Lefkada – a comic tragedy

For the first time since I’ve started to write articles, I do not know where to start and where to end this subject. Let’s say this trip did not turn out as I planned and that was the first and only time my plans for a holiday are not applied as I want them. On this holiday I had my mother and her friend Cruella de Vil with us, we had a car rental disappointment, a screaming fight in the car, and all those menopausal hormones along with Cruella, also an obsessed Greek spy woman who followed us around, a romanian local guide who’s purpose I do not know what it shoud be but defenetly not a guide and all the bad luck a thousand black ships have all together.
Great combo for a vacantion right?

The waterfall from Nidri and the magical number of 2 hours
At the meeting presentation of the optional excursions that we had to be, we waited 2 hours as that the local guide decided that very day to take it siga- siga
Local Guide: Since you are here in Nidri you can go to see the local waterfall. It is 15 minutes of walking, into the mesmerising olive groves and you should go in the evening so that it can be cool outside, you will be back in no more than 45 minutes.
I thought 4 p.m would be a reasonable hour and by 5 we would be back at the hotel.
2 hours later we were still looking for the cascade, Cruella started complaining about her precious feet, and my mother was white like she just saw the dead rising. After a while and many explications from locals, we finally found the waterfall. We heard the water falling but no waterfall, just a thread of water draining over the stone wall. You cannot imagine what was in Cruella’s mouth at that moment thinking that she will see an impressive waterfall.
Another 2 hours later we were wondering in the dark in the middle of an olive grove, no flashlight, phone battery 4%, no signal and some big dogs barking somewhere near us.

Going on an adventure and renting a car
My mother wanted to rent a car so that we can go to Evia Island. Since we were going, she wanted to visit the church of Agios Ioannis Russos. For me travelling and going on a new location it’s a new adventure.
Back in that period, I had a problem with my internet connection outside the country, so I could not turn on my Google maps to ease my route. I’ve bought a map of Greece and I did a bit of research, asking the locals which is the best route and how much time it takes to arrive there. Eventually, I’ve come up with the below information:
From Nidri to Prokopie 5h and 49min
We have to pass to Peloponissos on the bridge of Rio-Antirio  12 euro/ small vehicle/way
From Peloponnese – Corinth Canal – Athens – Chalkida – Prokopie

One year before,  I’ve started learning Greek on my own, as I love Greece so much and I’m travelling frequent there it came naturally. My Greek language exam has been on this trip 🙂

Local guide: Aaaaa you want to rent a car? Come with me to AVIS office (never go there, please! At list not in Nidri) they have good cars and good prices (no they don’t), and I can help you with anything I offer you my assistance (no he didn’t).
Me: ok, how much will we make from here to Prokopie?
Local guide: Prokopie? Ammm
Me: on Evia island, it is in the centre of the island
Local guide: ooo,  but you cannot go there, you have to take a ferry from Piraeus – Athens, but you will not arrive on the same day.
My mind: dude, have you ever saw the Greek map in this life?
Me: it is a bridge at Chalkida which connects the island to the mainland.
Local Guide: aaa, yes there is a bridge on Chalkida that you can pass on…
Me: I just said that.
Local Guide: how do you know all of this stuff?
My mind: I’ve just arrived from the moon, and while I was landing I’ve scanned the earth to get all its geography in my head.
Me: I work in a travel agency. When you work in tourism, you know these things.
We took a car, my mom was the driver, and at 10:30 we left Nidri, Cruella wanted to come with us too so that she will not be all alone as her surviving skills are… great
:D, but as she stood in the back seat of the car she started saying that today is a great day for tanning and because of this trip she will not have a than right.
We’ve decided that the wisest thing is to ignore her, as she insisted to come.
When we arrived in Voinitsa, there were no signs to Agrinio, Patras or Athens so, we stopped a few times and ask around but no one talked English so that was the moment when I’ve started my Greek exam, with my beginner language and I’ve managed to pass the obstacle from Voinitsa and be on our way.
Cruella: I am sure we will not arrive there, I know it, and I know you don’t have a clue where we’re going, I am sure you and this trip is a complete disaster! Instead of doing this we could stay on a beach and tan ourselves.
Me: You know you could have sootd in Nidri, no one asked you to cancel one of your days of tanning, to come on this trip if you did not wanted this.

Cruellas first meltdoun
After we passed Agrinion, on the highway, the car died. Imagine 3 women in a car, in the middle of the road trying to push the car aside, to avoid accidents.
That was the moment when Cruella decided to have a meltdown.
Cruella: I told you this is a stupidity! You and your crazy mind put us in these stupid situations! We are going to the hotel NOW! And we are going to the beach!
Mom: Let’s see our options here and try to be calm
Me: I will call AVIS right away.
Me: I cannot see what keeps you here? Listen Cruella, you can go back to Nidri with the person who will return the car back to the office, and you can stay at the beach until you get your tan right.
Cruella: How dare you!!!! Do you hear how this daughter of your talks with me??? Why don’t you do anything?
Moom: I am trying to ignore both of you, but she is right you can go back to Nidri to relax if you want and we will be on our way.
Cruella: Do you want to send me with a man that I do not know? What if he will kidnap me?
My mind: Yea sure, because Greeks have this thing for 68 old ladies! They never saw such beauty before! 😀

The car and the Greek siesta
But you see, it was already 12:30 and the Greek siesta started. Someone said they will come, to replace the car. After 30 minutes nothing happened. The replacement car was sent, from the closest office in the area, which in this case, was in Agrinion. We’ve just passed Agrinion, so it was not far from where we were. I called them again, but they said we have to wait as a car is on its way.
Another 30 minutes had passed, and Cruella was barking in my ear without stopping. I’ve decided at that moment to call the local guide, who was also in a siesta although he is not Greek, he told me to wait until the car will come.
2 hours latter, someone from the national roads came and told us they will secure our car and take it to the nearest service. I told them that someone is on its way to change the car as it is rented, 40 minutes later they asked me to call the rent a car office because they are sure they have their Greek siesta and they will not come.
Cruella was barking in the car aggressively as loud as she could.
The men from the roads told me to keep her in a leash and go with her at a church as they never saw anything like her before and they were both married to Greek jealous women 😀 That remark made my day! 😀
I’ve managed to get someone from AVIS office to answer the phone, and the people from the national roads told them, that if in 15 minutes they are not there with a new car, they will confiscate the broken car and expect them in court for giving to tourist, damaged cars.

Half in the car and half outside, on the backseat, there’s Cruella

A bit confusing
After that telephone and the discussion with the security, they produced a man with a car in no more than 9 minutes.
We were on our way again in no time with Cruella barking about tanning and howling at the sun.
We passed the Rio-Antirio Bridge, and on the other side on Peloponnese, the roads were under construction and the legal driving speed was 50/h. Such lucky girls 😀

Rio-Antirio bridge

We arrived at the entrance of Athens, and trust me you really need a GPS there. Since we didn’t have one, we had to stop and ask around which is the way to Chalkida. We had to stop once more at the exist to be sure we are on the right road, but that made Cruella bark even more. I  remember telling my mother that I cannot believe, that I actually talk and understand Greek. That I’ve managed to ask and understand, and almost come from point A to point B.
Cruella: We are not there yet, and we will never arrive. You don’t have a clue where we are.
Me: Of course I have, we are in Chalkida.
Cruella: I don’t believe a word you are saying!
Me: You don’t have to believe me, it is written on the sign in front of us 😀
Cruella: You don’t know a thing, you don’t understand anything that these people are saying.
By this moment my mother was changing colours like a semaphore. She was red, white and black at the same time, she turn even purple at some point, as she had to concentrate on the road, and hearing her friend dare to talk to me this way it was too much, and saw me remain calm, it was too confusing for her. I never shut up when I have something to say.
We had one more stop to ask if we are on the right road to Prokopie, it started to be dark outside.

Crueruella’s atempt of murder
It was already 19:30 and dark, I wanted to check if they still have the church opened.
From this point, it became my ambition to get to the destination.
I’ve texted my best friend Madalina, and ask her to search on Google, the contact number for the church, and 30 seconds later I’ve received a telephone number and I called:
“-Γεια σας!
Με συγχωρείτε, είναι η εκκλησία Άγιος Ιωάννης Ρουσος?
– ναί
– τι ώρα κλείνεις σήμερα;
– πού είσαι τώρα;
-στο αυτοκίνητο,
– εντάξει σας περιμένουμε”
Mom: What did you do?
Cruella: she pretends she knows to speak Greek so that we can belive her.
Me: I’ve talked at the church to see if they are still open.
Cruella: AHA!!!! I knew it! I knew It! She doesn’t know anything, and now she wants us to turn around. Now is dark outside, there’s no more light because of you! No more tanning!
My mind: Wow! I did not know I have superpowers to turn off the sun and make people white.
Me: The lady from the church asked where are we, I told her that we are in the car, and she said she’s waiting for our arrival.
Mom: That is nice!
Cruella: LIES! Those are lies!
We arrived in Prokopie, and went in the Church, saw it fast, in 5 minutes and thank the lady that she waited for us, she told me that she appreciated that I was a foreigner but still tried to talk in Greek with her.
After we left the church, I was so proud of myself that I’ve started to jump around and told my mother we did it! We did it! We were happy except Cruella.
 We returned to Chalkida, where we got a bit confused with the signs, and we were running in circles in an intersection.
Cruella: One of there days I will kill you with my own hands! There is no more sun because of you! I could stay on a sunbed a get a tan all day, but instead, I had to stay with you in a car.

And then the war started
Me: Ok, starting with this moment everyone from this car is on its own. I am not helping you anymore. Since is my fault that you’ve decided to come with us on this trip, my fault for everything, and since you do not have any nice words for me, you are on your own after this trip is over.
Crualla: How dare you, ungrateful girl? I managed very well without you up until this point! I curse you!
We’ve crossed the road, and my mother stopped the car. I was yelling at Cruella, Cruella was yelling at me.
Mom: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! CRUELLA STOP IT THIS INSTANCE! How dare you curse my child?!?!?!?!
On the road in front of us, there was a policeman who heard the yelling in the car and came closer, when he heard all 3 of us yelling at each other, and saw 3 women in a Greek car, he realised there’s not a good place to be so he walked away, took his car and take off. 😀

Cruella’s surviving skills
From that moment I refused to help Cruella, she was not talking English at all, and her surviving skills were quite primitive for my taste.
At the local tavern and at some supermarkets she pointed the finger to her opened mouth and rubbed her stomach to say that she’s hungry. 😀
It will remain a living memory into my head forever.

If you are wondering, after that vacation, we stopped talking. It was making no sense to continue a sort of relationship that was not exactly friendly.
Since then I am travelling alone or only with people that I am sure we are on the same wavelength. Never ever, do I want to hear about renting a car from AVIS. They tried to charge us for the car damage, it was a technical issue that could not be made in 2 hours, only in time.
If something like this, happens to any of you call the tourist police, as they know the scams that companies such as rent a car are doing to the tourist. There is a happy end for this story that will come up next week for you guys.

My dog Google, teaching me how to save my behind :))

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