30 September 2009

Day 129

Run to Oropos 1, originally uploaded by Ryan Runs Europe.

47 Kilometers.
I woke up just before 10 am, in time for the hotel breakfast (I had cereal, orange juice, an egg and some bread with honey). After eating, I went back to my room and fell asleep. This is the benefit and the problem with hotel rooms: when you have one, you will use it. I slept until just before noon, when I woke up and quickly packed my things before I had to check out. I noticed that my armpits smelled terrible despite my having taken a shower...so I gave them a quick shampoo, towel-and-sink shower before heading out of the room. Still classy after 129 days.
By the time I got through my Internet work and got something else to eat, it was well into the afternoon, and I needed to run to Oropos.
I maybe walked about 4 kilometers out of Thiva before I started running, on a dirt road that took me through all sorts of beautiful farms. Often times it wasn't a road at all...just a farm. Somehow I kept getting back on the path on my map, and the run went on on roads like this for about 15 km. It was beautiful. I ran by very many people herding goats and picking grapes.
The rest of the run just kind of dragged on, and at some point (about two hours in) I stopped in a small town convenience store to get something to drink. They charged 2.50 for a bottle of Powerade...but I payed it (bitterly) because I just needed it.
Towards the last 10 km of the run, I felt a strain in my left calf, like my muscles had just tightened up...but I kept running because it was getting late and there wasn't really anything I could do. I was, however, running very slowly.
In Oropos, I called Stefanos, who had contacted me after Giorgos in Kalambaka put my story up on a Greek blog. He had only sent me a very short email, so I didn't really know anything about him except for his name. Usually I meet someone or know a little bit about them before I bind myself to sleeping at their house. I was thinking "man, it would be really great if this guy was a crazy serial killer...right at the end of my trip."
When I got into town, I gave Stefanos a call and downed two bottles of "Milko" chocolate milk from a nearby kiosk. As soon as he showed up in his car, I could tell that he wasn't any of the crazy people I had imagined in my head. A really cool young guy. AC-DC was playing as I stepped into the car.
We drove back to his house (only a few hundred meters away) where I met his dog (a nice dog, in Greece!) and his mom. I sat around for a while stretching, drinking water and talking to them before we went out to go eat some Souvlaki in a nearby town (one that I had run through earlier).
At dinner, his older brother Babis showed up, and we spent the rest of the evening talking about a lot of different things. Their dad works on ships, and as a result they are pretty well travelled. Actually, we learned that their dad was working on the ship that I took from Brindisi while I was on it! A very small world.
After dinner I took a shower and had some home made rice pudding. We talked for a while about music (Stefanos is a big heavy metal fan) before I wrote a blog for the night and went to bed.
I fell asleep excited and a bit nervous for the coming day. It was destined to be one that I had been waiting for for a very very long time.


  1. ooh.... that last line adds a bit of suspense to the tale! could it be that Athens is getting closer?

    You're having an amazing adventure... I'm both envious and in awe! Enjoy it to the fullest as it winds down! In any case, thanks for bringing us along with you! :o)

  2. Yes Mama, we are there. By the way, looks like you've done a pretty good job at child rearing.

  3. the last line, a cliff hanger...;)

    the pic reminds me of out west here in the states...awesome;)

    peace and safe running..

  4. Yes...my heart is racing...finally, the goal on the horizon...crazy journey complete. It was a long time ago that we made the dash from your graduation at Columbia University, NY to the airport. The traffic, the anxiety. All your worldly goods in storage, and a tiny pack on your back. Your flight had been closed, we were too late...my pleading amidst my tears before, a few radio calls later, they escorted you to the plane...The luck of the Irish went with you son, didn't it? I can't wait to see you again. You found the magic in the world you went looking for...I am so proud!

  5. Sounds like you are getting close to Athens. It's been very interesting following you this summer and it will be sad to have this adventure end.

    Although, as a mother, I know how hard it is to have a child out of reach on another whole continent! Your mama will be relieved and proud when you get home.

  6. Thanks for the wonderful tale and sharing it with the world, and good luck with the happy ending!

  7. It's been a lot of fun following your story these past months. Congratulations and bon voyage!

  8. Run bum run!!! Shish-kebab barbecue awaits you!!!!!

  9. Yes Ryan, You're almost there and keep smiling. Looking forwards to seeing you soon. We are very proud of you and thanks for sharing your great Adventures with us. Love you Phula.

  10. "It's been very interesting following you this summer and it will be sad to have this adventure end."

    'Au contraire'... The adventure should only *start* in Athens!!! The most crazy city in all of Greece (and, by now, Ryan has come across some strange towns here...), it has something for everyone.

    Ryan, welcome to Athens. Enjoy your stay for as long as you can!

  11. Amazing trip, now I have to scour google for a better blog to keep me on the edge of my seat, but I doubt that will happen. Your trip is really awesome. Still say you should start touring every other part of the world on foot, maybe get some big wigs to pay you to do it and write travel guides for runners. Take care, enjoy your last two or so days.

    Ithaca, NY

  12. Okay Ryan, the suspense it killing me...:)

  13. YES!!! awesome you're almost there!!! i told everyone you'd do it

  14. Always trust an ACDC fan ;)
    Can't wait for next post, you're so close!!!
    And I find it hilarious you say "Small World" on a trip like this!!

  15. I have so enjoyed your journey, awesome photos, interesting tidbits, quite a trip. What a unique experience. Love your smile and attitude. A trip you will never forget. Take good care.

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