If you are going to lament every lost opportunity or everything that goes wrong, rather than enjoy what is around you and embrace what happens next, maybe you should just stay home. It is likely that in the strange occurrences and accidents, you will find your more interesting memories.
In the middle of our three weeks in Greece recently, we were driving between Athens and a smaller beach town called Nafplion on the Peloponnesian Peninsula. After a few days in Athens, it was nice to hit the open road and get out of the city. Of course in Greece there is no open road, rather tolls every 10 minutes, but let’s stick with the image of cruising along with the sun shining and a light sea breeze in the air. The road would alternate between rugged Greek countryside and hugging curves in the hills of the Mediterranean coastline.
After departing the main highway, we found ourselves winding our way through orange groves with only the aid of a rental car agency map which focused on rental car agency locations more than rural roads, though the trip was easy and straightforward so we didn’t mind. The term road in rural Greece is not black and white, rather one with wide areas of grey. What they call a road, I would refer to in some areas as a donkey cart path, but if it is good enough for the donkeys…
We arrived in Nafplion to what could best be described as a city plan that resembled a plate of slightly over cooked spaghetti. This happens where a town has existed for literally thousands of years and developed, in what over the short term were practical ways, with the lack of a long term vision. It has its charms when you are not trying to drive through it for the first time. The chaos was nicely enhanced with constructions sites, double parked cars everywhere, vehicles traveling the wrong way down one way streets, and road signs I probably should have brushed up on a bit before heading to Greece.
It was at that moment things took a turn in an unexpected direction. Baby number one decided it was time to be car sick.
Completely lost in small town Greece, where we were soon to discover learning English was not much of a consideration for the locals outside the tourist trade, we managed to pull to the side of the street in what I think was a loading zone for some sort of business . I suspect this was a loading zone because about 15 seconds after I stopped and initiated triage procedures, a large truck with pallets of apples to unload wanted to be right where I was parked. The business owner and I through a series of shouting, guttural noises, and hand gestures worked out that if I backed up a couple metres, we could continue the decontamination that was now well underway in the back of the van.
That’s when it happened. He opened the passenger door my van and started loading in large bags of apples. As my wife was attempting to mop up pools of vomit in the rental vehicle, I was frantically trying to explain using only hand gestures that I did not want to buy any apples. At the same time I noticed that other vehicles were pulling up and getting loaded up with apples by employees so I assumed this was somehow the common practice at this business. He and his employees just kept loading us up with apples, now into the back of the van as well. Once we had 6 of these large bags of apples in the van, they determined we had enough. We had by this time completed an initial scrub down of what only a few minutes earlier looked like a crime scene from CSI and we were on our way.
Until that point, we were a family of five who had survived with two carry on sized suitcases for our trip yet now had what I estimated to be about 200-250 free apples in our van. In the end we gave away a lot of apples and still just had to throw a bunch away because we could no longer find people looking to take free apples from strange foreigners.
My favourite part about this story is that it still really confuses me. I still have more questions than answers about how and why I acquired these apples, and that is why it was an experience I likely never will forget.
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