I admit it. My expectations about the first leg of our Greece trip were, um, modest. After all, it was largely about meeting K’s family, childhood friends and finally visualizing the setting of so many stories.
I’m cool with that, I’d told her. It’ll be relaxing. And that’s just what I need after all these months of mayhem. No goals. Just be – right here, right now. Bla bla bla.
And relaxing it was. On day two of my stay in Veria I managed to pack in two naps in a single day, that’s before and after lunch. That’s me – the guy who never naps, not even when he’s tired like the Beatles song and pulls down the blind and dons earplugs and meditates and….Yep – not even then.
Still, there were some highlights to be reported. There was Salonica, Vergina, a wonderful cafe in Nausa, a pool with views, cool water running in villages, the realization that perhaps peaches from Macedonia are actually better than the ones grown in Murcia, where my father’s family has lived since the 16th century.
Oh and, the food.
Problem was, there was Olympus, which we could see from the highway, en route to our accommodation in Leptokaria. Which, what the hell, I could see from the choppy waters of Leptokaria as we tried to swim.
Go to Olympus, I was told once and again. It’s beautiful. Drive to Prionia.
The world, said Sal Paradise, was suddenly rich with possibility, and I envisaged myself speed hiking up to Mt. Olympus – well, perhaps not that far, but definitely, from the trailhead at Prionia all the way up to the Agapitos refuge.
Yep, that’s me, far from home, with my 5 euro foldable daypack and my trail runners.
Me again, on the trail.
But that was not meant to be. Due to the forest fires in different parts of the country, the government banned any and all hiking on forested trails.
It was frustrating.
Still, we tried our best to escape the heat from Leptokaria, our basecamp in the Macedonian riviera. It was nice – even beautiful.
But we both felt it was time to head to the islands.