Heading North

By , 08/07/2014 21:51


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,


One Response to “Heading North”

  1. Ann says:

    Fabulous picture – looks so invitimng and beautiful.

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