Posts tagged: Boetia

Living Like A Greek

By , 11/07/2014 20:54

Aspra Spitia

While I am in Leivadia (Λειβαδιά) I really am living like a true Greek. It is a very Greek town – no tourists (any that are here are Greek)… the kiosks don’t sell postcards, or, annoyingly, stamps. The post office closes before I finish work!

As in Athens, I am generally getting up around 7 in the morning – the difference here is that breakfast is almost straight away, not at 8. By 8 I am starting my day’s work: mostly work in the garden, such as collecting dead leaves, cutting the grass, cutting wood for the fire etc. I finish my day’s work at 1.

After 1 I have an hour to get ready for the main meal of the day – the food here is quite good, and always home cooked. It feels strange sitting round a dining room table eating lunch in Greece; I’m normally used to sitting in a taverna for these sorts of meals.

After lunch the family go for their siesta, and I go to explore: I’ve walked up in to the mountains overlooking Leivadia for some wonderful views, I’ve sat by the springs and read my book, each evening I’ve gone in to one of the cafes by the springs for a drink and an ice cream (the banana ice cream is particularly nice).

Yesterday was a good chance to get out of the town for a bit: Dimitris and his sister took me to the beach – we went to Aspra Spitia (Άσπρα Σπίτια) beach – pictured above. It is  just along the coast from the town of Antikyra (Αντίκυρα), which also has a nice beach. Next week I might take the bus and go to the beach on my own. There aren’t many busses to there, but there is one at around 5, and one back at about 8.

In the evenings, a light meal around 9: yoghurt, feta cheese, bread etc. Sometimes leftovers from the main meal if there are any.

Today’s big achievements: Having encountered a problem on my laptop leaving me unable to access my e-mails, I took my laptop today to a computer repair place in Leivadia, and (bearing in mind all my Greek tech-vocab is entirely self taught) I successfully explained in Greek what the problem was, and they were able to fix it for me: I was out of the shop after less than 5 minutes.

Also today I used a cashpoint in Greece for the first time. I’ve never been here long enough to need to use one before!  On the ‘select language’ screen I selected Greek. It’s quite fun using the cashpoints and Athens Metro ticket machines without needing to put it to English! The money I withdrew today is the money I’ll need in Levadia for the next week, and for my return to Athens in a couple of weeks: I don’t trust the cashpoints in Athens, there are all sorts of dodgy looking people lurking nearby!!

Normally at this point in my holidays in Greece – I’d be just 3 days away from flying home. Not this year! Tuesday is not the day I return to the UK: It marks instead one third of the way through my Grand Tour of Greece. By Wednesday, I will have been in Greece for 15 days: Longer than I have ever been in this country before.

Off downstairs in a minute for some dinner, and then I’ll head to bed.

Bye for now,

FH.

Heading North

By , 08/07/2014 21:51

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I’ve come North now – I am 130 kilometers (or 81 miles) from Athens, and I am now in Leivadia (Λειβαδιά) – the capital of the Voiotia (Βοιωτία) county.

For the next two weeks, I am staying with a family in the town; In return for free food and accommodation, I volunteer to do work. Here, it’s light, easy work – and after 1pm I am finished for the day. We have lunch at 2, then I am free for the rest of the day. This morning I was putting all the dry leaves from the ground in to crates, to feed to the rabbits.

This is my first time staying in an actual Greek house: It’s a nice little place. But I shall be honest, I miss the air conditioning of my Athens hotel room – and I got away with not having insect repellant in Athens, but I’ve got one bite on my arm now, not sure what from.

The family are good English speakers – Dimitris used to be an English teacher before he retired; they regularly have foreign tourists stay with them and speak to them in English –  but I have been speaking Greek with the family. There are certain words and phrases I’ve known for years but have never been placed in a situation where I’ve needed to use them: Staying with a family, I have been able to do so. As an example… You wouldn’t really go in to a taverna in the evening and tell the waiter how well you slept last night.

Even just sitting and listening to Dimitris talking with his sister and his daughter (and to the dogs), I am picking things up: I can take part in family conversations which the majority of their foreign volunteers can’t do! Dimitris’ daughter’s reaction when she realised I can speak Greek: “We must be careful”. And so must I: My German language skills have made an unexpected re-appearance. I should point out I haven’t actually spoken German yet, but I’ve had German words on the tip of my tongue on more than one occasion.

Another big achievement today: Talking to animals in Greek. The two dogs here are rather big. They’re not bad, in fact I’m starting to quite like them in a rather strange way. That said, the “social boundaries” I set for dogs are different to those I set for cats. The main words I’ve used when talking to the dogs: ΗΣΥΧΑ! (QUIET!), Μη (Don’t), Όχι (No), Φύγε (Leave/Go away), and Έξω (Out).

The dogs are only trying to be friendly, but I’d rather not have them jumping up at me, or trying to lick my feet – in particular, they seem to like my right toe a lot: the one which is all horrible. It’s really quite annoying!

After lunch this afternoon, the family went for their siesta and I headed in to town to explore – I went to the springs, which they call η κρύα (the kria) because the water is cold. There, I sat for a few hours reading my book; spoke to Mum on the phone for the first time in a week, and I spent a bit of time sitting in a café…and had my first ice cream of the holiday!

It is two weeks today that I had to Syros, which I’m really looking forward to. I’ve got my Syros calendar with me, up beside my bed! Also to come on my Grand Tour of Greece: Kalambaka, Thessaloniki and Thassos. Maps all somewhere in the bottom of my suitcase.

I think I’m off to bed now.

Good night,

FH.

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