Skiathos by Day

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I wake up still carrying the stress of homelessness from last night. I don’t want to wake up, pack up all my stuff, and go do yet another bout of negotiating where we will sleep tonight. Unfortunately, I also have no desire to stay here, in the middle of town when there is a whole beautiful island to be seen.

I lay in bed waiting for Ben to wake up, and stew on everything that is bothering me. I hurt. My back and hip are leaving me feeling like I’m forty years older than I am and I feel weak and powerless that my body won’t do what I need it to. I’m stressed by the constant search for food, water, shelter, and in our case, power and internet, so we can work. It has been a while since we’ve done this, and getting used to it is harder than I expected. I forgot how mentally tough it is to constantly be without a home. I’m disappointed in the fact that I still haven’t yet slept in my tent. Camping is one of the best parts of touring, but the logistics of camping have so far been too difficult for us to sort out. I am flustered that I’m taking so long to get into the swing of things.

By the time Ben wakes up I’m also hungry, which never does much for my mood, so I sourly tell him I am going out to get some breakfast. Even a trip around town doesn’t clear my head, especially after I end up with one pastry instead of two on accident. We eat, do a little more research about the island, and finally, I go back to sleep while Ben goes through our photos. By the time I wake up, my mood has cleared.

We book the hotel on the internet, then load the bikes and ride back up the steep hill to our intended refuge. This time, a kind lady comes down to meet us, and shortly behind, the smiling friendly owner. We quickly work up a deal and he interrogates us about our trip. He is astounded when he finds out we rode to the port from Athens and looks even more amazed when we tell him we’re headed for Finland. The lady brings fresh flowers for our room, and we quickly settle in and get cozy on the balcony overlooking the ocean. I am so insanely happy to be here.

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Later, we suit up, walk a few minutes down to the beach, and endeavor our first ever open water swim. Technically, we’re supposed to be triathlon training while we’re here, but besides riding the bikes, this is the first attempt we’ve made at a tri workout since we left. We swim back and forth, parallel to the beach for a short while, slowly getting the hang of swimming with waves crashing against our bodies as we stroke. I am not a strong swimmer, but I am thrilled to note that I can paddle without pain. After a while, my mouth is full of salt and I’m starting to feel chilled, so we park ourselves on the beach and watch the tide come in until my skin feels the early prick of sunburn.

For dinner, I make some quick pasta and we take it to the porch to eat it. Yet another feral cat watches us with interest, and when I offer her a dinner scrap, she comes over to sit right by us. This one doesn’t wish to be touched at all, but she’ll take a treat right from my hand. I dub her Alice.

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Ben eventually starts to get restless, so he decides to go on a quick ride, the length of the island and back just to check it out. I stay behind to journal and rest. Forty minutes later I greet Ben at the door of the apartment. He has trains of sweat drip down his forehead and his shirt is drenched. He is breathing so hard I can barely understand him, and positively beaming. “I…beat…the…bus!”

A little more prodding and he explains that he met up with the bus at the other end of the island and raced it all the way back to the apartment. Riding at a full on sprint for 12 km, he won, by 150 feet! I envy those legs.(A note from the tomorrow: having now ridden the length of the island on a scooter, I can positively declare: it is not flat! I’m doubly impressed!)

Finally, dusk falls and we wander into town. We meander the streets, spotting at least thirty feral cats, and photographing people’s potted plants. We cap the night off with a round of baklava and a cream filled cookie before heading back to bed.

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