Greece - Chapter 4.1 - Zakynthos

The morning sun witnessed something rather uncommon that day. Me, up early. Truly a miracle. Truth be told I’d left my window open before falling asleep the night before and the cold morning air had woken me up.

A quick breakfast later I was buying my ticket for the ferry and waiting for the ship to arrive. Having nothing better to do, I decided to clean up the interior of the van. I noticed that I wasn't the only one to do so; does waiting for a ferry instill an urge to clean your car in the human mind? Possibly.

The ferry finally arrived and a varied and colourful variety of vehicles poured out of its entrails. I saw everything from bikes to full sized trucks with their cargo, tractors, pick-ups and then the plethora of usual cars. The pack waiting to embark was composed the same as the one that had just disembarked, needless to say I stood out quite a bit and the man in charge of the loading/unloading operation struck conversation with me as we waited.

The crossing had nothing special and an hour and a half later it was over. After disembarking, I parked the van near the port and walked around the city (Zakynthos) until night fell and I went to sleep. The next morning I went to a local cafe to use the Wi-Fi so that I could make plans. The American tourists I met in Olympia had told me about a shipwreck on the island and my love for rusty old things compelled me to go see it. Research done, I was on my way into the hilly countryside and trying to avoid tarmacked roads altogether, which was not difficult. I may have trespassed over private terrain as I was chased by an elderly man on his scooter for a while. A particularly steep hill cut the chase.

The countryside struck me, the island had been victim to some serious fires and the blackened trees still stood. This made for a somewhat ethereal view. Many twists and turns later I finally arrived atop the cove in which lay the carcass of the ship. Poseidon must have been having a bad day; the sea was choppy and the wind strong enough to push me around like a kitten does a yarn of wool.

The road ended at a terrace, which in summer I assumed housed a bar of restaurant of sorts, but all there was now was a big green truck and a Swiss camping car. It turns out that in said truck sat a man who sold a variety of products. He was charming beyond belief and very friendly and I enjoyed talking with him, and yes, he did convince me to buy some of his products. I ended up with two sorts of honey, candy made from sesame and honey and some olive oil. On top of that he gave me the biggest orange I have ever seen (and the tastiest) free of charge. We talked a bit more and he proposed to me a local alcohol, considering the fire that poured down my throat I’m, assuming it was home brewed, but nonetheless very tasty. Like vodka, but with a nice taste.

I went back to the car to store my newly bought delicacies and while I did the couple from the camping car came back from wherever they had been before. The man in the green van was quick to talk to them, as it turns out they were friends of a friend of his and had come especially to see him. Wanting to talk to them I headed towards them and started talking with the woman. She was a charming lady, she was Italian, but had lived in Poland until she was 17 before moving to Switzerland. Neither of us were as surprised as the seller (I’ll call him Mr. Jolly from now on, because jolly he was) and the woman's husband when they heard us talking polish. However, Mr. Jolly's enthusiasm quickly captivated the couple and I waited politely nearby. Through their conversation I learnt that they were both Italians and that they came to Greece once a year for a month or so. While this conversation was going on I made some new friends. Two small cats who appeared to live in the truck, became brave enough to approach me while I was sitting on the ground. Cuddles and scratches soon followed, in great quantities.

Eventually I started talking with the lady again since she spoke both English and polish whereas her husband mostly spoke Italian (we still understood each other). Since they were on a time schedule the conversation did not last very long and soon they were on their way. As for me, I started walking down towards the wreck and towards a very close encounter with the Grim reaper.

Nemo Faucher