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Trip to Greece, romance included | Culture

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This article is part of the magazine ‘TintaLibre’ from July-AugustReaders who wish to subscribe to EL PAÍS together with ‘TintaLibre’ can do so through this link. Existing subscribers should check the offer at [email protected] o 914 400 13).

Summer, late 70s. Toxic boyfriend in the same profession, no talent and he knows it. Stage of the relationship: he has already managed to undermine my self-esteem, isolating me from my friends and my job opportunities. In addition, we had a dog that was supposed to bond us but who hated us from day one and didn’t stop barking for a minute. At us and at the world.

It can get worse.

Two hippie friends from a good family appear at what was then my apartment in Barcelona’s Eixample. They suggest I run away. Tour the world. We would arrive in Greece, Crete, previously passing through the Cyclades, and we would get a house that an acquaintance of one of the girls would put within our reach.

It can get worse.

I would pay for the trip because I was the only one who, not being posh, had worked all her life and had the Visa card, which they diligently looted. We don’t buy sleeping bags. We will sleep under the light of the stars that populate the sky, they said.

It can get worse.

I was dying to be a real hippie, one of those who wouldn’t give a damn. Live off the air like the little birds in the field. And I was dying to escape from whoever was gaslighting me. We left for Piraeus on one of the last journeys made by the dark line of a Turkish semi-freighter. Three young women dressed in flowery libertarian dresses, avoiding the hands of the Turkish sailors in the hallways. Luckily a storm occurred that almost knocked us all down forever. Those big hands had a hard time picking up the broken dishes.

When the ship docked in Piraeus we headed towards the centre of Athens, but as we were free and not tourists, we didn’t see anything important (Acropolis, Archaeological Museum, Lycabettus, what do I know) and, as we were useless, we went to the tourist police to recommend a guesthouse.

It can get worse.

Greece was suffering a military dictatorship and everyone in uniform, even if they spoke English and carried a map, had a license to rape. We left the barracks by feet because the police guides wanted to fuck us against the wall.

The boldest of us (the most posh) finally found the address of a cheap dive where we could spend the night before leaving for Ios and Santorini, from where, after splashing like nymphs on their beaches, we would embark for Crete. The slum rented crusty mattresses on the roof. So a part of our dream came true. We lay under the stars for a small fee, and stood guard to prevent theft, touching, and other trifles.

It can get worse.

Greece in the 1970s was not a paradise for topless, solo female travelers. The old women threw the fried eggs at us and kept the plate and the old men cracked it behind the rocks. All I remember about Santorini, so beautiful and surly, is the Greek women carrying firewood on a donkey uphill and the Greeks resting, sitting at the door of their houses and moving the rosary with their free hand.

We arrived at night in Heraklion, it was impossible to phone the most posh acquaintance at that time. We slept under the stars again, this time in a flowerbed, in front of the port. Hugging and shivering from the cold. It didn’t even occur to us to miss the bags. We were so free.

It can get worse.

The long-awaited acquaintance (a journalist, not a real estate developer, I found out) couldn’t come pick us up for a few days. Euphoric, we told him to look for us in El Greco Square. We would live there, using the flowerbeds as a bed, the stars as a roof and, to clean ourselves, the water tank that Dimitri, a compassionate man who read books and kept them under his bunk, let us use, in the underground urinals where it belonged. guardian and which also constituted his dwelling.

It wasn’t comfortable, but it was an adventure. When the desired man finally appeared, he told us that the house he was offering us was in a beautiful place on the coast (there is no place on the coast of Crete or Greece in general that is not beautiful, and that is not more in those days of scarce tourism), a small town called Sissi, located in the north of the island, more or less in the center.

It was, in fact, a marvel of rocks that seemed cut like a cake and that showed layers of sediments that possibly dated back to the telluric movement that in the past ended the kingdom of Crete, and that took away the minotaur and the mother. who gave birth to him.

As for the house. There were four cement walls with the same roof and it was located in a field dotted with even constructions, clearly illegal.

It can get worse.

When we went out, chatty, to enjoy our immense luck, the neighbors also came out of their houses. It didn’t take us long to figure out that this was like the movie Zorba the Greek. Not the sirtaki scene, but the stoning scene. Because the poshest one, ignoring my prudent advice as a movie buff, went out hunting every day and came back with whatever fuckable thing she found around. The murmurs of the neighbors fulfilled their function as a Greek chorus.

On one of our trips to the island, that poor girl, of whom I do not want to speak ill because she died many years later, a heroin addict but thin (what she had always wanted), that good woman encouraged us to hitchhike and to get into the country house of a rustic farmer who told us about the excellence of his farm and who, diligently, invited us to have dinner there with some friends. From time to time she would reach out her arm and touch one of our knees. She would stretch it out a lot and she could reach all of us.

We arrived in the middle of the night to an unknown place with hardly any light. I decided that I would only get out of here alive if I defended myself. I defended myself from eating the stinking lamb that the farmer and his friends offered us, but not from the two individuals who were flanking me wiping the grease from their hands on my hair, which was quite thick at that time.

It can get worse.

Or not, depending on how you look at it. At the end of dinner a mustachioed creature appeared who turned out to be the host’s mother. To our delight, she was not keen on her short-legged spawn falling victim to three foreign whores, and decided that the three of us would sleep together, locked outside with a chained dog close enough to attack us should one or all three of us harass her spawn.

We left at dawn, when the old woman freed us. And the cock was still so happy. What an adventure. The least posh, and much better person (I verified it over time) had a notable Poseidon-type mettle: now I come out of the waters, now I don’t come out. But she was the cause of the next one.

It can get worse

Since she wanted to fuck a boyfriend she had in Barcelona, ​​she called him to come visit our mansion surrounded by Greek choirs and raptors from Europe. The boy came.

He didn’t come alone. At the wheel of his own and quite ancient Seat 1500 was, neither more nor less, my toxic partner who I thought I had abandoned, from whom I assumed I had fled. In the back seat, the poor dog. Barking.

The vehicle was an improvement: we visited Knossos, where I went crazy trying to find the labyrinth to get lost once and for all, we crossed the island from north to south, and visited coastal points whose names always began with Agia (holy) and Ágios (holy). ), and as the days passed we grew apart and each one took their own path. That is, the toxic one, the dog and I kept the car. And with my Visa, I was accumulating debts.

We visited the ancient Lion Gate of Mycenae, a little bit of Peloponnese, and a deep melancholy took its toll on both of us. Not so with the dog, who hooted ardently from the car, where we left him so he wouldn’t pee on the ruins.

We decided to return through Italy and stop in Rome.

And here it definitely got worse.

We settled into a campsite and don’t think we visited Rome. No. Not the Colosseum, the Forum of Augustus, the Pantheon, the Vatican or the Piazza del Popolo. We only had eyes for the Posta Centrale, where we periodically went to see if any friend had sent us a money order, since we were on our last legs.

And one bad day, the poison insisted on leaving the dog at the camp, tied to a stake. When we returned, he had disappeared.

Now I can end this story by confessing that, although it took me a while, little by little I got rid of every bit of what was for me a useless trip and, in many ways, a tragedy. I paid my debt to Visa in installments. I lost sight of the toxic person.

And today, for all of you, I have turned my journey into a comedy.

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