My third full day - tomorrow I leave, but not till late, and tomorrow my friend finally has a day off work to spend together.
We drive 75km there and back to drop my friend at work - a necessity so he can work at one of the more lucrative tourist spots whilst affording a house.
I'm shown the port of Piraeus and the coast road in the light - it was dark walking it last night, only the huge ferries were obvious. 4000 people a day to Crete. The only other feature I previously was introduced to, also at night, was the cruising spot in the ferry park at 2am - Turkish truck drivers stay on one side, Greek ones on the other. Alas it was dead - no fish market on Saturday night means no trade to drive the 'trade'
We take the long coast road to Glyfada, passing endless tourist restaurants opposite multiple harbours of sailboats and yachts. Nothing too huge; nothing too outlandish, that remains firmly the demesne of the ferry and container ports, at least while there's no big cruise ship in town - its nearly the end of the season here.
I'm dropped at the Flea Market and pointed towards Constitution Square. Never ending 'unique' craft outlets and tourist tat that would no doubt have my aunts haggling like the seasoned pros their heritage entitles them to. I take in the National Park and actually go into the Zappeion this time - a Russian cultural programme is being held - a photo exhibit and later a series of music performances which I return for. I'm much more a fan of the Russian music tradition than Greek and the weather and setting of the Zappeion lend themselves well to outdoor performances with a wandering audience.
A circuitous route down to the Metro station adds to the km walked again today - my shoes become marked even whiter from my travels. Back at Piraeus I manage to navigate enough Grenglish to order myself some souvlaki for another late lunch/dinner before starting the 5km uphill walk to my friend's house - no one parks with their wheels towards the curb; this seems almost sacreligious. As I pass the Greek Orthodox churches (increasing in density as I travel away from the tourist port area) they are calling people to Sunday evening prayers - 1900, a little later than the British tradition, but not perhaps surprisingly given the warmer climate and longer sunlight hours. Flashes of gold glitter at me from inside the churches and the spiritual side of me wishes to go in, observe, and join the service - to experience and feed on the spirituality of others which thereby renews my own. But I've not had a confident day; I realise I know nothing of the Greek Orthodox tradition; I'm in an almost exclusively local area by now; and I'm wearing my bleachers which are hardly appropriate; I do not wish to offend or intrude upon the importance of the ritual of attendance and service for those who's place this is, so I move on. I'll obtain my spiritual fulfillment another day.
Exhausted at home, I sleep for 2h before needing to go pick up my friend from work. I drag myself up and get changed again before heading out - the 30km over the last 48h is making itself known. As are insect bites from a rest in the National Park earlier. A memory surfaces. Exhausted whilst on holiday and yet going out - both me and my ex always tired from our various trials each day - both always forcing a way to drag ourselves up and out. To see each other in the brief time we had, to see others when we had the rare chances, to rescue those who always seem to need it from boys barely holding on themselves.
I think I'll lie in tomorrow.