Friday, February 17, 2017

Go to Volos Greece

Go to Volos Greece

Go to Volos, they said.  It's just a short drive away, they said.  It'll be great, they said.  Volos turns out to be none of these things.  I spent a summer on an archaeological dig in the campaign in Greece.  While the days of the week have been long and exhausting under the Greek Sun, we had the weekend to do with what we are pleased.  Myself and a few others, planned by seeing so many countries we could, and towards the end of our two months there, a fellow archaeologist had recommended to Volos.  Volos is a major port city on the continent of the Greece, located at the foot of Mount Pelion (the mythological home of the Centaurs).  While most of the other Greek cities we visited had a certain charm of antiquity, Volos was the exception.

Overlooking Volos
Overlooking Volos

That we packed our things for the weekend, the rental car arrived at the hotel.  It was our first surprise.  The rental was a small little Toyota smart car with two doors.  Because of his strange inner light of the orb - like, we called affectionately the car Polyphemus the Cyclops in Greek mythology.  Fortunately the third member of our party is tiny so could squeeze in the plateau of a back seat and that we reached the road all tighten in the bug, we thought, well at least these things are supposed to be good on gas.  Evil.  About 45 minutes into the drive, we noticed just the tank was exhausted.  In a bit of panic, we managed to find a gas station, but as we went on our way once more, the GPS has lost its signal... three times.

Finally, after about 2 and a half hours travel very stressful (and depleting the reservoir once more), we reached the city of Volos.  As mentioned previously, this city is a not the old world charm that we were used to.  It was modern and populated and complete traffic.  We arrived at a place on the side of the street, and having spent 10 minutes trying to figure out how lock the car cursed, a Greek colleague is out of his shop to tell us, gently, that we would not park there.  Cram us into Polyphemus, surrounded in traffic for another 20 minutes before finally settling on the Argo Hotel near port.

We were exhausted, we are hungry and we were frustrated, but we managed to find a room in the hotel, our first hit chance.  The rest of the evening followed at the time, with some other misfortune wherever we have reached our beds we all agreed it was time for the day to the end.  Determined to turn this trip around, I woke up early and tried everything I could find on Volos on wifi limited hotel. There are many museums that I'm sure had the merit, but we had already seen so much in other parts of the Greece.  I knew that we needed to look elsewhere.  We need to look to the mount Pelion and beyond to retrieve it.

I said to the others as soon as they woke up, and after grabbing a quick breakfast at a local bakery, we all jumped into Polyphemus again to get off the horse.  Initially, the drive was beautiful.  You could see the port now glistening below us and crossed a few villages on the mountainside.  The road quickly became, however, some shoelaces more nauseating that I've ever known in my life.  The thick trees of the forest of the Centaurs blocked the views on the edge, but making the more stifling journey.

The Agios Ioannes coastline
The coastline of Agios it

After enduring an hour and a half of these winding mountain roads, we finally got out to the cliff across the mountain.  It was Agios it.  At the same time, the sparkling waters of the Aegean Sea took away my breath.  Due to the limited boat traffic and the perilous journey by car, here, the waters were calm and clearer than Crystal.  At the same time, I want to jump out of our small car and just into the sea to be rid of the granulation of the city.  But we were not home free yet.  After a car like that, we weren't on this mountain again until it ended on the weekend.  We needed a new place to stay.

We went door to door, guesthouse hotel and bungalow and one after the other he had no rooms available.  After an hour, we had almost resigned to sleeping on the beach until I went inside the office that changed our chance.  A small Greek woman came to greet me.  She did not speak English at all, but with the few Greek words, that I had learned about the dig some communication of charades, she understood what I was looking for.  Unfortunately she didn't, but she picked up the phone to call his nephew who was the owner of a nearby location.  With my Greek mainly composed of words like "shovel" and "pottery", I was surprised and pleased to have been able to connect.  She handed me the phone, and his son, who spoke English, told me that he had a room and she'd come find us to take us there.

I thanked this woman as much as I could in Greek and waited until the man arrived on his motorcycle.  In a comic twist events followed us on foot as he rode his motorcycle to a small bungalow nestled in the side of the mountain.  She was beautiful, affordable, and we were all ready to cry with relief.  Finally, we could use what was left of the weekend.

The crystal waters at Agios Ioannes
 The crystal waters to Agios it 

blog1 sunrise

Almost immediately I grabbed my beach towel and walked to the beach.  The unfortunate events of the day could not help her any longer.  I plunged into the waters and let the diamond cool liquid stain on my skin, basking in the miracle of it all.  Pelion was hanging over the side, jokingly, as if the Centaurs of the mount had planned this all along.  I don't care.  I've soaked in the Sun for the rest of the day, had the best meal of my time in Greece of mussels saganaki and even went for a swim under the stars and the moon as it happened on Mount Pelion.  And despite the exhausting trip, I even woke the next morning to watch the sunrise over the sea.