Trespassing in locked-down Athens

Remember when Piglet was convinced, the broken sign “Trespassers Will…” above his door actually was short for his grandfather’s, William’s name? Well, this Winnie The Pooh-style sweet naivety on interpreting prohibitions accompanied us… to Athens! Here’s the story of our tripping to the big city, trapping our fears and worries, and tapping to the source of Light to go on.
As the Greek national lockdown goes into it’s fourth month, and as the restrictions only seem to get tougher, I have to admit, even my positive outlook on life was challenged. Not only that we are not allowed to leave the 50 kilometres stripe we are closed in, we can’t ride in the same taxi with our family members, and being not married by local law, we are supposed to wear masks in our own car.
Up until last week, all stores apart from pharmacies and supermarkets were shut, tavernas serve food only for take-out, and while we hope and pray each that for the sanctions to ease, every single week there’s a new announcement on the lockdown getting more strict.
While the springtime quarantine made me feel like I was reconnecting to my true self, this time I started to feel like I’m getting more and more distant from myself: each morning looking in the mirror I saw more and more signs of… falling apart.
On top of all this, I suddenly realised: the Periodic Technical Inspection of our car has expired, and the very thought of us not being able to drive around, not even in Methana made me paralysed from the inside
– and knowing how our 20+ years old Seat Ibiza has quite a few faults, I quickly called up the Seat service, asking where could I get Kalokeri (cos that’s the name of our car) ready for it’s exam, in just one day. When the answer was: „only in Athens, in the main factory service – we can provide you a special permit to be able to drive here”, my mind brightened up and my heart started pounding.
After nearly half a year we are going to be in a big city! As we have been postponing requesting a Greek tax number for Nimi, we also set up a meeting with our lawyer, and on top of the day trip, the service suggested doing the test of the car at the inspection point close to their office, so if there is any trouble we can get it fixed the next day – and that is how we had no other choice than arranging an Airbnb for ourselves for the night, which basically felt like we are going on a holiday.
I know many will judge me, saying I could have just waited out – but as our village has no public transportation, and no pst office, bank, super market, or even a bakery, we need our car on daily bases. So we jumped into Kalokeri at 6 in the morning, and by 9 we were at the Seat service, leaving the car there till our test… at 6.30 in the evening.
But what could we possibly do at locked down Athens? We went shopping for groceries we could never get in Methana, such as tofu, but what we found at the supermarket was mostly people being extremely scared of each other, especially of us, foreigners.
We walked down to the seaside as a bit of exercise, and apart from the sunshine we saw people being fined for staying out longer than allowed – sadly, most of them were old Greeks who were doing nothing but sitting on the sand, looking at the sea, wondering when freedom will return… if ever.
We tried finding take-out food, but as most restaurants were closed, and some operate delivery service only by ordering online, in the end we had a spanakopita. But with all the difficult vibes, I got to admit – I needed this. I had to see it for myself, even if my conclusion was, of course: we are so lucky to be going through this period in out little village. Thankfully and happily, Kalokeri instantly got the permits, and by 8 PM we were at our Airbnb in Gazi, with an open bottle of wine, and with the crave for Indian food – so we went out to pick up our spicy feast, and on the way back home, wandering around, for a short hour we simply forgot the madness around us.
There was a bubble of „everything is all right” as we admired the lights of the Acropolis, and simply just had fun, feeling free once again. We slept so well, do deep that night, I don’t remember when was the last time I just fell into the bed, and didn’t struggle getting to dreamland.
Our technical and therapeutic trip ended the next day, with driving back home to Methana through the old seaside road towards Corinth, stopping for a beautiful beachside picnic in the middle of nowhere, and arriving to Agios Georgios, hugging our cats we felt just like Dorothy, after returning to Kansas from Emerald City, where „nothing is real”.
But just as her, we had to go through this experience. To appreciate what we have, to air our head, to socialise with people who live differently than us. And now, with the newly found source of energy inside of me, I am ready to celebrate my upcoming, 39th birthday… in lockdown
Praying for the world to heal, encouraging all to be careful and responsible my best advice to all of you is to listen to your hearts and minds, because putting yourself in danger by not caring for your mental health is not any better than bending the rules a bit, just so you can feel human again.
We are thankful to the policemen who stopped us (two times, actually), and us having the printed out permit let us go with smiles on their faces, we are grateful for the guys and the car garage for giving our wings (or wheels) back to us, and we send warm hugs to those who made this day and night so special.
Love from Methana – stay safe, stay true, stay you.

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