched and yes there are poisonous vipers in northern Greece. It’s really a never ending saga of strangeness isn’t it? 

2 thoughts on “Day 19 – Via Egnatia – the strangeness continues

  1. Love the photo of Kim opening her beer. Sorry to hear about you blister, Kim. Ouch!!! Hope it gets better soon. Maybe another day or two off. I can relate to taking the train. Sometimes you just have to alter expectations and do it as we did cycling in Poland.
    Stay safe,
    Marianne

    • Hi Marianne,
      For sure flexibility is key. It’s difficult here because some of these villages are very insular. For instance what happened a few days ago – an obvious change of plan would have been take a taxi but there was no way for us to do that. We are currently hoping for a kind person from this village to drop us about 6 k up the road – but…… Again there are no taxis. We shall see what unfolds. We’re doing well though. This is not an easy trip but we’re still enjoying the experience!

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