The closer the start of my hike comes, the more excited I get, but also the more I panic and start to think it’s a bad idea. I won’t be able to walk that far, I will not make it through the first few days, I will have no place to sleep, I will not be able to take showers, I will get robbed in the middle of nowhere, I will get lost, and a lot more is going through my mind right now. Oh, and also: my plane is most definitely going to crash. (Just all the doom scenarios are flashing in front of my eyes now).
But my plane didn’t crash. Greece here I am. For the very first time I set foot on the land of tzatziki, gyros and souvlaki. And that also covers about everything I know of this country. The one thing I also know is that I do not speak one word of Greek. I also don’t know how to read their alphabet. That’s what’s going to make the first few weeks pretty difficult. How to ask for a place to sleep, a place to set up my tent, when I can only say goodmorning? What if it’s evening?
First things first. Through couchsurfing I arranged a place to sleep in Athens, online they seem like a nice couple. They will help me plan my trip a bit and I can use all the help I can get. The masterplan of this trip was not to plan it. Which means I have no map of Greece, so no idea if there’s roads suitable for walking in the direction I am heading; probably Patras, but also that might change. But first I need to find their house.
I arrived earlier in Greece than expected. I thought I would arrive around 14h, but I was already outside in the sun with my luggage before 13h. Because I told my hosts I would be at their house late in the afternoon, I sat outside the airport for an hour. Then I decided to see if there were any metros going to the city centre. There were, but they were only leaving in over an hour., which I thought was kind of odd. That’s when I realised: Greece has a different timezone! Bingo!
Wow, this is starting off wonderful. How much preparation do you need?
After this things went quite smoothly. I met my hosts, Stella and Vaios, and I am really happy with them. They are very nice, want to help me with everything (they convinced me not to walk straight to Patras, but go a bit through the mountains as well and visits the Islands before heading to Italy) and we ordered souvlaki the first night! I can’t imagine why we don’t eat that in Holland. Or maybe I just don’t eat it. From now on I will!
Tomorrow there is more important business to attend to. I need to get a map of Peloponnese and a wooden walking stick. And I might even pop up the Akropolis to see the Parthenon. I am going there anyway, because that is exactly where I will start my hike. The Akropolis in Athens. I might even eat a souvlaki up there.