Day 20 – Via Egnatia – the ridiculous and the sublime

We “checked out” of our hotel this morning by leaving a beer at the reception desk for the man who gave us a deal on the room then leaving the keys under the front door mat. After locking the front door to the hotel of course. (Ridiculous)

Up in the village we scored bakery goods, then found a place for a coffee. One bite into the bakery item let us know we’d made a mistake. We’d bought a pastry sort of thing with – wait for it – what might one find in a pastry? Cheese? No. Apple No. Some other fruit filling? No. Give up? OK – inside was a hot dog. (Ridiculous) And it was day old and had been sitting our on that shelf all night as well as all day yesterday. Gross! Into the garbage they went. I trotted back down to the bakery while Pat supervised preparation of the coffee because – trust us on this – supervision is required. I bought bread rings which turned out to be very tasty.

Breakfast accomplished – and if you took note – this required three stops – we set about sorting out our transportation to get out of Arnissa. We’d been told the night before that a taxi might show up at the post office around 8:30. We hovered and wondered and then down the road came a taxi! Delivering the mail to the post office. So we helped him unload the mail. Showed him on the map where we wanted to go – less than 4 km up the road. Off we went. Euro 5 put us in position to complete two days of walk in one by knocking off those 4 kms. 

Reason for two in one – the day was supposed to end in Nisi with us asking at the local bar for a possible room. We’ve learned that lesson. And thank goodness. There were a couple of bars in that little village and all were closed. It was difficult to get a shop owner to sell us two bottles of water. As we sat and had a snack in the shade of a tree by the village square another man came over and gave us each an apple. There it was – random act of kindness number 7 since arriving in Greece. My faith in human nature being inherently good is being restored!  The apples were absolutely the best! Sweet, crisp, juicy! (Sublime). However rooms there where not. It would have been another frustrating disappointing end to an otherwise pleasant day.

The only flaw to our day was once again the guide book. We were led without error into town and then along a river and into an impenetrable brambles patch. According to the book we were supposed to clamber through the this wall of black berries for over a kilometre. Not happening! (Ridiculous – given the  easy road option just meters away but sadly across the river.) We used trusty GyPSy to guide us out of the brambles, across a field, and onto to a dirt road. Eventually we popped out in the city! From there it was an easy walk to our really nice digs for two nights (Sublime!)

Speaking of the guide book and troubles with unofficial accommodation, this is the response from one of the authors of then guide book in reply to the e-mail we sent about what happened in Neo Kavkasos… It is very interesting and supports our decision to seek only official accommodations.

“Hi Kim, Your sad story confirms our fears about Greece. At the moment many Greeks seem terribly xenophobic and depressed because of the crisis (which many Greeks think is caused by rich countries, so also by you and me), and then there is the refugee problem. Things have got worse lately. The famous Greek hospitality seems to turn into its opposite. But what they did to you in Nea Kavkasos exceeds our worst fears!We’ll try to contact the proedros (= a sort of mayor) of Nea Kavkasos to ask what & why. We speak Greek, so maybe people are friendlier to us than to you. I think you’re right about staying in towns with official accommodation. I sincerely hope this was the last disappointment concerning accommodation! Holger”

Sad commentary on the current state of affairs in Greece. We the rich are causing the problems here?  

I’m not sure about that, but I am sure that Pat and I both have pretty tired feet and a few more scratches from the bramble patch. But cold beers and hot showers have restored us. Soon we’ll go find dinner and no doubt will be asleep shortly after dark. Pictures coming in a while.

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