November 13, 2017. Athens, Greece.
I had this master plan to do a day trip to Delphi, see where the Oracle was. She’s a major player in the Grecian narrative. Socrates, Oedipus, the ruling council and occasional tyrant of Athens all held her in high esteem. She was even in 300, although I imagine she was less naked and surrounded by fewer lepers.
Unfortunately, everything that could have prevented this from happening, did. I’m sure I’ve mentioned Athena is my patron deity; I reckon she heard my plans to skip Athens, however temporarily, and sought terrible revenge.
I packed all my stuff and staggered into the streets of Athens. It’s 9:20 now. The bus leaves at 10:30. It’s a 45 minute walk to the bus station. It’s possible. It could be done. Hauling all my earthly possessions on my back, I double-time it out of tourist/academic Athens and into sketchy metropolitan Athens. I nearly got hit by only 3 cars, which is low.
When I got to the bus station, my headphones imploded for no reason, but I didn’t have time to fix that. I had to find this bus. The bu sport is enormous and filthy, everything’s written in Greek, it’s got a real cyberpunk defunct space station feel to it. I track down the information desk with 10 minutes to spare and the woman says, “It is at other bus station. Here is address.”
She hands me an address in primarily Greek, although it says 260 Liossion on it. I start toward the direction she pointed, fighting with Google Maps, which is insistent that address doesn’t exist.
Half a mile later it is revealed that the phantom bus station is at 216 Liosion, which was a mile away from where the Greek bus service website initially sent me.
And then the sky opened.
Since I obviously missed the 10:30 bus, I had to catch the next one, at 3. Only 4 hours to kill! Maybe I could write! Unfortunately, all I’d seen in the past hour were weird, specialized blanket stores, auto repair shops, and one supermarket.
Since all my worldly possessions are on my back and the tiny, sad umbrella is jammed about halfway down. I needed cover and I needed it fast.
An entire nursing home worth of old men were gathered on the porch of what looked like a coffee shop. I dodged into there, ordered a coffee (the old men are all drinking hard liquor) and reevaluated my situation.
The thunderstorm lasts most of the afternoon, from what I can tell. I can still catch the 3 PM to Delphi, but it would cost about $15 either way. There are no hostels in Delphi right now, only seedy hotels. Nearly all of them are sold out. I could reserve a $45 room for the night, if I acted right then and there.
I did the math. $75 total for about 8 waking hours in the city during a thunderstorm, since I’d have to get back to Athens the next day. I’m not spending another $45 on a room. $100 is like, a full week of Bastard Travel, depending on the locale.
All right. Delphi’s a no-go. I’ll spend another day in Athens. Not a big deal, I love Athens, and I’ve barely scratched the surface of all the traditional Greek food that is so good I almost cry. Last night, I discovered that they make pies out of spinach and cheese. Pies! Out of spinach dip! This is why they authored civilization.
The Olds point at me forebodingly, shaking their grey, drunk heads and saying things in Greek. The woman behind the counter translates, or possibly just offers her own advice.
“You shouldn’t go out yet,” she said, gesturing at Athena’s soggy wrath. “It is too heavy.”
“Yeah,” I said, “It’s kind of looking that way.”
“Maybe it will stop soon?” she said with a shrug. “You stay, sit.”
I stayed. I sat.
It’s dying down now, so I might start the 2-mile charge back to the hostel. Guess I’m booking another night. At least they have a rooftop bar, though I’m pretty sure they’re watering the beer. Fortunately, last night, I found a hidden alley liquor shop, and an old man sold me a sketchy 6 Euro bottle of homemade moonshine ouzo, and I barely survived two shots of it.
Tonight, maybe we’ll go for broke. Wish me luck.