The way home (Part 2)
by Project FOUReigner - 4 years, 10 months ago
Our rides after that will be used as arguments in favor of hitchhiking forever. At this point, I was starting to stress out a bit (no surprise there). It was after 3 pm and we hadn’t even covered half the distance. While I was busy making up backup plans, a nice woman my parent’s age stopped for us. Born in Poland herself , Lambrini is more than used to hitchhikers and although people in Greece tell her that she’s crazy, she always picks up whoever she can. She would take us to Grevena, an hour away. At that point that seemed like a life saver. In that hour that followed we talked about everything, from our travels to her family and so on. She didn’t speak English but given that Czech and Polish are very similar languages, we created a crazy linguistic triangle that was definitely fun. When we were reaching Grevena, her destination, she asked us “have you been there?”. We said no. “Are you hungry?”
She insisted on inviting us for lunch (greek food at last!), and coffees and of course we couldn’t leave empty handed! Chocolates, waters, fresh-cut coffee enough for a year from her very own coffee shop. Afterwards we got back in her car and she drove us outside of the city. She didn’t leave before we found our next ride and she even gave me her cell phone number to send her a message when we arrive at Igoumenitsa so that she knows we’re okay. If not and we got stuck somewhere, she would come pick us up. What can I even say.
Our next ride was a big one. Literally. A huge truck going from Thessaloniki to Igoumenitsa was the only vehicle heading that way. “A truck? Are you crazy?!”. Hold your horses. I really cannot see why this can be considered a lesser ride in any case, or even remotely less safe. A truck can go maximum with 80 km/h, so the driver cannot speed even if they want to. They are on duty and they have to reach a certain destination at a certain time, so no detours. Safety is not an issue since people are technically at their job and professional drivers. And our driver? Mr Panayotis first of all, had my father’s name. It’s scientifically proven that if anyone has the name of someone you love, they cannot harm you. Google it. He has three children and seven grandchildren and we spent a fair amount of our 2,5 hours together talking about them. And politics of course, because this is Greece. He was also telling us how he used to be a professional football player when he was our age, but he hurt his leg and needed major surgery. He still had a photo of his football team in his truck. We listened to traditional greek music and his wife called a couple of times to make sure that he didn’t make us listen to too much folk. Hahah.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was our last ride for this project. The last one of our million rides spread over one month and six countries. We arrived at Igoumenitsa at 9pm. Unluckily enough, the next boat to Corfu was at 23.15 so we had some time to relax, have coffee by the port, and enjoy the fact that we actually really made it.
We reached the port of Corfu at 1 am. You can understand how exhausted we were at this point, yet we just grabbed our friends and went straight for tsipoura by the sea. There was not a lot of people, but a group had a guitar and a bouzouki and were singing. “This couldn’t be more greek”, Veronika says. It really couldn’t.