Greece - The Final Chapter
The road to Athens offered nothing special in particular, and late in the evening i reached my destination. I found myself a relatively quiet spot, stopped the car, cooked dinner and soon went to sleep. To this day I still chuckle at the face people make when they see me cooking from the back of the van. So far no one has said anything but more than a few have stared or turned around to take a second glance.
As i awoke the following morning i reflected upon the human brain. It's interesting how it works: capable of providing the motivation to move mountains as well as providing the motivation to not do a thing. A breakfast of reflexion and oranges later I had decided that I couldn't be bothered to visit Athens, joined the highway and pressed on.
Fate, as it seems, had decided that I should visit the city and let me know. I was on the highway going east, not exactly sure where when a slight problem that I had been having got increasingly worse. The car had been pulling left when driving and right when braking. A great thing about Greece is that they have garages on most gas stations, and so i decided to stop at the next one in order to get the car fixed.
As I hopped down, I wanted to check if the problem was i thought it could be : a seized brake piston on the left brake. Considering how hot the rotor and calliper were on that side compared to the other (and according to the mechanic), my theory was proven. I went in the gas station and asked if the garage was open. This is when fate let me know that I was visiting Athens. As is turns out it was the beginning of the Easter weekend in Greece, and for the next 3 days, no garage would be open. Great.
Day 1 :
I didn't do much, spent the day catching up on tv shows and working on the website.
Day 2 :
There is a line of busses that go from the airport to the city via the highway, which i took in order to get to Athens. My original plan was to visit the Acropolis, but (Easter weekend) it was closed, so instead i took a walk around it and then into the narrow streets below.
Lunch then followed in a small Greek restaurant. Against the waiter's recommendation I tried the meal of the day, which was lamb and potatoes, and indeed i did not like it. This wasn't because it was poorly prepared, but it was the kind of dish you have to grow up with in order to appreciate. The waiter proposed that I taste the other dish of the day. To his surprise I not only knew what it was, but I liked it as well. It was liver, which, being French, is a normal dish for me. That doesn't seem to be the case for most people since i was the only tourist he'd seen to have liked it. After wandering aimlessly I headed back to the bus stop and then back to my van.
See Day 1.
Finally, the garage was open. Fortunately for me the man in charge there spoke a little English and I was able to explain my problem to him. A few minutes later the front end of the van is lifted off the ground. I will admit i was afraid it would tip over since, due to the big wheels and high ride height, it was lifted quite high off the ground. The wheel removed, the mechanic then proceeded to remove the brake calliper. Through signs (he didn't speak English) he made me understand that it was locked, thus confirming my original thought.
It took longer than expected for it to be fixed, which made me glad i'd stopped since it would have only gotten worse as I went. I cooked myself lunch and sat in the shade behind the van, much to the disinterest of the mechanic. Eventually, after the delicate use of a big hammer, everything was sorted. He took the van for a test drive, adjusted a few things and i was good to go.
Considering what I'd paid to get the alternator fixed (a simple broken bolt) I was expecting my wallet to hate me, but no, it only cost me 20 euros. This made me realise that i'd been ripped off by the other mechanic.
Happy to have a fully functioning van once more I bid farewell to the gas station and headed back towards Athens to board on yet another ferry, although this time it was to leave Europe. Destination: Turkey.