Under a piercingly bright sun, the Minoan lines ferry, from Bari Italy, takes us across the calm translucent deep blue waters of the Ionian Sea. Past the sharp barren peaks, along the Albanian coast, where the border with Greece is indistinguishable. Perhaps known only to the ferry’s captain and the ponytailed Greek Orthodox priest, casually walking the deck, ministering to relaxed passengers, twirling worry beads.
I wonder if he travels for free ?
At Igoumenitsa we weave through broken footpaths, past watchful lazy dogs and dozens of over indulged cats.
Having grown up with Greeks in Melbourne, I find the Greek voice comforting, whilst familiar. Gesticulating men, too many men, crowd the cafes, everyone smokes.
River red gums proliferate ringing the foreshore. Miraculously discovering a cycle path, we ride out along the bay to camp at Depanos beach. It’s now the end of the summer season. The owners are generous, gregarious and hospitable.
Slowing down, after months on the road, we surrender to Greece, allowing ourselves to just sit by the sea, bathing in the serenity.
Ferry hopping to the beautiful island of Corfu, we explore the old town. It’s fort and highly polished cobblestoned streets, are a magnet for cruise ships, tourists, touts and refugees. A unique mixture of humanity.
Camping on a former orchard, miles from town, we meet a couple of older English cycle tourists, with whom we enthusiastically share stories of the road.
Greece oozes history, myths and legends. This is the land the gods choose to tell their stories.
I imagine Diogenes, wretched but persistent, purposefully walking the streets. His lantern held aloft, seeking an honest man. What would Diogenes have thought of Costas Georgakis the 22 year old student, who in 1970 during the reign of
The Generals military dictatorship, burned himself to death for the freedom and democracy of Greece, saying “I cannot do other than think and live a free man!“