I slept a solid 10 hours and woke up after ten. By the time I got my things gathered together, it was after 11...at which point I walked over to the bakery to say goodbye to Kostas. He gave me some more baked goods before I left, and I walked the first couple kilometers to let my food settle and my laundry dry.
Despite the run being much shorter than average, I was still chased on one occasion by a pair of nasty looking dogs and was still incredibly tired coming through the last 8 kilometers.
When I got into Ioannina I wiped the dead bugs from my chest, put on my shirt and went into the first grocery store I came across. The cashier started talking to me very quickly in Greek, and it took me some time to explain where I was from and what I was doing and that I did not understand Greek. She seemed very interested in how wet my shirt was. Eventually a woman who was shopping in the store joined the conversation, and she asked me if I spoke German. Once again I communicated to a group of people through a language that was secondary (or quaternary) for both parties. The grocery store had a huge selection of cold chocolate milk. I went with the "Milko" this time, and added a bottle of water and a couple bananas to my basket.
From the grocery store I went to the nearest Internet cafe, which actually was an incredibly modern gaming facility with huge computer screens and fast connections. I updated my blog and spent some time sending out couchsurfing requests. I also printed out (and later laminated) a little note card that had my route on one side and a little explanation of my trip in Greek on the other. My friend Nick back in NY had laid it out in Photoshop for me, and the Greek was computer translated due to a lack of time on my part. It kind of makes sense though, according to a local.
Near nine pm I met my couchsurfing host Giota, who had been studying for an exam she had the following day. We met up with a couple friends and went out and had souvlaki together.
When we returned home, we spent a little while talking about which road I would take the following day. The road I have on my map meant 53 kilometers up a mountain to get to the town of Metsovo. I guess there is a new road that is supposedly better, but it does not appear on my map, or on Google maps yet (Google is supposed to know everything!). I guess we'll see what happens in the morning. Overall, another good day for rest and planning. I think some tough one coming up ahead.
17 September 2009