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Friday, 30.4.: Walk to Gymno

Today we start a modest undertaking again and start for a walk to Gymno, an inland mountain village. We walk on known paths but in spite of that succeed to find a blind alley and to walk back some 100 meters. After the new church there is a sign: "Gymno". So we are right, but the sign points just in the middle of a fork of two paths - so which is the right one? Spontaneously we choose the wrong one and end within some meadows.

But then we can ask a woman and she gesticulates and waves and points until we understand: this path. And this really leads slightly uphill just to the village. We are thirsty then and only look for a shop to buy something to drink. We find a drink shop and there sits a man behind a beer with the owner in the sun and they chat. They ask us where we come from. "From Braunschweig? Oh I have worked at Osterode some years ago" and we must sit down and they bring us a Cola.

Soon we tell our life dates, how many children and how old etc. Then there is a plate with slices of cucumber with olive oil and a spice. We must taste and immediately grimace for it is so sharp. And the owner jumps up and plucks a husk from a nearby bush and this is Pepperoni! Just then another gentleman with a cane comes up, as well a homecomer from Germany. He had some shops there and is called "Capitalist" now. "We love Germany" they all say.

Casually we ask for a possibility to return to our hotel, a bus or so? The bus goes in 10 minutes, they say. So we say farewell and both parties are sad, but we are glad that we were not forced to drink any alcohol, which is said to be difficult due to the hospitality of the Greek people. We have a short glance into the village but finally cannot find any bus. So we return and walk back. As we pass our friends they say "The bus has gone already". We must sit down again and continue to take share in the beer-revelry. The "Capitalist" offers to pay a taxi to Amarinthos 8 km from here.

We agree and now get known to the wife and the little son of the owner. The woman cleans their car and then it turns out that she will bring us to Amarinthos. We are very pleased about this gesture, say many thanks and a final farewell. Ten minutes later we are at Amarinthos and rub our eyes about this nice adventure.

In the evening in the hotel another party has arrived. Hundreds of older people, most of them female. Our source of information as usual is Dimitri: a bridge tournament with 630 participants. "They play all over the night and day - you get crazy" he says. We think that these older people will not ramble around in the area and disturb the silence.

Today we can sit outside for the first time, it was too cold until now. In the swallow's nest above our heads there sometimes a drowsy chirp can be heard. As it gets dark the bats instead of the swallows get the sovereignty over the airspace.

Saturday, 1.5.: Day of Work

This day is named "Day of Work" but is an official holiday. In Greece there is nothing to be seen about this matter: the shops are open and the workers active. And something enjoyable happened with our swallow family: we find the shells of 6 eggs beneath the nest, the squeakers seem to have found their way into life.

During breakfast we sit besides the table of one of those bridge-ladies. Moreover she has a small Spitz dog with her. The Spitz is hidden in a bag and put on the chair. He seems to like this affair, but he doesn't like to wear a baseball cap which the lady tries to put on his head. After the third attempt she gives up. Heidi nearly rolls on the floor with laughter.

Furtheron the lady keeps to be funny. She talks to everyone and provides herself with lots of toasted rolls. Many of those then fall from the table and must be picked up again. The dog is stoic all the time.

For we have the Day of Work we are more lazy today and spend our time at the beach. There are only two local ladies nearby chatting two hours without any pause. Then they walk off and we only hear the sweeping sea. In the afternoon the couple of Unna comes up and the husband has a mouth organ with him. And soon we hear sweet melodies like La Paloma or In der Lüneburger Heide.

At the dinner we get known to a couple from Ahrensburg. They are horrified about the hotel area with this fence around like we were at the first day. For we are experts meanwhile we meet after dinner in the hall and give some tips. This couple has also absolved an one-week education tour to the classic stations of Greece. Here we are not experts and our mythological knowledge is poor. So we learn this and that about Delphi, Olympia or Athens.

Sunday, 2.5.: At the Beach to Amarinthos

We have heard that it is possible to walk to Amarinthos along the beach. But it is not really a beach, there are stripes of gravel or walls from private estates. These reach down to the sea and some dogs again do not like the aliens strolling along, but no dog looks dangerous. After some time we meet our couple from Ahrensburg, who thoroughly inspect the fringe of the sea. They are looking for corals, cuttlebones or sea urchins. We would not have realized that such curiosities exist. We tell them that we want to walk to Amarinthos and so they come with us.

The route is nice as long as we have to climb over stones and walls. Thereafter it gets more boring on an asphalt road. At the beginning of the village there is a modern hotel named "Stefania". There is just a vivid group of tourists on a meadow and they try to imitate the gymnastic exercises of an animator. This is called "Aerobic". At Amarinthos I try in vain to find the big butterfly or moth, meanwhile this will be removed by the street cleaning. But there is a coloured fish on the ground which looks nice though he is dead. At the fence of the promenade they have hung up a couple of octopusses to dry or to aerate. And the fish shops are as decorative as usual.

For the return we use the inland route. There is an adventurous estate with odds and ends. An old man trots around and we wonder how he can live in this hullabaloo. We then walk amidst flower-meadows and olive groves, we enjoy it. A car driver from ahead is very considerate and stops so that we will not swallow so much dust.

We come to a small chapel named Agios Demitrios and the door is open. There are plates like icons in there and we hope that the collectors of souvernirs do not forget their respects. We sit down on a meadow and consume the bananas, oranges or cucumbers which we have bought before. There is a yellow butterfly with black stripes similar to a swallowtail. As we have rested, twinkled and chatted enough we go back under a cloudless sky. We sit at the beach and wonder where all the other people are.

We observe a surfer whose main exercise is to fall into the sea until a boat of the rescue service picks him up. Sometimes they present the yellow banana with some yelling riders. The main attraction is to overturn this vehicle and then the riders are swimmers. Moreover they have two motorized speed surf vehicles which make much noise and disturb hundreds of relaxing beach guests. Fortunately the season is so early that there are only few customers.

As we return from our dinner in the evening we hear a weird cry in a nearby tree. Just then the chief with the frowning glance comes along and we ask "What bird is this?" "It's an owl" he says but we do not understand at first. "Such big eyes" he adds with his frowning glance. Now we recognize and remember the phrase: carry owls to Athens..., but this does he not understand.

As we later sit on our terrace at our bungalow suddenly Heidi jumps up and spreads both arms: "There it was" she shouts. I didn't see nothing, may be I just poured out the vine again.

Monday, 3.5: A Hot Walk to Eretria

We must go to Eretria to get the 500 Drms pledge money for the 5 L vine tank. So we start with a bulky rucksack and look for another new route which someone has recommended. But the sun is hot today. We go uphill until we reach a chapel and recognize that this is a blind alley once again. Anyhow we see an orchid at this section, the only one during this journey.

We go up on another way and at last we find an according fork. We meet a man with shopping bags, he tells in English that he just comes from Eretria. But there would be 2 km on the road he says. We are optimistic to find a better path and go on. It is nice here high above the sea with the view to the mountains of the mainland. But it gets hotter...

We come to a tarmack road and Heidi insists that we go there instead of the dubious path along the slope. So I will never tell you where this path ends. We go downhill and see an overdrawn snake - so they may really exist. And we end - as supposed - at the rat hole at the main street. So we have to master the somewhat boring road once again, with heat and hot feet. At last we are exhausted as we arrive at the town.

W e deliver the thoroughly transported 5L tank. Besides the super market there is a vegetable shop. There they offer open vine to be filled in water bottles. We have a probe and soon a bulky rucksack again.

We go back by bus of course. We try a last adventure at the shop near the Miramar. We want to change money, which is at a better rate than at our hotel reception. But this time we fail. The owner of the shop only looks at my bulky rucksack and says: "You buy your soap in Eretria, this is no bank". So we have to creep back in the heat with our swollen feet.

So we let the feet hang for the rest of the day. I think after this hard walk it may be opportune now to announce a solo-tour for the next day. As we discuss my plan with our couple we compromise that Mr. W. will come with me and the two ladies will have a rest day.

The last experience of the day is, that the open vine is not as good as the 5L tank.

Tuesday, 4.5.: Walk to the Mountains

We arise very early and at 7 o'clock get our breakfast. While the ladies make a date at the pool we start our tour just uphill. The mountain ridges are about 1000 m high and this is a challenge. Until the fork towards Eretria the paths are known, we cotinue to go up and past the last houses the path ends. There is a dry bed of a creek with gravel and dry rocks. Som steps are some meters high and are easy to climb, sometime the creek looks like a mini gorge. Once we find a curious nest of a bird: similar to a swallow's nest but greater and made of a kind of concrete. Moreover there is a special tube as the entrance.

Soon we reach a path crossing the slope and this leads up to a kind of pass. We are higher than ever and now have a wonderful outlook. And there is a cuckoo flying and crying along, recognizable by his long tail. At the summit of the pass another path comes up from Eretria, another leads up to a mountain with a transmitting station.

In front of us there is a little settlement named Gerondas, this was announced by Dimitri. There shall be a chappel with a fountain. But we continue to go uphill. From here we have a view inland but there is some haze in the air. And now we walk through former forests which are burnt down and this is not so much pleasure. We suppose that some of the dead pine trees are more than 100 years old as we count the annual rings. Smaller bushes start to get green again but the bigger trees have no chance.

Up above we come to some quarrel machines. A new built path leads uphill furtheron but then ends. We think it will be not so good to walk in the free terrain due to the snakes. I make a short expedition for orientation but within the dead and carbonised trees this is no fun and I soon return. Mr. W. could not sit down but had to walk to and fro meanwhile before there were so many mosquitos.

A Strange Skeleton
We have to walk back on the same route. Finally we reach our creek again and this time we find a strange skeleton. At the backbone there are other bones some inches long like like a comb. So this must have been a saurian or dragon Eboeaechus? Then we think of a bear, it is told that there are a few bears in the mountains? But may be the truth is: this was a simple goat. As we come deeper we find out, that the creek has no continuation, it seems to seep away in the ground.

We have a last adventure as we pass the estate with the bad sheep dogs. It is not allowed to give up this time for we are fearless men and really: we success to come through. Our tour has lasted 5 hours. Now I must use my Suiss pocket knife and open a bleb between the toes.

Wednesday, 5.5.: To Chalkis again

The vacation will soon come to an end and the initiative for any undertaking declines. We should have done the bus tour to the south, but we cannot do everything. We decide to go by bus to Chalkis again, because when we have been there it was raining. As we come to the bus stop we just see the rear wheels going off, the bus is ten minutes too early.

So we stand there and look stupid but a taxi driver is watchful and stops. We try to get rid of him but then he offers a "Special Price" and we are persuaded and so we ride to Chalkis by taxi. We even can give a baksheesh. At Halkida we stroll around, take some sunny photos and have a coffee. Nothing more to tell about this day for we are lazy as usual.

Thursday, 6.5.: Once again to Amarindos

We have our last day and slowly stroll along the beach to Amarindos. We observe a man who pokes in the stones in the flat water with a triangular spade and now and then puts something into a bag which is torn around his hip. But we go on without further investigation. In Amarindos we buy this and that and then return on the same route. The odd man still pokes in the waves. Now we stop and he comes along. He shows what is in his bag. It is a kind of worms, so he says, which they need as lure when they catch fishes. He is a fischerman and has his boat in Kimni. In earlier times he was a "seaman" and once was in Hamburg. Today he has a family and prefers to stay at home.

We ask about the fishfarm between Amarindos and Aliveri. He doesn't like this, no good quality and so on. Finally we discuss about politics concerning the war in the Kosovo."No war is good" he says and so do we. And Germans and Greek are friends today, let's forget about the last war. So we have an open conversation and after a cigarette depart with handshakes.

Now we realize that it got cold, there are chilly fall winds from the mountains. So we will have no swim today. Now there is the final task which has to be done as usual: Heidt gets a plastic bag, a fork and a spoon and my Suisse pocket knife and then escapes into the wilderness to dig for this and that. Mostly I stand around and look that no one may observe this outrage to nature. I say this and that of spiders and snakes and scorpions until she starts to hesitate. Finally we collect some capsules of the poppy (and these were forgotten in a cupboard rotted one year later).

We then arrange our baggage and must resign to sit outside - it is too cold. We say farewell to the swallow family and hope that they success to bring up their bree - but it looks good.

Friday, 7.5.: Acropolis

We are picked up very early (5.50 am) by a bus with 8 passengers only. We enjoy to pass the new suspension bridge near Chalkis. Then we use the highway and approach the endless Athens. The driver rides just across the centrum and once we have the sensation: there is the Acropolis and we come along quite near. Now we come back from Greece and shout out: "We have seen the Acropolis!"

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