Il Punto, and a Plethora of Pre-Patras Preparations
This is our last day in Athens. Tomorrow, early in the morning, we drive from here to Patras to catch that ferry I’ve written about a couple of times now.
Today, we need to gather together the articles for Issue #7 of Curated, the weekly mailing that goes out to our #CreativeTribes Slack community, and, in a nutshell, get a bunch of stuff done, pre-departure.
We’ve gone grocery shopping to pick up food for the road/ferry journey tomorrow which will end on Saturday morning in Brindisi, Italy. We’re planning on spending several hours there, checking out the city beyond it being a mere port of entry. Then we’ll be driving down to the very tip of the heel of Italy to spend a few nights. But, we like to travel with food, an iced down cooler, a flask or two filled with Bialetti coffee and steamed milk, and another with herbal tea. Speaking of which, we just bought ten bags of Greek mountain tea which we figure should last us about three months, as we brew it up at least once a day, with fresh rosemary, sage and thyme and usually a spot of honey stirred in. Healthy stuff that we love the taste of, to boot.
We also bought 150 grams of sliced Milano salami — funny that, buying it here to keep us fueled en route to the meat’s homeland — some Gouda, and Dijon mustard to go in a lovely loaf of Greek bread. So tasty Italian-Dutch-French-Greek sandwiches to go with a big Greek salad we likewise picked up the ingredients for to keep us going tomorrow afternoon in Patras, in the evening on the ferry, and with a bit perhaps left over for snacks or on Saturday.
And we noticed a jar of Bonne Maman chestnut jam, and picked up another jar of four-berry jam, to have for breakfast on the ferry Saturday morning. I discovered the delights of stirring a bit of (then homemade) chestnut jam into plain yogurt one morning while staying with Mufidah on the banks of the Dordogne in Bergerac, while CouchSurfing with a lovely couple there.
So on Saturday morning, breakfast will be this stirred into a couple of 200 gram pots of (full-fat, of course) Greek yogurt. And if we’re still hungry we can have a Pooh Bear snack of bread, butter and jam. This will get us off to a good start before disembarking with the Punto at Brindisi.
Our dear wee Punto, what a lovely friend he is. I think he’s quite excited about the prospect of returning back to Italy again, the land of his birth, and where he spent three months last year. But instead of just Tuscany, he’ll be tootling around more southern climes before making his way to the west coast of Italy. And he’s particularly looking forward — he’s like a kid, really — to driving like a Formula 1 car around the Amalfi Coast, up to Naples and Rome and onwards ho! to the Italian and then French Riviera, at which point he’ll likely be having visions of doing the Monaco Grand Prix.
All to say you can see that Il Punto doesn’t really want to part ways with us were we to decide to give up our overland journeying to fly, point-to-point, along with the digital nomad hordes. He far prefers for the pack to stick together, to keep on doing what we’ve all done so well thus far.
He’s even beginning to think he could go all out and do the Dakar while living life anew in Africa. He’s thinking, what better training than the Dakar to prepare for an overland journey through Eastern Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Siberia, including, of course, the Road of Bones, Charley and Ewan-style.
Generally speaking, we’re quite happy to go along with Il Punto, but do, on occasion, have to reel him in. When we do so, we’re careful to do it as gently as possible, typically by suggesting slightly less adventurous means to get us through the things we’d all love to do together.
And he generally understands that one has only one life, that we can’t all accomplish everything in a finite span of time. But, then, when he found his way to us in 2009 for just £150, he had no idea he’d likewise find his way from near-junkyard status to driving to and around 17 countries, including Scotland and Wales. And he even looked longingly across a small divide to Edirne, Turkey en route to Alexandroupoli on a daytrip from Bulgaria, and could just make out the tops of mosques and minarets standing so temptingly close, yet, for insurance purposes, so out of reach — at least on that particular occasion.
When one has been given such a new lease on life, at a point when prospects were looking so dire, you can begin to see why, once unleashed and traveling over domestic and distant lands aplenty, it’s quite easy to begin to think the world is your oyster.
Such are things with Il Punto. Standing at the very point, the very essence, of life.
He’s doing his best to stay in the present, knowing full well that it can be fatal to look too far into the future when there’s so much to get through in the short-term. For now, he’s lying low in Athens, waiting to be refueled and reloaded for the trip west to Patras before rolling on to the Brindisi ferry.