Athens Off The Beaten Path Tips by b1bob
Athens Off The Beaten Path: 263 reviews and 346 photos
Just 6 hours by ferry from the port of Piraeus is the tranquil island of Naxos. This is quite a contrast to the daily rush of things in the city of Athens. Had I known about Naxos when I organised this trip, I would have arranged for more time here.
Thanasis at Loutsa
Our trip back certainly was not wanting for excitement. The normal flow of traffic was moving a little fast on the curvy road between Loutsa and Spata. That together with the fact that Thanasis' Opel Kadett wasn't running like normal, and the driver of the car ahead of us was driving like a dipstick, caused Thanasis to spin out, luckily without turning over or being rammed by oncoming traffic. This very well could have been a fatal event as there were no working seat belts in the car. I don't mind admitting that I was scared.
In those few split seconds, I thought of my family, my friends, and even my dog. In spite of the fact that this was not Thanasis' fault and despite the fact that his driving skills kept everybody unhurt, Thanasis' parents yelled at him all the way back home. I could feel my headache returning. Having heard quite enough yelling by his parents, I would have chimed in on his behalf, but I didn't know Greek (although the two words I did know fit what I felt like saying to them). I not only applaud his driving skills, but I also applaud his self-control for not yelling right back at his parents. If it had been me, I would have given them 3 choices:
1. They could shut up and let me drive the best way I know how.
2. One of them could take over the wheel if they felt like they could do better.
3. I could put them out and they could get back to Athens by coach or taxi.
You're spot on I would do this to my own parents! We got home safely, but I was still some kind of mad at the way Thanasis' parents treated him especially when we could have been at the bottom of a ravine somewhere.
However, cruel reality set in at 10.30 the following day. I was still in Loutsa. We went down to the beach very soon after we got up. The water was cool at first and I didn't expect to venture out far. However, some people were playing volleyball and invited me to play along. They were 13-year old Greek boys who spoke perfect English, one even spoke German as well. (It should be noted that I didn't start taking Spanish until I was nearly 14.) Despite the age difference, I decided to exchange addresses with Elias, with the understanding he would pass along my address to his two other friends (Menas and Dimitruis). I had neither pen nor paper, but my memoury was quite good back then. I was confident I could commit it to memoury until I could write it down in Athens. (Incidentally, I still write to all 3 of them. I think I have talked the 3 of them to tour the South.)
Naxos at dusk
Saturday 20 August, Thanasis went in for half a day. We had planned on spending just that day at their beach house in Loutsa, but they took too long a nap that afternoon. That made the junket an overnight affair. Loutsa is on the Aegean Sea 46 minutes east of Athens. Instead of stopping at the house, we went to the beach first. Swimming and sunbathing were not plausible options as it was nearing dusk when we got there. It was just before pulling into the driveway that Thanasis made one of his infamous "...oh, by the way" announcements. He told me the place had no electricity or running water although every other house on the block had it. I can't believe there were still houses in E.C. nations in 1994 without those two basic amenities. I also forgot my journal and my pen, the one thing that kept my sanity intact during those long, hot days in the flat. At least there was a constant breeze. Ironically, some of the best meals I have ever taken were cooked over an open fire in situations where we were without electricity. That night, we had chop steak, chips, and salad. I wasn't feeling good, neither physically nor mentally. All that yelling at Thanasis that day gave me a splitting headache and, for the first time ever, I was actually homesick while on holiday abroad. I dreamed that night that this entire experience was a bad dream and I was really at home in Virginia.
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