Crawling North

From Spithari I have returned to Meltemi, for one more day, to discuss things not to be told yet. This is the song of future – if it starts, you will be the first to know, I promise!
So, Monday morning L. gave me a lift to the main road, again in the direction of Marathonas. This time I turned left in Nea Makri and, through the scenic mountain trail via Dionysios, I got to the highway in the direction of Lamia. My planned target for Monday was Chalkida, where I was supposed to see somebody from a local eco-community.
The journey was marvelous  with at last one magic meeting with a nice builder, really interested in hempcrete issues. I hope we shall be able to meet again and do something together.
In Chalkida, unfortunately, I learned that my contact is absent – he was still in Athens and somehow he had no way to route me to anybody else. So, after having a coffee and symbolic siesta nap in the cafe, I hit the road again, direction Volos.
All started going wrong that time. The good, but non-English-speaking driver left me at the wrong (for me) spot, which made me walk over 2 km on the highway, in almost 30* heat. I was lucky enough to be picked up by the bus and to get free ride, but then they left me in the spot closely observed by the highway service men, who clearly warned me, that if try to catch a lift even near the highway, I am ear-deep in sh*t. So, tired and frustrated I started hitch hiking the “old” E75 – being now a veeery local road – in the general direction North.
Sometimes I get really stubborn. This time, I walked most of the afternoon and evening. I only got a lift once – with a pariah like me. Toma, the (supposedly) Roma scrap collector, in his zombie car (revived from scrap probably more than once) with two beautiful daughters, stopped and drove me up to the nearest small town. The oldest of young ladies had an English conversation with me, apparently very happy of a chance to prove her linguistic proficiency. I was happy, too.
Maybe that was the magic again, to shake me a bit, after couple days spent in paradise. To remind me, that my mission is not just to have a good conversations, writing articles and taking pictures of people, merrily building their lives off-the-grid. It is also to meet people who have never been in-the-grid; and they are no volunteers  either. Later, already in Volos, I got another hint of this kind. I need to think it over. Will let you know the result.

Meanwhile, I was wearily walking along the coastal road, through the town of Agios Konstantinos. Not even a dog looked at me twice. The only relief was the sea, so close and familiar. And a narrow belt of stony beach.
So, finally, I exclaimed “Krucafuks” (an ancient Polish swear), and decided to sleep on the beach.
Had my perfect evening swimming, laid my bedding on the patch of grass and – after a bucolical diner of wine, cheese, yogurt and bread – I laid down.

The night wasn’t exactly a nightmare. I was not really afraid of any assault – not being visible from the road, nor accessible easily from the beach. However, combination of stones and sharp grass under my thin and narrow mattress, the flying, jumping and crawling biodiversity of Greece and the first rain I experienced since leaving Athens – all it made more a survival experience, than a good rest.

Anyway, next morning I was still stubborn, and trying to catch a car. No way. I do not really know why, but it apparently did not work. So finally, when I got a hint from an elderly gentleman, I made another 3 km walk and got to the official bus stop. Within 20 minutes, I was in the bus to Lamia and from Lamia – after 20 minutes of waiting, and buing a whole lot of sweet Greek jellies – I was in another bus: to Volos.

Volos greeted me with warm, pre-tempest weather. I called both Eleni and Nikos – my online-acquired contacts here. After a coffee and checking my emails I went to my planned stay here – the big Matsaggou squat. Dead locked. And nobody around or inside.
After spending some time around, I decided to make a call to the number given at the solidarity kitchen stand nearby. It was a good idea. Shortly, I landed at the office of TEM – the independent currency and open market project, which was the primary reason why I visited Volos. Quickly after my introduction, Irene put me on the list for the Wednesday assembly, which is supposed to decide /1/ if I can stay in their premises for next couple days /2/ if TEM will take part in the Expedition project.
However, there was no good solution for the first night – and the phone advice from ‘somebody squat-related’ was “sit down there and wait ’till somebody shows up”. Hmmm…
Fortunately, I still had something to do, like meeting Eleni, referred by Matt and Nikos the sociologist, referred by Eleni.
With Nikos we had a good conversation, showing that we have much more in common that we could expect earlier. Eleni showed up later, and took me to her place for shower, cloth change and some outstanding home-made food. She then escorted me back to the squat, where I started to sit down and wait.
After an hour or so, I changed from sitting and waiting to laying down on my sleeping mat and seriously considering staying for the night literally on the street. Fortunately, after a while, two young guys arrived.
They explained, that Matsaggou squat is non-inhabited at the moment, except for a single person. And all meeting activity is suspended for the holiday season. Fortunately, they gave me a contact to another squat, Termita, which is normally inhabited.
It was the short walk, luckily, as I was rather worn out after all that day. And Yannis appeared to be very sensible student, hard working just before his exams and not really keen to have a chat or party.
Nothing better for me. I made my laundry, laid down my sleeping bag and crashed dead. Good night, Volos. 🙂

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Turning stories into reality.

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