Out of the city, and into the country...

Trip Start Mar 30, 2010
Trip End Dec 13, 2012

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Family home

Flag of Greece  , West Greece,
Saturday, October 30, 2010

       Nafpactos is a city that is 2.5 hours out of Athens. It was an extremely scenic drive along the coast of the sea with mountians on either sides.  The pictures really don't do it any justice. On our way there, we decided to stop in a small town that was close to the halfway point.  It was right on the sea with the blue blue water.  It felt like a dolphin should be jumping out of the water sometime soon.  We did a quick walk of the board walk, but the town was very quiet as it is usually summer time when it is booming.    So with a coffe in us we tried to make our way back to the highway.  There also seemed to be a lot of detours as they are rerouting the major highway currently.  We started guessing, left....right....right......shit....now were going up a mountians, this isn't right?! We even drove on a literally a dirt path for like 3 kms beside the highway thinking there should be atleast one place to re enter.  Driving through olive tree fields on this dirt path, we came across a lady picking something......lemons i think.....not sure.  Anna asked her for directions to get to the highway, and the lady asked smiling "Then what the heck are you doing here???  This is a mountain road?"  I couldn't understand a word of the greek, but I could get a rough translation through the tones.  This lady was glad to help us.....So much so that she stopped what she was doing, hopped in her car ahead of us, and escorted us back the 3-4 kms to make sure that we found our way exactly.  You don't see things like that done in every country I must say.   Anna stopped and thanked the lady before we left, and I just sat there with a goofy smile on my face like I understood what was being said.  Onward to Nafpactos...
   On the way there, we would be returning a whole slew of clothings and belongings to her newphew, Jason that lived close by.  Just before arriving in Nafpactos, you have to take this monster bridge that is brand new and  very modern. The bridge its self is like 3kms long.....Don't quote me on that though.  We were going to meeting up with Jason at this Caslte that over looked town.  After a 5 min climb on some very bendy roads, we reached the castle entrance.  The view from the top was spectacular.   You could see the sea for miles, with very nice mountains all around you.  We snapped some quick photo ops and waited.  Jason showed up on a brand new scooter that his brother had just bought.  Of course, after all the greetings, Anna wanted to take it for a spin.  A few more funny moments with some pics taken, luckily....the test ride went fine.   I was introduced to all of Jason's friends that were also in the Air force as mechanics.  There was a base not far from here.  We went to a cafe for coffee, and as usual when around people for the first time, they were a little shy at first with their english.  Because they seem to think that my english is "perfect"(a long way from that!), and they also don't want to embarass themselves.  We all joked around and everyone opened up very quickly.   We even got one good group shot before we left.  
   When it was time to get some food, Anna took me to this restaurant that is off the highway, and hidden among some of the homes.  When you walked into the place...It was a very nice building, but it didn't feel like a restaurant.  It felt more like a big family greek kitchen home that anyone could come and eat at.  In true Greek style, the whole table was covered with food shortly after we sat down.   At one point the waitress came over to ask us if everything was alright.   Atleast so I thought, but Anna and this waitress talked for almost 4-5 mins.  I mean, it didn't bother me in the sorts, but I was wondering....what the heck can they be talking about.  When it all ended, I asked Anna if she was a person she went to school with or something.  She told me no.... people are just very talkative in Greece.  I did work for a greek man once....so I do know they love to talk :)
   To end our first night off in town (if you want to call it that....it was just a few homes.), we stopped by one of Anna's good friends homes, Makis.  From the second we walked in the door, he was super kind and friendly.  He was also a host and a half, offering deserts, ice cream, home made Sherry.  We stayed late into the night chatting, trading travel stories, and looking over some of Makis works of art.  He had many great works completed, and also on the go.  Even painted directly on the walls of the home, were beautiful subtle paintings.  He told me about some artists in the local area and showed me some of their work as well.  Everything in his home....even down the the bathroom sink is a piece of art.  One of the nicest homes I have visited during my travels for sure.    
    Anna's uncles place where we spent the evening was a very large summer home.  It was at the base of a small mountain, and a 5 min walk to the sea with orange trees surrounding the home.  As we were unlocking the gate, a concerned neighbour came over to ask who we were and what were were doing there.  He even went as far as to call the uncle...to make sure that we were really who we said we were.  I thought that it was nice to see.   Once we turned on the water to the home and made a fire, it was time to crash from our busy day on the move.  There was more exploring to be done tomorrow.
    Now if we had not slept in this sunday morning, I would have been treated to join Makis to see how olive oil is really made...the home style way.  It was a little dissapointing that missed it, but I think I may have to make a return visit for that one.   When we were finally up,  we picked up Makis and went for a tour of the town.  It was great to see the town and hear stories from them.  I was also a great opportunity for the two of them to get caught up, and allowed me to walk around taking pictures at my own leisure.  We had a nice coffee while sitting at a bar that was literally on a small cliff, right on the water.   There was one more town that they wanted to show me before the day was done,  Tourlida.  It was where there was a nice beach, also where a lot of the fishfarming is done along the way.  We stopped a few times to pull over and allow me to get some pics, but we finally parked and sat on the large rock that go off into the water.  Such a peaceful setting that I was content just watching the sunset.  Very relaxing day that is exactly what I wanted and expected from my time here.  A chance to see the natural beauty.  
    Our day ended with Makis having us stay back to his place for dinner.  It was a tasty tasty treat.  Now traveling on the road, it gets very tough to eat properly all the time.  Sometimes you just have to settle for what you can get.  I had not been getting my craving satisfied for vegetables.  But the dinner Makis prepared for us, I think everything in the salad was so fresh as it all came from the garden a few hours earlier.  Even the olive oil on the salad was home made.  I was getting spoiled to have this great home cooked meal.  It was delicious.  Makis, thank you so much for inviting me into your home, and making me feel welcome the second my foot set place inside. It was so nice to spend time with you, great talks....I really hope to make my way back to Greece sometime soon.  I hope to see you on Couchsurfing by then :)
  These two days that I spent in Nafpaktos were an amazing and special time.  My mom had told me about how much I would love Greece.  I must say that she hit the nail right on the head with this one.    Thanks Ma.  :)  Thank you to Anna, who this whole trip to the country side would not have been possilbe...or even known about to be honest.  You always showed me a great experience, and did it all with a smile.  I really enjoyed my last couple days in Greece chilling in Athens, but wasn't looking forward to saying good bye to all my new friends.  This part always sucks, but its inevitable.  You just have to stay in touch.  No matter how long its been since we have spoken, we should talk like we never missed a beat.   Bye from Greece....
Next stop on the list is Valencia, Spain.      
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