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Transport Issues at the Greek Hovel – Luckily I am Steve Frigging McQueen

Tom Winnifrith
Friday 25 July 2014

I had planned to be the owner of a 24 year old jeep today. I thought I had my paperwork in order as I trotted along to Kardimili police station to get my residents permit. Sadly not. I did not have that blue card which means that I am entitled to go into the execution rooms – that is to say Greek hospitals – should I fall sick.

If I do fall sick I am heading back to London. I may be ill but I do not want a minor sickness o turn into automatic death – I will take my chances with the NHS thank you. And as such I saw no reason to have this EI imposed commie state health care civil liberties infringing ID card. But now I do. One has been ordered in the UK and will be fedexed out.

And that left me sans transport. Being stuck in the hovel three miles from the nearest human being without transport struck me as imprudent but horror of all horrors there was not one car to rent in the whole of Kalamata. Hmmmm. Aged 46 ½ I have never ridden a motorbike in my life. But what better place to learn than here.

Hairpin bends, mountain roads, every driver either insane (Greek) or drunk (Northern European). What could be better?

And so I have rented a 100 cc machine (above) and my first ride was from Kalamata back to the hovel. You think of the wind blowing through your hair in beating sun. Think again. I am the only person in Greece wearing a helmet. And as it happened about three miles outside Kalamata a thunderstorm started.

By the time I reached the long and winding road to the hovel it was almost a river. Luckily it seems that I am Steve McQueen from The Great Escape and I managed it almost perfectly.  

This three months was meant to be about challenging myself to do things I have never done before. To refresh and recharge and stretch myself. As such I regard today as a bit of a frigging triumph. I may not be the greatest cyclist in the world but I shall get better.

As I head off to Kambos for a celebratory Greek salad and diet coke I am after two weeks, two inches thinner around the waste, I have made the hovel habitable and I have done something I never planned on doing.

Tomorrow, I finish the eco-loo, start on creating the humanure system and catch up on some writing. After a bit of a down day yesterday, it is game on!

Below pictures of the snake veranda and the Mountains behind showing, I hope, how hard it was raining. It is now bright and sunny and the roads will be drying ready for me to venture out once more.





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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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