One week ago the kids and me arrived in Athens with a huge sigh of relief to be together again. Now we have had a chance to settle in, get to know Polly and start making her feel like home.
Unfortunately we are not quiet complete yet. Most of our belongings – 10 boxes and 1 suitcase are still stuck in Auckland as Emirates has suspended its service to Athens. So we really only have what be brought in our suitcases, which is not all that much. A great exercise in making do with what we have got. We have got 2 card games a few journals, the kids have the laptops with a few games on, the phones with a few downloaded podcasts and songs.
Greece went into lockdown on Monday 23rd March and apparently that is on until 20th April. We are only allowed to leave the boat to walk the dog or get groceries in groups of 2. Our radius is pretty small now, as we don’t have a car and there is not all much nearby.
On top of that we only have 3 days of very little data left, so will be offline entirely in a few days. With the help of a friend we have signed up to a reasonable french data roaming plan, but will have to wait for the Sim card to arrive, which might be slow in the current situation. It feels so strange to be cut off from everything. We don’t have TV, there is not looking on facebook or instagram and no surfing the internet. So we live in our own little bubble, just checking the weather and e-mails and writing important messages really quick.
Before we went into lockdown Tim took us to the next port for a look around. There were so many huge yachts and mega yachts. Made me feel dizzy in my stomack. One was so massive it looked like a small cruiseship. Tim looked it up online and one can charter it for 800,000 Euro per week! I coudn’t help thinking how many people could be helped if all those yachts would be sold and the wealth distributed to the people who have nothing, to children to starve, people who are dying who can’t afford healthcare. It doesn’t seem right or fair that some people have so much wealth and luxury and others have nothing…
A few first impressions of my first week in Athens:
- Athens has the most beautiful collection of different coloured and shaped pebbles at the beach, beautiful glass shards, pottery chards etc. Could browse the beach for hours on end to look at them all.
- The water looks beautiful crystal clear on a good day and is still rather cold. There are some Greek people who drop their clothes at the beach, go for a swim and put their clothes back on and go home. Must be so cold….
- Most people speak english, phew!
- I can still read some of the greek letters. I learned russian in east germany at school, which is similar in writing.
- Greece seems to be a poor country. What I have seen of Athens, which is only a very small part of course looks run down and sad. A stark contrast to Mega and Super yachts parked in the port.
- I always thought New Zealand was slow catching up to environmental consciousness, but men there is so much rubbish here, everywhere. The beaches, footpaths, roads are full with things people just seem to drop. I haven’t seen a single person with a reusable coffeecup. Its sad really. All I want to do is put some cloves on and take big rubbishbag and pick it all up. But its not really an option with only essential outings at the moment.
- Soooo many people smoke…. There is cigarette smoke and cigarette butts everywhere.
- People look grumpy mostly, walking on the roads. Made it my mission to wear my smile and get as many smiles as possible back. Got a few and celebrated every single one. Its a generalisation of course. We have met lots of lovely and helpful people too, but its noticable coming from cheery NZ what a gloomy mood there seems to be here. I think people must be really struggling to make ends meet. Makes me realise with such a stark contrast how lucky we are in NZ.
- Our supermarket selections in NZ are fantastic compared to Athens. I coudn’t find normal vinegar, spice selections are very limited, no crackers. Its fun to explore whats available here. We bought a huge bag of sweet yummy oranges and Tim found a little bakery who has the yummiest pastry things savory and sweet. Many things in the super market remind me of what was avaialable in Germany.
- There are so many stray cats and dogs everywhere, not just a few – heaps. People seem to be feeding them.
- I am so grateful I had a washing machine for the last 13 years of the kids life. Handwashing in a little plastic tub with limited hot water in not all that much fun. I established within a matter of a day, that in future it will be perfectly fine to wear the same clothes for at least 4 days (undies excempt) even though they have spots on. Nobody sees us anyway at the moment.
Polly is such a nice yacht. The kids have made their little cabins compfy and theirs. The galley (kitchen) and the saloon (table and couch) are the hub for us during the day. And Tim’s and my bedroom is comfpy and spacious. The bathroom arrangements are o.k. Its super short showers. Each time we shower we have to push a button afterwards to pump the water that we showered with out of the bathroom and wipe everything down.
Everything is tiny compared to a real house and really big and compfy compared to our old trailer sailer. We have got 2 gas burners and a small gas oven. At the moment we are low in Gas too, as the petrol station hasn’t received any, so we have to be mindful with how much gas we are using.
While it is all a learning curve and transistion to get used to our floating glamping experiece I am just so grateful at the moment that we don’t have businesses or mortgage payments to worry about. There are moments where I think “Oh my god what have we done” and then there are moments where I think “while it is a bit crazy it feels right”.
We have spend so much time together already, cooking, eating, exploring, walking, playing games, watching a movie, reading, sleeping, just slowing right down and keeping things really simple. It will be interesting how we survive the next 3 weeks of isolation in this little space with not much else but short dogwalks and very little entertainment on the boat.
All in all I feel happy and content. Isolation is not all that bad for an Introvert. I have a kindle loaded with books, a journal to write in, a yoga mat, food in the fridge, my family with me and I can still go for dogwalks. Might be a bit harder for the 3 social butterflies as time goes by. I can see Timmy has some ants in his pants – all he wants to do is move on and pop those sails up. I think the kids will be champions in the computergames they have on their laptops. They were never allowed computer games before they got their laptops for Christmas, so they are catching up on years of deprivation now….
If you are stuck for reading material get yourself “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle. Such a good book. I have marked so many parts of this book. I kind of wished I had it in paper, it would have highligher and earmarkes all over it by now. Thank you for your Amazon voucher Sandra – this is one of the treasures I got myself xxx
That is all for now – next week is birthday week for Tim and me. They will go down in our birthday history as our lock down birthdays never had that before!
I hope you all are keeping well and healthy out there. Our thoughts are with you all – seems like most of us are in the same boat at the moment locked away, except most of you are not in an actual boat 😉