Thursday, March 29, 2007

Greek mountains and mopeds

As promised the long awaited story of myself, a Greek Island, a moped and a mountain.

First we have to travel back in time to the summer of 1989, I had finished school the previous year and had delayed going to university for a year. For a few months I worked in a toy factory making Webster the spider then I moved to a bank to join their student training scheme (I guess I forgot to tell them that I was only planning to work there for six months). It was fun, earning money was great but I was looking forward to my summer spent travelling in Europe.

I went travelling with my then boyfriend who'd I'd been with for nearly a year. He was a poor student hence we travelled only for a few months with all our clothes, tent, sleeping bags etc strapped to our backs. After an exhausting month in France and Italy we ended up in Greece ready for a rest. Sam had raved about an island she had visited which was quiet so off we went in search of peace. A four hour bus journey (very fast, windy roads and sheer cliffs) and ferry crossing later we landed on the island of Skyros.

Back in 1989 there were only two tarmac roads, a small fishing port and a village. To reach the campsite (which cost £4 a night) we had to climb down some very steep steps (think Clovelly). The campsite was basically a field with a few trees to create some shade and a shower/toilet block. We pitched our tent under one of the trees and were pleased to see that it was relatively quiet. The shower block was unworthy of that name as the showers only worked once during our month there, the rest of the time we had to hose ourselves down with cold water from the hose situated in the middle of the field. As for the toilets, well they were OK, what was not pleasant was the fact that you are not allowed to put anything down the toilet except what your body released. Therefore all toilet paper and sanitary products were placed in a bucket with no lid. Imagine then that the temperatures were well over 100 degrees and our diet consisted of beer and ouzo with no fruit or vegetables. The smell was enough to make you retch when nature called!

We had a lovely time, lazy days spent on the beach and evenings sampling the Greek Tavernas, we even got invited to a Greek wedding which was great fun. We met another couple from Scotland and decided to explore the island by hiring mopeds for a few days. The first day the menfolk took charge and we rode pillion, we discovered that there were NATO air bases dug into the mountains, there was very little to see but lots of barbed wire and exclusion signs. The next day was the girls turn to drive the mopeds. Although nervous I got the hang of it and loved driving around the island with the wind blowing in my hair (sorry Mum, no helmets). We found a deserted beach with a small tavern where we sipped beer (just the one) and ate roasted aubergine (eggplant).

Day three with the mopeds, was the last so we agreed to share the driving of the moped. My then boyfriend started the day driving and we explored a dirt track up a mountain. When we reached the top we were disappointed to find a huge gate and more barbed wire. We turned to drive down the mountain and switched drivers. I started off slowly, turning the throttle when the moped slipped off the dirt track onto some rocks. In my panic I slammed on the brakes, only in my panic I reacted as if riding a push bike and instead of putting on the brakes I accelerated with the moped heading towards the edge of the mountain...

...Luckily I removed my hands from the throttle, the moped skidded and came to a halt at the edge. I had completely cut my knee open and my boyfriend had burnt his leg on the exhaust. Looking back I was in major shock. The Scottish couple had a toilet roll with them (we knew what Greek toilets were like), so I could mop up the blood gushing from my knee and we doused the burnt leg with water. As we were on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere we had to get back on the mopeds (I refused to drive) and head back to civilisation. As we drove (very slowly) through a hamlet an old lady stopped us and poured yellow stuff over my knee unfortunately we spoke no Greek and she no English so I don't know what it was but her kindness has stuck with me.

Back in our field we debated whether my gaping wound require medical attention. Lack of money helped in our decision that I'd be fine with lots of bathing in the sea. To this day I have a very ugly scar on my knee and the knowledge that I was a very lucky girl.

I have no scanner so can't post pictures of me from this time so instead I share with you a picture of the three loaves of bread I made last week. I was going to dinner at my friends house, there were 14 girls from the tennis club meeting and I volunteered to provide the bread. The bread is the famous no knead bread that was taking the Internet by storm before Christmas. During the dinner I was paid the highest compliment, someone asked if the bread was homemade, someone else replied that no it was far too good for that. I (puffing my chest out proudly) informed them that yes it was homemade. I'm still getting compliments about it.
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24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beccy Is this about you!?? ☆★☆

ChrisB said...

Beccy I could provide a pic with the then boyfriend!! You never told me this story in full and I thought you told your mum everything important like nearly loosing your like on a greek mt.

Jenny said...

I love this story! Danger! Excitement! Scars!

frannie said...

wow- what a story!

1st- I want one of those Webster things.
2nd- the description of that toilet nearly made me vomit. I don't think I could have survived that.
3rd-you have super awesome (my new word) adventures!
4th- (for your Mum) next time you had better wear a helmet!

Asha said...

More adventures and accidents!!Hurray!!!:D

I love the no-knead bread!!I will make it and post later,thanks Beccy.

Beccy said...

Annonymous, I'll spill the beans if you do.

That would be fun Mum. I didn't tell you because I didn't want to worry you.

Jenny it's only looking back that I can truly appreciate how dangerous it was.

Frannie, I used to have loads of baby Websters but they've long since been lost.

The toilet was more gross than you can imagine but I was young and when a girls got to go she's got to go. You have to remember we were in the back of beyond and stayed there for a month for about £100.

I 'had' super awesome adventures.

I'd always wear a helmet, they weren't provided on that island.

I aim to please Asha! Enjoy the bread.

Lisa said...

Beccy,
Wow, sounds like a great time (except for nearly losing a leg), thanks for sharing!
Have you tried the bread with whole wheat flour? I just haven't planned out the time to make it, even though most of it is just rising. My husband is anti-white bread.
-For Chris,
Be happy you don't know everything, I'm sure! I know I'll never tell my Mom why I'm not allowed back to Canada!

Karmyn said...

I am very jealous. Not only are you the greatest Astronaut on Mars but you got to travel across Europe.

That is one regret I have in my life - not taking the time, while I was in college, to go do that. sigh - I'd even love to have a scar to go with a story like that.

Sam said...

i have a bit of a moped story, same island. Nothing nearly as dramatic. We did fall off and batter it slightly (not my fault). We did rough up the bike driving it up an unpaved road. Moped Guy ranted and raved at us when we returned it. he might even have kept our deposit, can't recall.

my4kids said...

That sounds like fun! Except the knee injury part and the toilets.
I was married and a mom far to early and unfortunatly don't have any stories of romping through any part of the world.

Catwoman said...

Beccy, that sounds absolutely terrifying! But on another note, that bread looks amazing! High-end bakery quality!

All those pictures of your cooking make me wish I'd know you in real life and could come visit you! I'm sure I'd leave Ireland 10 pounds heavier!

john.g. said...

You daredevil, you! It almost sounds like a Famous Five book.

ChrisB said...

Lisa yes its probably better to live in blissful ignorance as a parent.

Beccy said...

Lisa, I haven't tried the bread with wholewheat flour however I recall it being discussed on a blog somewhere. The best results seemed to come from using half wholemeal and half white flour. Does your mum read your blog because I'm dying to know why you're not allowed into Cananda!

And that's only the half of it Karmyn.

Sam we were lucky, no damage to the moped. We needed the deposit back to pay for the campsite.

Terri, it was fun, I have another moped story, a year later, another Greek Island...

Catwoman I'd love you to come visiting.

John, I loved the Famous Five, I always wanted to be George.

You'd hate to live in ignorance Mum!

john.g. said...

I always wanted to do Anne!!

Beccy said...

John you're so bold (here that means naughty not brave)!

Sabrina said...

How fun and exciting!!!

Barbara said...

I've not made it to Greece yet although a Aussie Greek boyfriend once invited me to travel there with him. I'd love to ride a moped. I'd prefer that to a horse.

enidd said...

whew, scary stuff. enidd hates heights, and those greek mopeds aren't usually the best maintained either.

Emma in Canada said...

Beccy you twic wrote 1999. I'm pretty sure that you had Dillon and Mollie by then. Did you mean 1989? Am I just super anal?

I had to skip over the toilet part, yuck.

I too want to know why Lisa is not allowed into Canada

Beccy said...

Sabrina, welcome back, most of it was fun except the actual accident...

Barbara I'd love to go back to Greece but the weather is very hot there which I love but Joules is typically Irish, fair skinned and would burn easily.

Enidd, I think I was too young to appreciate the dangers.

Emma, well spotted! I still think I'm in my early twenties and I guess 1989 seems far to long ago for me to have been galivanting around Europe.

Steffi said...

what for a story!Very intersting to read!I enjoyed!

Sally Lomax said...

Great story!!

Funnily enough - you know that I told you that I too fell off a motorbike on a Greek island while on holiday? It was in 1989!! The year before I had Emily..............

It was Thassos though. Perhaps i'll have to post it one day too.........

Little Miss Moi said...

Dear beccy. Only just now have read this. I remember you referring to it in a meme once. Wow. That's scary. Mr Moi got a moped when we were in Laos, and luckily I developed tonsilitis and got out of riding it with him. After reading your story, I remember why I worry!