Greece - Chapter 1, James
Having left late in the afternoon, it was close to 9pm when i finally got to Patra and crossed the bridge over the sea which separates the north of the Peloponnese peninsula from the mainland. Needless to say I didn't particularly fancy driving on through the night and quickly stopped on yet another gas station. Apart from the odd stray dog barking at a passing car, the night was peaceful.
Morning came, i got up, bought breakfast, ate it, and decided to brush my teeth. Unfortunately for me, the pepper i had in the back decided it was time to end it all, and when the boot was opened, decided to try freefall; without a parachute.
And so, there I was, on my knees, picking up pepper and broken glass from the floor when James appeared. He offered to help with the mess i'd made and together we made quick work of it. As we cleaned he told me about himself a little: he was American and had been backpacking through Europe for the past three months, unfortunately money had run out and he was now forced to head home. He needed to catch a plane in Athens sometime in the middle of the following week, in the meantime he was headed for Corynth, where a couchsurfing host was waiting for him. Not having had anyone to talk to in a while and wanting to help him out, i proposed to drive him there, yes it took me off course, but so what? A short moment later, the time for me to brush my teeth and him to load his bag in the van and we were off.
We got along very well and soon we were talking away as the miles rolled by. He was the youngest of 5 siblings and didn't have a stable job, or a house. That was out of choice, not circumstance since he usually worked for 6 months and then would travel for the other 6. The discussion then expanded to our respective trips, the adventures we'd had before moving on to things like cars and music. We were so absorbed by said conversations that we both did not realise that i hadn't gotten off the highway. This (fortunate) mistake was quickly solved at the next station.
As it turns out, most highway gas stations in Greece are connected to the backroads, all you need to do is ignore the "do not enter" signs on the open gates. we were now on a dirt track, my first dirt track, and i had never been so happy to not have taken the right exit. The road was bumpy, dusty and at some points, pretty damn steep. Also the drop on the side did make it more interesting, Then, there was the view. It was stunning. Never had i thought that there could be that many shades of green in one field.
Fast forward through some twisty and narrow turns and we're on the old highway, going the right directions. The conversation, momentarily halted by the view, began once again and kept going all the way through the lunch we shared once we got to Corynth. Then came the unfortunate time of parting ways as he went to find his host and i headed for my next stop: Olympia.