Monday, 5 May 2008

Pilgrimage from Near Kostas to Kastoria 01/05/08

When we went to bed last night it was still quite warm. This gave us a false sense of security as it ended up being freezing once again!

The alarm is set for 6:30 and we emerge from our tents into the cold morning only to find the tents are still soaking wet. Our hands are numb as we try to pack them away and we look forward to getting moving so we can warm up.

The plan today is to hit Kastoria, about 23kms, around 2-3pm. We have a lot of stuff to do, changing some money or finding an ATM being the most important, with Sabine buying a blanket or new sleeping bag a close second :) Then, if we are up for it we will try to make another 8kms in the afternoon to the next town.

The good news is that the road follows a river the whole way to Kastoria making it perfect for walking, we have beautiful scenery and a slight downhill.

It isn’t long before we start spotting picnics everywhere! If it is going to be like this the whole way to Istanbul we’ll be the happiest pilgrims alive. The Greeks do it in style too. They all have heaps of food and huge speakers set up with the music blearing…

A passing family stops to have a chat. It turns out it’s bloody Easter!!! That’s why everyone is partying, but it also means all the shops will be shut! They invite us to come and sit with them but we figure it is best to try to make it to town early and see what we can still get done. Happily they load us up with Easter eggs and Coke to keep us going. Having only a little stale bread and a small bit of cheese left until we get some money they have no idea how happy this makes us :)

As we get closer to town the road turns into a four lane highway and with the sun beating down the walk starts to become slightly less pleasant. But finally around 3pm (well it is actually 4pm as daylight savings has just started but no-one has told us yet ;) ) we stumble into Kastoria. It is beautiful, a perfect little holiday town sitting right on the lake…

Passing a big restaurant on the edge of town we both just want to collapse…but unfortunately they don’t take credit cards :( Finding an ATM soon after we think we’re in luck, but alas, it doesn’t spit out any money! The next one is broken and we are starting to feel like today just isn’t our day…but after another few hundred meters of walking, success!!!

We finally have some Euros!!! :)

The next plan is to find a restaurant open, preferably close to the middle of town, where we can kick back and relax for a couple of hours. A lively woman spots us coming down the street and stops for a chat. She recommends a restaurant on the other side of the harbour. We are both too exhausted to walk so we hail a cab.

“Where do you want to go?”

“Targos restaurant”

“It’s only 500m…just walk!!!”

We can’t believe it! Everyday we have people stopping to give us a lift (which of course we always refuse) and now we want a taxi the guy tells us to walk!!!

So we do…

After a wonderful meal we don’t feel like going anywhere…and also the shops will be open tomorrow so we decide to stay. Kastoria looks like it is a great place to go and party as there are bars everywhere. The view over the lake at night is magical and I attempt to go out for a drink, but after all the sun today I’m not in such a sociable mood. Two beers later I’m back in the hotel ready for bed…

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