26 September 2009

Day 125

Leonidas 2, originally uploaded by Ryan Runs Europe.

47 Kilometers.
The alarm went off at 7, and I got up right before a woman came upstairs to clean up the place. I gathered my things and tried my hardest to look like a normal customer instead of a homeless dude. I can't really explain how I tried to do this, but I was trying nonetheless. I brushed my teeth in the bathroom, got something to eat and drink, and started running towards Thermopylae around 9 am. It was about 10 miles away, and the run passed fairly quickly despite the four hours of sleep I was working with. I thought about the Spartans as I ran, and that there was no way I could complain about having to run on a little bit of sleep. Those guys killed like 10,000 people on four hours of sleep.
Thermopylae isn't very impressive today. The actual battle field is covered by several meters of dirt, and the sea is many hundreds of meters away from where it was at the time of the battle. There is a cool statue of Leonidas though, and the famous inscription "Tell the Spartans, Stranger passing by, that here obedient to their laws we lie." If you happen to be Spartan, I guess I told you.
I had decided the night before that I wouldn't stop in Thermopylae for the night. Instead I would take a nap on a park bench for a few hours near Leonidas, and then head on towards Gravia. I did this, and tried my hardest to not look like a homeless person whenever people came by to look at the statue or to fill up their water truck at a nearby hydrant.
When I woke up I went over to the nearby cafe and got some lunch, and then went over and sat with my legs in the hot springs for a few minutes before heading out towards Gravia.
In Gravia, I went to the only place where there were people. I ordered a coke and sat there until the sun set, talking with the bartender and some of the young guys who were around the place. They thought and thought about where I could sleep, and we ended up resolving that the best place would be on a bench inside a partially open gallery of the church. The priest unlocked it for me, and Yannis brought me a blanket so that I wouldn't freeze to death during the night. Once we had resolved my sleeping situation, I went back to the cafe and had some drinks...Yannis and Yannis (two guys, one who spoke English and kept insisting that I called him "John") bought me a few rounds of Heinekens, and we had some good old Gravian fun.
Then I went to sleep on a wooden bench.


  1. I always love your tales....u must write a book when u return home...very interesting;)

  2. Greece seems to be real tough. Praying for the best.

    Keep on Running

  3. Yes, Katarina, it can be tough at times, take a Greek's word for it...

    On the other hand, Ryan, you seem to be getting a bit... older as the days go by... When you compare your photos at the beginning of your trip with (let's say) today's one, you seem to have gained some years. Strange, I know, but back then you looked just like a kid, and now, look at you! As if this whole trip is not only an amazing (and a bit scary) experience, but a "growing up" one as well.

    Take care, my friend. If you come across something you don't understand, or something that doesn't make any sense at all, just remember where you are. It's our Greece, a crazy (and a very beautiful - sometimes) place to be!

  4. Folks are still good to you...I think we have that statue on the Penny..maybe not? You look well, hopefully you did not get too cold at night. I like how the people try to help you..if you try, and dont succeed, try again!

  5. I agree about the Book writing thing. Your blog is like reading a page at a time when I wish I could read it all at once! Sometimes I skip a few days so when I have some free time I can read like 10 entries at once. Stay safe buddy!!

  6. -"Those guys killed like 10,000 people on four hours of sleep."-

    You got to remember that there was also Thebians, Athenians, and other city-states that fought in the battle of Thermopylae. This battle was fought to give time for the other city-states to prepare for the Persians.