pikkuinen: (Touch the Sky)
[personal profile] pikkuinen
As some of you might have figured thanks to my posts on facebook, I am currently stuck in a huge puddle of nostalgia. I started sinking in earlier today, I can't really remember what triggered it. I think it was one of those iCarly-fanfics I've been reading since yesterday... they made me think back to when I was a teenager myself and at some point I stopped in the year 2000, when I was 13 and starting to struggle with the fact that all my friends were starting to have boyfriends, but not me.
So I tried to turn the bad feelings into good ones and slipped further back, to 1998. I found some old cassettes in my room that my sister and me had 'mixed' before going to Greece that summer and I also found the photo-album from that time. My mom's best friend (who was on vacation with us) made it, as a christmas gift for my mother.

So yeah, while I am listening to Aaron Carter, the Spice Girls and various other funny 90es artists, have some (crappy) pictures!

Some background-info: In August 1998, I was 11 and my sister was 8 years old. My father had moved out two years ago and this was the first time we visited Greece without him. We went by car and drove to Ancona, Italy, from where we took the ferry to Patras, Greece. As my mother didn't want to drive all the way (it usually took us 12 to 14 hours to get there), her best friend (who used to be my kindergarten teacher) accompanied us. She took the photos I will show you now.
This happened 13 years ago. And practically every year before that.

Our car is all packed for four weeks of vacation:

Our first stop in Greece was Agios Ioannis/Papa Nero by the mountains of Pelion. We had been there several times before and my sister and me always loved it. We stayed at a camping site we still call the 'Lisa-camp' because there once was a stray dog running around and her name was Lisa.

That's us having breakfast, my mum, my sister and me (hiding behind my t-shirt):

My mum and sister were sleeping in our car, Katze (the friend) and me in the tent on the right side of the picture. Unfortunately, I was a very restless sleeper and Katze fled the tent more than once because I kept on hitting and kicking her :/

Of course we went to the beach every day, it was right behind the camp site. And yes, I am wearing a t-shirt in the water, else I'd have burned within minutes. We also never went to the beach between 10am and 5pm, only stupid tourists do that :P We usually slept through the day and only got up to have some salad for lunch and some ice-cream afterwards. Our favourite was 'Karabola', a cup of vanilla, strawberry and chocolate ice cream that had a little toy in the bottom.

Breakfast again... with my sister and my lying in the car. I'm reading... I used to bring my own suitcase of books when we went on vacation and it never lasted and I had to read books twice xD Luckily, my mum was the same.
This was also the summer I learned to play backgammon.

Look! It's my butt! <.< Should I be worried that my kindergarten teacher was taking nudie-pics of me and my sister? :P

Ahahahaha, she's lucky the wind was blowing xD

My mum was apparently a spoilsport and didn't want to get naked... no really, I remember her friend chasing her around the car and my mum clutching her towel. It looked funny as they were both wearing beach sandals.

Greece is beautiful.

We took a daytrip to what used to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, I don't know if it still is. This is us walking down the stairs to Milopotamos beach.

We had a break from swimming and I got some freshly pressed orange juice. I was fascinated by the black straw I got, I had never seen one before. I think I was easily impressed as a kid x)

This, my darlings, is a toilet. The picture was taken at the camp site, but you could find those almost everywhere, even in the 'tavernas', at least when you didn't stay in a bigger city. It wasn't a big problem for me when I was still a kid, but the older I got the more it grossed my out.

One of many stray dogs in Greece. It's the same with cats. :/ Every year we found at least four animals we wanted to take home with us.

That's actually a rather nice pic of my mother.
You see those orange sandals? Those were mine. I stepped into them later that day as I wanted to go somewhere, but I hadn't seen the bee sitting inside... I got stung >.< That sucked big time.
Later that night we went into the village to show a couple around who had just arrived at the camp site. They were from Böblingen, which is a town not far from where I live, and only had their motorcycles and a tent with them :) So we wanted to show them the village and then get some food from one of the small fast food places which had the best toasted sandwiches ever. But it hurt to walk, so the guy carried me from time to time^^

We left Agios Ioannis and made a stop at the Meteora monasteries. We had a look at one of them. If you go inside, you have to wear long sleeves as a man and a skirt as a woman. They were handing those out at the entrance. That was the only time I've ever seen my mum and Katze wear skirts xD

11-year-old me dressed in orange... oh god xD

We found kittiiiiiiiiiiies <3

This is where we spent the night. In a 4-bed-room full of mosquitoes that kept Katze and me awake, so at some point, in the middle of the night, we just sat down on the balcony to read and talk quietly while the other two were sleeping soundly. The same happened two weeks later in a Motel in Corinth. Not fair.

The next day we drove on to Neochori where we met good friends of the family. They did wild camping every year and had asked us to join them. They have three daughters, all older than me and my sister, but I've known them as long as I can remember. There was also another family staying there and their kids were about our age. I can't remember the names though... but the girl was rather bitchy. They had a lovely dog though :P
That's all of our cars and tents at the beach where we 'lived':

We had our own Ouzo Bar!

We took another daytrip, this time to ancient Olympia. Nowadays, I have seen this place so many times that I outright hate it. You have to go there during the day and the place has close to zero trees, so it's awfully hot. And you can hear sirens all the time because it's a very forest fire-prone area and you can smell the smoke everywhere. It's scary.

Look, it's pillars...

and the place where they used to run:

It can be pretty of course. Just not when it's 45°C, smelling of fire and smoke and you'd rather be at the beach.

When we went back to Patras, we took a detour to Corinth, to see the canal.

It was actually quite fascinating to see those huge ferries being maneouvered through the narrow canal. Also, there is a tree growing in the canal-walls, I loved that.
What followed was another sleepless night for Katze and me, this time in a rather shabby motel. We were so glad when we were back in the car the next day.

We stopped for food at some point and as there also was beach, my sister and me went swimming for a bit. After that, we took this stupid picture:

What you can see on this picture is how we usually travelled. While the adults were driving, we were in the back sleeping or playing and usually not sitting up. Which is totally not allowed, but nobody cared. We had our pillows and toys and stuffed animals back there and were having the time of our lives :D

That's the ferry that took us from Patras to Venice:

Those ferries took three days and until 2001 (which was the last year I went to Greece) I never got seasick. I loved being on the ferry, it was so much fun!
1998 was actually the first year we had rented a cabin. Until then we had slept on the camping deck in our car, my parents using the real mattress and my sister and me sleeping on mats on the floor.

Thanks for travelling with me!

I miss this. I really, really miss this. But it will never happen again. Thinking about Greece is one of the very few things that make me miss my mum. I'm not sure I can go there without her. Or go there by plane and stay in a hotel. That would be way too weird.
But I guess one day I'll have to go back, that country is still a part of me. I still remember how happy I was every year when we had finally arrived. I think I even kissed the floor once or twice.
One day... maybe...
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January 2012

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