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The journey to Skyros (and a snapshot of Kymi)

After we arrived in Kymi, a nice, elderly Greek man took pity on me and pointed me in the direction of the port. Jubilee strapped firmly in place, bladder uncomfortably full, and camera out, I started up the hill in the direction he had pointed.

God, Kymi is lovely. White, stone, bright flowers, and ornate writing lined each street I turned down. When the hill finally peaked, the sea came into view. My jaw dropped. I was finally ALMOST at my destination. Yeah!

Making my way down winding roads, I soaked it all in.

And then I got worried. I’d been walking for 30 minutes on this winding Greek road and hadn’t seen a sign marked "Kymi" in 15. Suddenly a car swerves over in front of me. I immediately leap off the road, survival instinct kicking in, as the driver reaches over to open the car door and clears off the passenger seat. He asks a question in Greek (maybe, “how are you?”) and when I reply with something I’m assuming was heat-induced gibberish, he asks, in broken English, “Where are you going?” “I need to go to the port of Kymi- this is the right direction, yeah?”

He laughs, “no- up the hill- on the left ..” And points back the direction I had come.

Frustrated with my terrible sense of direction, but thanking him, I start back up the hill. Sweating and cursing the heat and wishing for a pack mule, I tried to be grumpy for a minute. But Greece is beautiful. And my grumpy faded when I turned a corner and once again caught a view of the sea.

20 long minutes later, I encountered three school age boys and hoping one of them spoke sufficient English, asked for directions.

They began laughing and the older of the three informed me that I needed to be going down the hill… Not up it.

Groaning again but thanking them, I turned around to head in my original direction.

My three new friends, however, had no intention of allowing me to make my debut entrance to Kymi without an entourage. They showed me a lovely shortcut through a grove of lemon trees and wildflowers which offered even more incredible views of Kymi and got my dripping, sweating body out of the sun. They even taught me “important phrases” in Greek (which I made certain to forget immediately because I was quite scared they were messing with me) and made fun of my American accent,..

Curious about wifi and delicately balancing dehydration and extremely low blood sugar, I asked my young tour guides for a recommendation for an Internet cafe. They offered to take me to one.

When I finally hit the coast line and saw the bluest sea I’ve ever encountered, I was silly with happiness. I was even more silly with happiness when I got connected to wifi, changed out of my sweaty clothes, dismounted Jubilee from my back, and downed a giant water and a massive fruit plate in a matter of minutes.

Then I began to relax. My tourism obvious, my server began to engage me in conversation. When I told him I was an American, he became excited, stating in pretty clear English that he had American friends who visited Kymi each year. He then informed me that he’d thought I was Swedish because I’m “blonde and the skin needs sun..”

I spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Kymi, drinking delicious Freddo Espresso on the shoreline, and trying drinks made with Ouzo (all on the house- perks of being the token American in town I guess).

As soon as it was late enough in the day that the time difference was acceptable, I let my parents know I was at Kymi safe but would likely not be in touch for a few days.

At 6pm I boarded the ferry, expecting wifi and having none… So once again, sorry Andy, that our conversation had no ending!

I watched Kymi grow smaller as Skyros grew bigger, my hair whipping my face, salt water spraying my skin, heart full of excitement and wonder.

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