The way home (Part 1)
by Project FOUReigner - 4 years, 10 months ago
We (tried to) set out early yesterday morning. We got dressed, packed our stuff, had a nice breakfast in the town and wrote our last hitchhiking sign. Greece. Not much later a nice man, who was going to do some shopping in the Duty Free shop, took us to the border. We took out our passports, walked through the border, looked around. Welcome home.
I am not a very nostalgic person and I don’t get homesick much, but after 6 months away and one month on the road, it feels strangely good to be back in your country or understand the people around you. The excitement for the little things like –in my case- feta cheese, frappe, or real greek salad of course doesn’t last long but certainly makes the first couple of weeks back very enjoyable.
In any case, after we crossed the border (and got a bit emotional) we got picked up by a man who took us to Florina, the first big city nearby. He used to hitchhike himself when he was in the army (still mandatory for young greek men) and it always took him 13 cars to reach his destination. “But of course, it was different times then” he rushes to explain, and just like every middle-aged person I’ve ever met, goes on to romanticize over the good old times, full of nice honest people who helped each other. Unlike now, when everybody is terribly self-centered, good people do not exist, and we are crazy to be doing this -especially being ‘young girls’ and stuff.
And indeed, hitchhiking in Greece was no piece of cake. The total distance between Bitola and Igoumenitsa (from where we would take the boat) is 300 km and a bit over 3 hours drive because the roads are good. After an hour of waiting in Florina another nice man picked us up and drove us to Amyntaio. It was very nice of him to do so, especially given the fact that I am from Athens, and apparently nobody likes Athenians over there. He left us at Amyntaio where we waited for another hour. Fate has it that he was the one who picked us up again, when he finished the business he had to do there. He took us closer to the next town, Ptolemaida, which we managed to reach in combination to a second car. A mini-van full of really fun DEI employees was our next vehicle who left us at the beginning of Egnatia Street –the highway that would take us straight to our destination. All we needed was a tiny bit of luck.
And we got so much more than that.