I woke up a little before 8 am, folded up the blanket and mattress and returned them to the cafe where I had gotten them. I used the bathroom and brushed my teeth, and walked a few hundred meters to wake up before setting out running into the foggy and brisk morning. "Feels like the fall" I thought to myself.
Very fortunately, I had established a place to stay in the small town of Zitsa with Kostas, who I met through couchsurfing. The run seemed long, and I was taunted through the last 8 km by (what looked like) chocolate milk containers which littered the road. I was chased once again for about 400 meters by a pair of very nasty looking dogs. This time I just maintained the same pace and looked forward, hoping that no biting would occur. Eventually they got bored and turned around, and I comfortably continued forward. When I finally got into Zitsa, I went right to the mini market and bought the brown carton that I had been seeing in the street. I couldn't read what it said, but common sense told me it was chocolate milk. I bought two, and opened the first one half expecting it to be goats milk or some strange concoction that would make me vomit. Those glorious brown bubbles proved my chocolate-milk-hypothesis however, and one glorious fact was made certain to me: chocolate milk exists in Greece.
As I stammered about in the street, I heard my name called out. It was Kostas. I headed over to the nearby bakery where he worked to meet him. I spent the afternoon talking to Kostas, watching him make cookies and asking him questions about preparing bread as he offered me all sorts of delicious things to eat.
Around two we went over to the place where I was staying, and I met Jack, an English guy who was also couchsurfing with Kostas (a guy who has been roaming Eastern Europe and the Middle East for around 15 months). We had a long lunch with Kostas, his mother, and his Grandmother...and I was given enormous amounts of incredible food. The day was spent eating vegetables from his family's garden, bread from his bakery, wine from his family's grapes, and feta cheese from his family's sheep.
After a long lunch, I took a shower and washed up my clothes, and took a nap for a couple hours. Around 8 we met Kostas again for more food and drinking...and around midnight I went to sleep again.
There is definitely something good going on in Zitsa, and Kostas knew all about it. I got the recovery that I much needed, and the food and friendship that encouraged me to keep on running through the crazy (and wonderful) place that is Greece.
16 September 2009