Yiasu! Apologies for the brief photographic interlude, I apologise further for uploading photographs of rank wine (yes of course I still drank it) and throwback photos of me 9 years ago still on the Dimitrius hunt but at least it shows this tale is true. So, back in the modern world I’m at this point in Alonissos, heading out for my first night…
After the build up from my balcony watching the boats bring the dancers in to the beating of their drums, I toddle off to the main square to see what this dance festival is all about. I have to say, the atmosphere is electric. Swirls of dance troupes fill the streets, there’s music and merriment and the place is generally jumping. I need to find somewhere to eat and feel foolish to think I will find a table anywhere. As luck would have it though one of the restaurants makes a table up for me (“just one?!” “yes, just me…”) in what I actually think is one of the best seats in the house. It’s a raised platform from the rest of the restaurant where all of the tables are full and I have a birds eye view of the action. I order a traditional Greek garlic dip as can’t think I’ve had one of those before and a Beef Stifado. Happy days…until the dip arrives and I realise I may as well just eat a garlic bulb raw. Oh well, no kissing if I meet Dimitrius tonight then! I have a fantastic evening watching the dancing and soaking up the atmosphere and though I’d like to get up at the end of the night when they invite the crowds up on stage, it’s really not something you would do on your own: believe me though if I’d been there with the girls we’d have been Opa-ing all night an then some!
Next day I decide I’m going to walk to the old town so take my legs off on a journey…except me being me with my rotten sense of direction end up walking the wrong way. After a 30 minute hike in the heat passing a wall with water bottles stuck to it (representing all the people who have died here trying to find the old village?!) I end up at a dead end with only a resort ahead of me. Appears I’ve got my Marpunta’s and Megalos Mourtias mixed up; why the bleedin’ hell is there a full on proper official road sign that makes you think you’re going to a proper official place when actually a handwritten plank of wood on a tree would suffice? Just confuses folk like me who assume a proper roads sign means an actual proper town. Anyway, after I walk back (so basically hour down and two blisters up) I find the sign pointing to a footpath for ‘Chora’ the old village. Oh well, at least I’m on the right track now at least, ‘track’ being the operative word.
Heading up this ‘path’ I feel more and more like a mountain goat trying to, well, stay alive. Little lizardy things run past me, birds swirl (vultures I reckon hoping to get a taste of last night’s Stifado; oh well at least the garlic may come in useful for something) flying buzzing things land on me and I do some sort of freakish tribal dance to try and ward them all off. There’s a stench of manure and I think that if I don’t find Dimitrius at least I know where Gepeto is. No one had told me that in order to get to the old town I really should have brought Bear Grylls along with me. I’m amazed to see some older ladies coming towards me, phew! There must be a town up there soon if these two have survived. They’re talking to each other in English and just as we pass each other and I’m about to say hello, one of them cheerfully says to me “Guten Tag!”
Guten Tag?! Guten bloody Tag?! Weirdly I smile and Guten Tag them back even though I’m not German and neither are they. I’ve been away from home all of two days and I’ve changed name and nationality, whatever next! Tomorrow I may wake up a teetotal vegan, anything appears to be possible here.
Walking this route though I’m so thankful I decided not to stay in the old village; I know that me being me would probably have set out on this very same route with case in tow: that would’ve well and truly buggared my wheels for sure. I get into the village and there’s only the same band and dancers from last night playing. Bless them they’ve had no rest, still beating their drums and dancing away; I like their style! I wander around the old village like the proper tourist that I am, taking photos of churches even though I’m not religious and never go in them at home but for some reason when abroad always seem to be sticking my head in one and taking photos of the exterior; surely it’s not just me that does this?
After a couple of hours I’m done with the old town and decide to head down to Megalos Whatsitsname. I know the beach is just down from the old town but what I didn’t realise was just how much it bends and bends and bends and bends….my blisters are multiplying and quite frankly I consider turning back it’s so torturous given I’ve already walked so much already. Half way down the bends there’s a message in Greek on a tree with a number printed on it: I’m guessing it’s the equivalent of the Samaritans helpline for those lost wandering along this winding road in the blazing heat wondering if their thoughts of a beach are actually just a mirage. I also wonder if Uber cover Alonissos? I could do with someone to call right now to pick me up but give that Goole Maps doesn’t even seem to register half the place I’m guessing not.
I eventually reach the beach and spend a few hours:
a) Swimming lengths
b) Extreme tanning
c) Drinking beer, nodding off, waking up and attempting to look cool strolling into the sea but tripping over the pepples and falling ar*e first into the water
Answers on a postcard please, you can reach me at: Vasili, The German, Alonissos, Greece