The Challenge for Day 25
Today’s challenge is to write about the topic of travel. “Think of a time you went somewhere, anywhere and share it with us.” I love travelling and it was hard to settle on one destination. In the end, I decided to write about the last stop of an Interail holiday I took in my twenties…Kyllini.
My friend Sinead and I are having one of those heart-to-heart chats, you know the type you have after a few wines. The shared bottle of Ouzo is adding to the experience and the words are tripping over themselves. Complex stories of relationships meander through the fog, twenty odd years in the waiting. We are both using the bar serviettes to wipe away the tears.
“Aww, that’s so sad, Bernie. ”
“I”m okay. I just wish I could stop crying.”
We are sitting under the canopy of an outdoor bar in the Greek village of Kyllini. A little village picked at random from a train time table, part of the joy of Interail travel. It’s very traditional, if you walk down the streets you can see inside the houses. See the women, dressed in black, preparing dinner. See the children tumble in, ready to share stories of sleepy dogs, squabbling friends and sunburnt foreigners. A simple life lived well, that’s what strikes me most about this place.
It’s getting late now and at least we have the common sense to stop drinking. As we are leaving, we give synchronized smiles for the barman, the best we can manage after all the alcohol. Combined with the teary faces, we probably look deranged.
“No mora da ouza?”
“No, no, we need sleep,” Sinead says.
He seems to understand the “No” part and gets back to polishing slim glasses for tomorrow.
Sinead and I wander down the narrow street, back to the village square because that’s where our rucksacks are. That’s if no one has taken them. You are probably thinking, these women are nuts, and you might have a point. Leaving one’s only possessions in the middle of a strange Greek village and heading off drinking, who does that? But the funny thing is, when we stumble back onto the square, the blue and grey rucksacks are still sitting there, undisturbed. Right beside the fountain. I love Greece.
We heave the rucksacks onto our backs. Mine is the blue one, overpacked as usual. Where did I think I was going with all those jeans? The outside pockets are stuffed with the only clothes I can wear in this heat, cotton dresses bought during our stay in Athens. Sinead’s rucksack looks like it might burst and her sleeping bag is hanging at an angle. The straps must be loose.
“Where are we going to sleep?”
We don’t have a lot of options. The budget doesn’t run to posh hotels and anyway it’s too late for that. Must be about 2 am. Little Miss Brave has an idea.
“Dunno, Sinead. Maybe the beach. Doesn’t everyone sleep on the beaches in Greece?”
Sinead nods, I think she’s past caring. Wilting under the weight of the rucksacks, we start walking down a narrow path that leads straight to the oceanfront. It’s a clear night and the water looks as sparkly as the stars. As we get nearer, I can hear the sound of the ocean breathing. On a calm night like this, it sounds like a lullaby and is one of my favourite sounds in the world.
“There, that looks perfect,” says Sinead, eyeing the soft sand about 50 metres in front of us.
“Oh, I’m not sure, Sinead, looks a bit far out.”
“Well, where do you want to go then?”
“Maybe here, just under the walkway?”
“Oh, alright then. I think you worry too much, but hey, it’s okay.”
So we take the sleeping bags off the rucksacks and lay them, side by side, on the spot I picked out. We crawl in under the soft material, each in our own little cocoon. Sleep comes quickly for both of us. It’s not easy carrying your home on your back, especially in this heat. And the Ouzo helps too, I’m sure.
Next morning, I’m awoken by a nagging discomfort. My whole body feels eaten alive. I examine my arms, they are covered with puffy, red lumps. My face feels like it’s on fire. Bloody mosquitos. Sinead is snoring, not loudly, but just enough so I know she’s still asleep. I look at the spot where she wanted us to throw down our rucksacks last night. It’s covered by about ten metres of water.
On either side of my head there are car wheels, so close I can touch them. I crawl out of the sleeping bag and focus fuzzy eyes on the scene around me. Rows of empty cars, neatly parked, stretch for hundreds of metres to the left and right of our chosen spot. Turns out, we were sleeping in the car park of Kyllini port.
A lucky escape, on both counts, I guess. We’ve avoided being washed into the ocean or run over by cars heading for the ferry. I wonder what the rest of the day holds for these two Irish wanderers?
Day 25 of My 500 Words Challenge…Kyllini.
Here is some information about the port of Kyllini