Written a few years later with the help of some notes…
It was the summer of 2007, I was still 16. Taking advantage of Ryanair’s cheap flights, Marc, Massa and I had arranged to meet in Athens. I flew from Sweden, where I was spending the first part of the summer with my Swedish girlfriend. In the tube from the airport to Athens’ centre, I met 2 Swedish girls that were in my same plane. We got on well and visited the city together the whole day, until nighttime, when they took a boat to some island and I kept wondering around. I think that I met Marc the night after that one and we stayed at a hotel with his parents.
The day after we had so much fun around the streets of Athens, playing Frisbee around, chilling by the beach, collecting sea urchin shells diving by the rocks in the sea, and using them to build 2 big and 1 small necklaces. Our friend Massa was going to be arriving to the airport that afternoon, but the time flew by at the beach, and when we realized, it was too late to go pick him up. Apparently, when he went through the arrival gate, he put his t-shirt over his head and raised his arms expecting us to jump on him. I would have loved to see that!
We met him in town a bit later 😀 We gave him the small necklace, because we knew that he’d freak out wanting to have the big one! 😀 Marc gave him his, and off we were to start our adventure!
That night we went to some bar, and sat next to some locals. After a while, they suddenly said bye and left. The bar tender came to us and asked us if we knew them. Apparently they had run away without paying! So we drank some more and more uzo, and when the bar tender disappeared inside (we were seating outside), we sprinted away down the road! I remember trying to jump over some metal chain and smashing myself on the concrete floor! I also recall almost getting hit by a few cars while attempting to crossing the road running. Oups, we too had also forgotten to pay the bill. We must have been sat at the table of forgetfulness. From that day onward, we didn’t pay any accommodation during the rest of our 2.5 weeks. You’ll see how we managed!
That night, we left our luggage in a luggage storage locker (into which we managed to put in our 3 rucksacks for not having to pay extra), and we walked until the beach. On our way there we went through a rather dodgy neighborhood, filled with cabarets, strip bars, and prostitutes. We went into a strip bar for free, had a few brief laughs and left.
We kept walking until we arrived to the beach. We then had a night swim, during which Massa got stung by a jellyfish 😀 And we slept there by the beach. A few other people did the same as us, and some of them looked a bit dodgy. But we were 3, and didn’t have anything of value on us, so no prob! We spend a few more days chilling around Athens, sleeping by the acropolis with an amazing view and people playing guitar and singing. We were eating out of tin cans, living amazingly cheap!
I remember at one occasion, Massa tried to buy some bread, but the guy selling it was incredibly rude to him. At some point, the guy turned around and we picked up one of the bread bags and ran uphill. We didn’t feel guilty because he’d been such an asshole. Just like us. Loool.
We also met some locals, like Evian, a gothic girl we met in Syntagma square, whose glove I kept for many years. While playing Frisbee one afternoon near Monastiraki, we passed it to a girl that looked exactly like Angelina Jolie. And she was better than us too!
We went to the boat ticket office by the Piraeus harbor, in order to find a way to get us out of there and into the islands, but they were all full except for the one to Hydra, a nearby island. And so there we went. Upon arrival, we decided to embark on an adventure. We went to the tourist office, and told us how expensive everything was there, and gave us a map of the island. The woman told us that the most beautiful part, was at the other side of the island, and that we needed to take a boat to get there. We smiled back and asked her if it would be possible to walk it. She looked at us and said: ‘’Are you crazy? It’s impossible! It’s so far! And it’s so warm, you cannot do it!’’ Well, I don’t know about you, but when someone says that to us, there is only one thing that we can do. See you! And off we were by foot through a rather dodgy looking path toward the other side of the island.
Massa had one of his ‘’crises’’. It basically means freak-out. Sometimes he goes nuts in a funny way, and we love him for it! Marc and I couldn’t stop laughing our asses off. As we walked and walked, two of us would team up against the other one, just for fun. It got to my turn, and Massa and Marc were saying funny stuff about me! Hahahha it was so much fun. We stopped by a beautiful beach before going into the completely deserted part of the island. Marc was so happy because he was finally going to eat his chocolate, but it had melted, and it was covered with ants.
At the top of the hill, we had a can of sweet corn, also drinking the juice as we didn’t have much water (Big mistake!). We got to some abandoned house in ruins on a steep slope. It was one of the most spectacular sights I’d seen in my life. There wasn’t a single tree alive on the hill. They were all dead, black, but still standing up. The floor was covered by a thick layer of white ash, and had an amazing view of Hydra, with the blue turquoise sea surrounding it.
We couldn’t wait to get down. We hid our bags in a bush, and only taking a few things with us, we sprinted jumping downhill. I was the fastest, and the most reckless. There was something about all this that made gave me such a powerful emotion. I was loving life, jumping from one rock to another, skiing over the ash. Somewhere near the bottom, I stopped. It was complete silence. That is, until I saw Marc doing Matrix style jumps and moves. Hahahahahhaha Soon after Massa came. We couldn’t believe it, we had found paradise. The most beautiful beach in the world lied in front of us, and it was exclusively for the 3 adventurers.
We were in some sort of bay, filled with smaller stones of different colors, with a huge rock in the middle to protect us from the sun. It was like being in a dream. We jumped into the water, and we started doing our thing. That is, doing whatever we felt like doing, exploring the coast swimming, collecting stuff. I found a little flat spot just above sea level, surrounded by a vertical cliff, but with the sun up there, shining bright in the sky. I saw some glittery glimmer coming from the bottom of the sea. I decided to go and take a look.
There was something really shiny coming from the bottom, very deep. I tried to dive to get it, but the pressure at the bottom of the sea was huge, and I didn’t have enough oxygen. I returned to my spot, quite disappointed. I wasn’t in good shape back then, just in ok shape ☺ I knew that I had to get it, and that I would not give up until I got it. I took deep breaths, put on my goggles and dived into the sea.
Time went past as I kept going deeper and deeper. I could barely see because the pressure was waaay too big for my mediocre goggles (not covering the nose). But I had such a drive to get that shiny thing. I didn’t have any air, but it did not matter, I kept going down until I touched the bottom and scrubbed with my right hand somehow grabbing the thing, and struggling to go up. Man, I started seeing my life in front of my eyes. I was losing a bit consciousness, things were becoming blurry, and I was still fucking deep. Just a bit more, almost there, I almost couldn’t stop myself from swallowing water, trying desperately to get in some oxygen.
I finally reached the surface, and at that moment I took the biggest breath I’ve ever taken up to date. I started feeling that I was back inside me, aware of everything around me again, and I floated on the water for a while until I was strong enough to swim to my spot. I looked at my hand and I saw such a beautiful shell, reflecting rainbow like colors, looking slightly pearled and silver like at the same time. I kept it to give it to Ebba. And she gave it back to me when a few years later we broke up ☺ It was the first time in my life that I had found such a thing. Later on in my life, I found many other shells lookalike (mostly in Menorca), and I have them in my room in Luxembourg. I like to give one from time to time to people that mean a lot to me. That day in the water, I also found some really rare purple sea urchin shell (that I still keep in Luxembourg!), and some alive, brown sea urchins.
When we returned and got back together, Massa was the winner. He’d found a huuuuge seashell of about 35-40cm long. Mark had just been chilling around. We fished with a thread and hook that Massa had taken with him, and had the time of our lives. We loved it so much that we decided to spend the night in our newly-found paradise, despite not having food and almost no water.
Marc and I went to collect whatever non carbonized branches we could find. There weren’t many, only a few by the edge of the ravine. But it was enough to do a small fire, on which we barbecued the fishes that we’d caught. To be honest, if I remember correctly, we caught 3 tiny fishes. But however small they were, it was a flip (fun situation in our slang). We were still hungry, and we were 4. Three of us were human, and 1 was a huuuge alive seashell full of meat.
We attempted to murder it, but every time we stabbed it, it did a funny noise, something that sounded like “arrrgh”. It sounded as if there was someone inside it. We tried to kill it in every possible way, but the thing would not die. We cooked it on the fire, we stabbed it many more times, we tried to pull it out but it was waaay too strong for us, and we didn’t want to damage the shell. After failing at the attempt of murdering a sea shell, we went to sleep. Well… We tried, because paradise turned into hell.
It was cold, and we’d left our stuff on the top. It would not have been possible to climb up the mountain without light. I mean it would have been, but it was really really dangerous. We also felt the presence of something around us, watching us from the dark. It was scary. We were scaring each other. But at least we had a mini fire, and the 4 of us. In the middle of the night, we heard a helicopter like noise, and we started seeing plenty of lights by the seaside, lighting in some directions. Also, the shell was doing strange noises. At times we were laughing our ass off at the absurdity of the situation. At others, we were shitting in our pants. Well I wish, but we didn’t even have pants, only some swimming trunks on.
At the first thread of light in the morning, we were off. We realized that the noise and lights we’d seen during the night were from a luxurious yacht that had anchored nearby. We climbed up, and loved life again. We saw some amazing views again, and luckily, all our stuff was still in the bushes where we’d left it.
We had ran out of water and food. So it was time to find some. Breakfast came from a fig tree. I eat a lot, so when my friends were done, they went to try to find some water by some huts nearby, and I stayed devouring the tree. They came back a while later with a bottle of water. In (H)Ydra, cars are forbidden, and people use boats and donkeys for transport. Well, these guys had found a guy on a donkey, who had given them water refusing to accept any money for it. Awesome.
We decided to go back to the beach from the previous day, to chill out some more. Massa was going on the whole time about octopuses. He was obsessed with the idea of capturing one. He didn’t stop talking about it! (Oh I just gotta tell the rabbit story now, so let’s take a quick break:
We went swimming in the sea, and I went swimming a bit deeper. I love just floating underwater, and at some point I peeked under a rock, and saw something grey slightly undulating there. I thought it was like a monster. I went out as fast as I could and told my friends about it. Massa got so excited! He screamed: ‘’C’est un poulpe!!’’(=’’ It’s an octopus!! ‘’) We put on the goggles and dived into the sea, trying to find the rock where I’d seen it.
I found it surprisingly fast, and there is was, the submarine monster (aka octopus) still under the rock! Man… Massa was like “I’ll catch it!” But the octopus started throwing ink and getting away. We both chased it and tried to get it. At some point, I caught it and it started rolling itself around my hand and arm. I got so scared! I shouted: ‘’what should I do?!?!?’’ and Massa, super excited, shouted back: “smash it against the rocks!” So I swam ashore and started smashing its head against the rocks and Massa helped me too. He was so happy! We’d caught some more food ☺
Marc found a sea star which he wanted to play with, but Massa had another freak-out and threw Marc’s star into the sea, accusing him of being a murderer. Marc grabbed Massa’s shell and threw it into the sea as well. It was so funny to see Massa accusing Marc of killing animals when he is the one who’d kill all of them so far! Including fishes, octopus, sea shells, and ants on Marc’s chocolate. But no, it was wrong to just play with a sea star. I dived in and took back (because it looked so cool) the sea shell which was still half alive, and we asked by a nearby restaurant if they could cook the octopus for us.
Upon arriving to Ydra’s main city later on, we told the woman in the tourist office what a nice trip it had been. She could not believe it! There were no more tickets to go somewhere else that same evening, so we decided to stay there. Well, it’s not like we had the choice XD. It was such a beautiful small village, with such a positive energy. We had some fun walking around, and at some point we met some musician that told us that he used to play with Led Zeppelin, and he sold me a CD (which I still have!). Later on, we met Esmeralda, a pretty gipsy-looking like Italian girl, and she invited us to stay at her place. Well. More like at her place’s garden by the sea.
That night we went out with her aunt and her to the Pirate Bar (rumor has it that big bands have visited that bar). An image is worth a thousand words so…
Apparently, we had a great time, and that night, we slept by the sea in Esmeralda’s garden after a swim and a human pyramid attempt.
The day after, we took the boat to Serifos, a nearby island where a lot of magic happened…
Oh,Serifos… where should I start? Well, we started by the beach, near the harbor where we arrived. We decided to camp next to a camping place, but by the beach. Like that we could use everything in the camping place for free (clever, right? hahahahha).
We had so much fun on that beach! Playing Frisbee around, messing around. Now that I think about it, we were quite lucky, as we always left our luggage unattended, by a tree, and we never got anything stolen. We were totally the kings of Serifos.
One night we came back after dark, and we found a note on our bags. Earlier that day, we had pretended to be gay for a few minutes, first starting with Massa eating some melted chocolate.
We then continued by rubbing the sun lotion on each other’s back, while laughing our asses off, for a grand total of half a minute. Apparently, someone had believed our act, since the note we found on our bags read something like this in French:
Oh man, we laughed sooo badly. It was dark, but the moon was quite bright. We saw someone in the dark, about 50m away further along the beach. Totally just for fun, I shouted: “hey Nicolas, come here! (in French)’’, not expecting anything. But the guy came. It was him, an weird looking guy of about 55 years old. We stopped laughing and told him that we were not gay and asked him what he was on about, and he answered: “Well, it’s a new experience…” Man, it was so funny (in the beginning! Albeit slightly over the top. We stopped laughing and asked him to go away, and we never saw him again.
During the next day, I caught some small shells in the sea, and Massa and Marc found some vegetables (some aubergines and cucumbers) in the fields. We also cooked some spaghetti’s, using the hob that a family by the camping place lent us. I think we slightly (totally) burned it, not on purpose, but after washing it up it was more or less ok (it wasn’t).
That day, while chilling by the beach, we saw a really hot girl walk by towards the nudist beach at the other side of the hill. She was very cute and hot, and was walking like a princess. Well, I thought to myself, she needs a prince. Instead of walking to the nudist beach, I went swimming to the other side instead, because I wanted to show off my butterfly-swimming skills and to show how tough I was XD
I got to the other side (I just measured it on google earth and it was 500m away swimming :D), and saw her topless by the beach with her mother ☺ I pretended to play a bit in the water and when I saw her mother getting up and walking towards the water, I got out and walked towards the girl. We started talking, had a good laugh and got on well. I introduced myself as Johnny. (When we were kids, my cousin and I used to call each other cool names like Jack/Johnny/Captain Sparrow etc… As we pretended that we were in the wild wild west, or that we were pirates. Back then, I thought that when I travel I’m someone different, so why should I have the same name..?!? )
We decided to meet up by the harbor, later on that afternoon. I said hi to the topless mother too, and I set off.
I got to the harbour, and was enjoying the beautiful view, when she arrived. Apparently she had called me from the distance, but I had failed to realize that I was Johnny 😀 (We laughed about this some years later when we met again).
We talked, went for a walk, shared time and emotions, and felt a flow of life through us. I’d already told her about my girlfriend, but somehow I really really liked this girl. Time and space lost structure, and we flowed through space. We had such a beautiful love story, dancing and swimming by the beach, naked under the moonlight, laughing and looking into each other’s eyes the night away 😛
One of those evenings, when my friends came back to the beach with a bicycle that they’d found, they told me that they’d met Sofia and her boring friend.
Sofia’s dad owned a boat, and there were some chances that we could go sailing in it. Marc and Massa invented a story so that I’d join them on board. When we got to the sailing boat, we talked, but the father was still drunk and he told us that they’d stay some more days there in the harbor. Those were bad news because it would have been amazing. I remember Massa showing him a knife that he’d found in the sea and asking him if he knew where it came from. Sofia’s dad took a look, and told him that it was an army knife, and a couple more things that I’ve forgotten. He then broke the knife in two, and added some more information. You should have seen Massa’s face when the guy broke the knife in 2. 😀 It was such a laugh.
In the morning, my friends would try to wake me up unsuccessfully. They would kick me, scream, roll me over, but nothing would work. Then along would come Marialena (the Greek girl), she’d kiss me, and I’d wake up☺ and eat the breakfast that she’d have brought me.
She was like the perfect girl. She was a model, and had had the best mark in her school graduation. She was warm and gave me loads of massages. She was fun and interesting. But I liked her, not any of those things.
After a few days, Marialena took the boat back to Athens with her family. We were sad that we had to split up, but we’d see each other again in a few days.
Mark, Massa, Sofia, her friend and me met by the beach and had fun, before to another really beautiful beach by the other side of the island. We had a really good time there playing on the sand, burying Sofia and enjoying the water. I think we found something really cool in the water but I forgot what it was.
Sometime after, we took a boat to Sifnos, a nearby island. It was hard to say goodbye to our beach, but it was time to move on…
The harbor in Sifnos was surrounded my hills, and it was beautiful. We walked to the main city, where we wandered around. We were living really cheaply, but at some point, I remember Mark almost bought a 100 euro bottle of champagne in a bar. ☺ During dawn, we jumped onto some balcony that was in construction, and there we found a crate of 24 beers, and a few tomatoes. I ate some tomatoes and we took the beers with us.
We walked for a few hours during the night until we arrived to this place that we’d been told, was definitely worth it. I just found in on Google Earth, it’s called Kastro. And it was worth checking. While going downhill, I saw this Greek flag, and I just HAD TO take it as a memory of the trip. I still have in in my room ☺
We arrived to an amazing place, surrounded by ravines, and the sea. The rocks were huge, and everything looked so pretty with the moon shining above. We started drinking the beers, but had to throw most of them away (after carrying them!) because they tasted like crap (they were out of date). We had so much fun that day, and we slept on some rocks hearing the sea waves just under us.
The morning after we walked back up the hill and to the main city in Sifnos, and then I forgot the rest (Must have been the hangover). I only recall that sometime after we went back to the harbor, and had soooo much fun playing with a football and Frisbee on the beach next to it. We would do insane epic moves, throws and jumps in the water. Sometimes all of those at the same time.
We also did some crazy jumps and flips jumping into the sea from one end of the harbor, playing with the local kids. Oh and I almost caught another octopus! It was a really cool place to snorkel, and the beach nearby the best chill out spot.
We took the boat back to Athens, and we arrived there at 3am. We spent some more time of its beautiful streets, walking around. We went to sleep to the Acropolis, but at sunrise I said bye to my friend and went to Sintagma station to sleep on a bench for a bit longer, and wait for Marialena. We spent the whole day together, and had so much fun. We had some food in Hard Rock café, and ended up on a bench eating ice cream and swimming in the sea (Oh I just remembered the bouncy castle in the water! 😛 ).
That night, I remember having some souvlaki with her after going to the hill next to the acropolis. We later went out partying in a trendy area, and she was an amazing dancer, and even danced on some tables! I slept at her home and met again her lovely family. Even though they did not speak English and I couldn’t speak Greek, they were really really nice and welcoming. We kept listening to this song, which became ours, and every time I listen to it it reminds me of her.
While I was with Marilena, Mark and Massa met up with Lydia and chilled (and slept XD) around the Acropolis.
The next day, my friends and I had to take a bus to go to Patras. I didn’t really know when or where we’d meet up, and I didn’t have my phone on me, or their number. I was soooo tired I wanted to stay sleeping forever, but after a while, Marilena managed to wake me up. I have to check with Mark/Massa, but I think that I met my friends in Monastiraki, as we all arrived at the same time.. Man that day is sooo blurry in my brain, I don’t remember anything! Maybe it was the lack of sleep, or non lack of party. We collected our luggage and somehow ended up in front of the bus that went to Patras.
Just before leaving, we sat down on some stairs to say goodbye to each other. Marialena gave me a very beautiful hand written love letter, and loads of pictures of her and us, her perfume, and some other memories. It was so amazing, and meant so much to me. The letter started with “Johnny…” ☺ I told her that my real name was actually Jesus, and that I was 16, not 19. I told her why I’d said 19 instead of 16: Our beautiful summer love story would have never happened if I’d said 16 in the beginning. Nowadays I would never lie about my age, but back then… Anyway, it was quite a shock. Looking back onto this, I feel pretty terrible about the whole situation. We all make mistakes, and this was a big one from which to learn for me. Btw, a few years later, Marialena and I started going out together!
I don’t remember anything about the bus journey, so probably I was asleep. I just remember being in Patras, in a square, and spending a big part of our day there just lying down and playing Frisbee. At some point, I shot Mark’s Frisbee a bit too hard, and it got lost on the top of a tree, and we could not bring it down ☹ There were student protests against private universities. It is quite hard to get into and have a good mark in the public universities in Greece. Therefore the earned degree is quite prestigious. But if there would be private universities, having a degree would become way easier. We met one of these students, and he gave us some free beers.
Oh, I think we finally did go for a mini-walk around the area. We took the boat to Venice that night. We almost missed it, because Massa couldn’t find his passport. His bag was a complete mess and we’d told him a million times to tidy it up! But it was fun joking about leaving him there and us taking the boat. The boat was huge.
We hadn’t booked accommodation as it would be more expensive, so we slept on the deck looking at the stars. We woke up some hours later surrounded with water. We never found out where all that water came from! I met a traveller, and he told me that he didn’t eat cheese. I asked him why, and he told me that his reason was that it was too expensive and a few other reasons. There was a really ugly small dog, and once I made fun of it in French. I said something like: “what an ugly dog (or something similar)”, to what the owner answered in French: “…because you look so much better right?” ☺hahaha funny guy.
We went past the Croatian coast, and we saw some relaxing landscapes, mainly of islands. The sunset was really beautiful.
We were happy, and I remember making a few phone calls on the deck. That night we slept on the floor somewhere inside the boat.
Arriving to Venice, Massa started taking pictures of any random thing that he saw.
Mark and I made some fun of him ☺ But to be fair, he did take some amazing photos that I will keep forever. Oh and we took a nice picture on the boat with the sunrise behind us ☺
In Venice, we only had about 15-20 Euros each of us for the next 2-4 days (We were all flying on different dates). That meant that we could not afford any accommodation since the cheapest hostel was over 20 Euros. Of course, we had credit cards that we could use if needed to, but that was too easy. We still had some options:
- Sleep under a bridge
- Sleep inside someone’s boat
- Sleep on the street
- Find something else.
We went for option 4, and we started by asking in a church if there was anywhere we could stay. They told us to go to another church (St Giovanni e Paolo basilica), and there we went. Massa started speaking Italian with the priest, and Mark and I joined in. He really liked us, and he gave us the keys to a beautiful home a few meters away, in the heart of Venice, for free. The house was awesome, with kitchen, showers, living room and sofas. We could not believe it, but again, so much random stuff happens to us.
That afternoon, while walking around, Massa and I we started fighting. It was for fun, but it was almost like in a real fight, we threw a few punches and kicks at each other, and smashed each other against the walls and floor. Oh btw, I forgot to add that this was at piazza San Marco, the main square in Venice. It was fun!
Massa left Venice before Mark and me. He was the only one with a camera (an analog one from which most of this pictures were drawn), so I don’t have anymore photos. Each of us had booked the tickets at different times on different days. We were a bit random.
We went for walks and jogs around the city, which were so much fun except the day that a fucking dumb kid jumped in front of me, and as I went to a side to avoid him, he imitated me. Man, he was lucky his parents were there, and of course he was lucky that I’m such a lovely person.
There was a lot of wind going on, and later a storm happened. There were panels and chairs everywhere spread out on the roads. The wind had been quite strong. Oh and as the floor stones became wet, it was like being on an ice ring because it was so slippery. Fun for taking YouTube videos, but tougher to jog on.
While discovering new roads and alleys, we got to a really peculiar one. It was a mix between a corridor, an alley, and a courtyard, with a well in the middle. I suddenly got a flashback, and felt as if I had gone back quite a few years in time, and I could see things and people happening around me. The people that I was seeing in my head were shorter, with ancient clothes, and there were kids running around, and the women were doing their stuff. For some seconds I could almost believe that I had gone back in time. It was a really cool feeling. But some hidden/underground spots are now getting flooded, as the sea level is rising… Sometimes you could see the Gondolas struggling to go under a bridge, because they have less and less margin to go under some bridges. Oh in the park we saw Mr Jogging, a guy that went jogging all around loaaads of times really fast and with really good form, but with a belly.
One day we decided to find the Luxemburgish embassy with style. That meant that we ended up jumping from one side of the canals to the other, or hanging on some scaffolding, or climbing buildings. But the most James Bond moment happened when we were on some scaffold a few meters above the water, and my glasses fell off my head. I jumped downwards, grabbed them in the air with one hand, and with the other one I held on to the scaffold. And there I was, suspended in the air by one hand putting my sunglasses back on, with Mark and I staring at each other in disbelief laughing our ass off. That day we said that we’d come back to Venice another time with a kayak. And we did find the embassy, which had some exhibition going on inside, with sounds and rooms with different moods.
We did come back, 10 years later, to check out the Venice Carnival! But without kayaks. haha
We went to a supermarket and saw that meat was so damn expensive! Expect one type.. lungs. We bought them and cooked them. They were so spongy, and rather than eating meat it felt like eating a chewing gum. Also it looked rather creepy. But nevertheless it was a good experience. The only problem about the house was at night. There were paintings of Jesus looking at you all over the wall, and we felt observed. Now this may sound like a really stupid thing to say, but the house was haunted. We felt the presence of something in the same room as us, and man that was scary. When we turned off the lights, I felt something slightly touching me. We freaked out, and never turned the light off again. Man it was really freaky. We were sure there was something.
Other nights were more fun, as we discovered the city. E.g. one night we ended up in a Communist party, having so much fun around. Mark left. It is in our tradition that we always arrive about 2 seconds before the departure vehicle leaves. That was no exception for him as he almost missed his flight. By seconds literally.
I was to stay in Venice 2 or 3 more nights. The priests suggested that I’d move into a room by the church, in the same building where they lived. I accepted the offer without any hesitation since there was no way I’d stay in the haunted house alone! Man I was going to say how nice Angelo (the younger priest) was a bit later, but I just cannot hold it anymore because he was such a good person. He treated us/me so damn good; I do not know words kind enough to describe him. He is one of the most open minded and good people I’ve ever met. They invited me for lunch every time. All 3/4/5 priests and I would have food together in the same room, with some wine. And then we had the watermelon I’d bought for dessert!
I also remember their custom of having several coffee shots a day, and inviting me at every one of them. One day, they even took me to a local restaurant to have pizza! And walking around Venice with them was also awesome. They knew all the shortcuts, all the small passages where no one went through, and we got from A to B in a third of the time as Mark, Massa and I had. They were all so nice and welcoming. I’m so happy that I got to meet them and to live that experience.
Venice is like a kind of island with loads of channels and boats going everywhere. It’s so damn beautiful. Cars are forbidden, and people use boats for transport with tickets and everything, just as if they were buses. There was also a festival in an island nearby. I think it was the Lido festival. But Venice was too much fun to go away. One of those nights I met an artist. I forgot her name, but it was really nice to see things from her point of view. The morning after I went around the non-tourist part of the city, around the Prison, and seeing the real local’s lifestyle. It was truly interesting.
Finally, it was time for me to go to Treviso airport, and take the plane back. I thanked Angelo and the other priests, for having given me such unforgettable memories, and just as I was about to leave, Angelo gave me a guide of the St Giovanni e Paolo Basilica, which was a nice read. And there used to be a hospital around too! … Just like Mark, I made it seconds before the gate closed, since I was the last one boarding. Just had to keep the tradition going.
Looking back, it is clear that we had not yet developed a true sense of morality, and many of the things I did I would not do again. Likewise, there were some truly amazing characteristics in our character and personalities, such as the fearless and “let’d do this shit no matter what” attitude. Writing this made me laugh, smile, and cry. What an epic trip. No wonder I got hooked onto adventure travelling!