Goodbye Maroneia.

The feeling when you want to write something down, but you don’t know how is kinda annoying. Even though I feel like there are no words for my time in Maroneia, for the people I met, I still would like to try to share some of the things I experienced in Maroneia.

My stay in Maroneia started in Penzion Petran. Petros and his wife were having their midday nap when I arrived. After figuring out that Petros was able to speak some German, the language barrier was kind of gone. The only rule I had to stick with, was to speak loud and clear.

I came to this village with the idea to wait for about 4 nights for my new credit card that was supposed to arrive via the greek mail. The days passed, the greek mailservice did not seem to care about my letter at all. Every morning, after explaining Petros why I am still around, I went to the centre of the village, to the Tavern Lola. There I would find a box where the postman would come once a day.. (or sometimes not..) and put all the letters for the people in Maroneia . But I would never find my letter there..

While spending my time escaping from the heat, I was able to meet the lovely family of Petros. His daughter Despina, his Grandsons Jonny and his girlfriend Evi, Petros (jr) and a few friends of them. I went to the ancient theater of Maroneia, took several rides to the beach, enjoyed the feeling of a holiday in this small village in Thrace.

The relaxation stopped after a while. Every hour I was refreshing the website, where I should be able to track my letter online. But unfortunately there was nothing to track. The letter wasn’t moving. It was stuck in Athens. All the people on the phone (at least one of them from the greek mail hotline per day) told me, I should just wait: „The letter will probably be there tomorrow“…
I stopped counting the amounts of „tomorrows“ when there was NO letter..

Petros, my warden, he is a real business man. Even though he knew about my situation, even though I was helping him in the garden, trying to offer my help at any point, I feel like he would never even dream of letting me stay for free at his place. I started to be anxious about all this. I was losing my money for a bed, a toilet, a shower and some wifi, and even though I asked several people, I couldn’t find a job or a free place to stay.
So I was setting up a date when I would leave the village, if the letter would be there or not.

Early in the morning I wrapped my things, ready to leave the village. At this point I had stopped checking the online tracker already, because I had an arrangement with the Postman and Theodoros from the supermarket: If the letter would appear, it would be delivered directly to the supermarket.
So I said goodbye to Penzion Petran, rolled down to the centre.
Theodoros was already waiting for me. His family owns the small supermarket in the village in the third generation. He is working mostly from 7am in the morning until at least 00:00 O’Clock in the evening. So if I was bored I would go to the supermarket to have a little chat with him. When he saw me arriving this morning on my fully loaded steed, he already had this look on his face.. 
Guess what: Yup, the letter was not there.
..But there was a new hope. Theo called the postoffice in Xilagani, 11km from Maroneia. They told us there might be a chance, that the letter would arrive at 12am. Now it was 9am… 
Aaaand they had me. Again. So I gave them another chance to give me any new information about my letter at 12. If not I would keep on riding to Turkey and get a new Card to Istanbul. I was so tired of this bad work morale. So I was waiting. „For the last time“ I said to myself (…)
09:30am: Second coffee, first cigarette.
10am: Third coffee.
11am: Stopped counting.

I was sitting at the restaurant on the opposite side of the supermarket. A woman was sitting there, too. She was with Costa and Athina, the owners of the restaurant. I dont remember the exact situation, but somehow Stella invited me over to their table and asked me about my trip. Where I was from, my destination, (…) It was the first time that I was able to speak to the owners of the restaurant, too. Before that, Costa would probably think I am weirdo, not speaking greek at all and staying in Maroneia for so many days….
Anyhow: Stella invited me to stay at her place. I grateful accepted the invitation. I thought it was just for another night, because I was really still having some hope, that maybe this time the promised „tomorrow“ would be the one when the letter will finally arrive….
So Stella drove her car a few hundred meters up the hill to her place. I followed her with my bike. My stay in Maroneia continued. At this time I wasn’t even able to guess what a hell of a good choice I just made.

Stella was staying at her uncles and her mothers place. Helping them to manage the daily routine. The old, but magnanimous people, soon became kind of my greek family. Stella also introduced me to her (and my new) friends Christina, Giannis & Antony.
Because of this new „network“ I was able to meet a lot of new people the next few days.
For example Rula, who recently lost her mother and takes care of her father now in her job holidays. Her husband Niklas from Germany. George, the best Waiter in Maroneia. Stellas Sister, Stellas Dad, the neighbor Thanasis . . . 
I already knew, that I feel at home easily, but on top of only being around all these nice fellows, most of them really inspired me.
Maybe the most touching thing for me to see, was the significant role of the family in general in Greece. Especially when Stellas mother Anna suddenly had to go to the hospital.
I was waiting for the ambulance in the centre of the village and navigated them to her. We went to the hospital in Komotini. It was one of the scariest moments on my trip. For a few hours we were not sure if Anna would be well again and I felt the intense importance of family (Luckily she got out of the hospital again, the day before I left).

After everything was safe with Anna and she would only stay in the hospital for safety reasons for a few more days, everything went back to „normal“.

If we wouldn’t hang out together at the beach, at the bar, or at the restaurant of Stellas Cousin, I would try to help Stella to tidy up the new kitchen. I was hanging out with her uncle Evelangelos. Even though he did not speak english at all, we felt like we could communicate. He taught me for example “νερό κρύο”.
I was never good in languages in school (It is still so hard and time consuming to even write a few things down here in english), but I learned the basic greek vocabularies only by hearing and asking (Internet luckily was rare these days).
If I would only say „Hello, how are you“ and „Good Night“ in greek, people would already break into applause and call me a Maronian.

Whatever. After a week of enjoying the feeling of being at home in Maroneia, I checked the online tracker, just to make sure, that the letter is not lost.
I opened the website.
A short moment of shock. It was saying: „recipient’s address is incorrect.“
It had been sent from Alexandroupoli to Komotini, and now it was back in Alexandroupoli again. Ehm.. I am in Maroneia, guys? Not in Komotini ?!

It was already late in the evening. I couldn’t get anybody on the phone. I knew they would work at night in Alexandroupoli and maybe tomorrow my letter would maybe already be on the way back to Athens.
Detective Stella was not thinking twice. We took her car and went to Xilagani, where the Postoffice was, to maybe find someone who would know where the Postman would live.
Stella asked a few retirees in a tavern if they would have an idea where the postman would stay. Well, of course they did. So the next place where I was sitting, was the couch in the living room of the Postman and his wife.
He managed to reach out to somebody on the phone who was working in Alexandroupoli at night and made him search for the letter, to make sure that it will not be sent back to Germany. My greatest fear.

Apparently, after a few minutes of suspense while listening to the speaker of the cellphone, the silence was broken by some greek words I did not understand.. But Stellas face turned into a great smile and I knew what was up.
It took a load off my min: They found the letter! The Postman smiled and made fun at me, even though he was feeling sorry for me. He was like: “You see? I told you the letter would come”.  He ensured me that it would be in the postoffice the next morning, and I could get it at 8am when he would open the office.

We said goodbye, apologized for the disturbance and drove back to Maroneia, laughing about the story, how we would crash into the Postmans home.
The next morning, after only several hours of sleep because of celebtrating, I would grab the car from Stellas uncle and drive back the 11 km to Xilagani to finally get the letter myself. So this is where the story ends. I was waiting for more than three weeks and in the end I had to get it myself.
I would spend two more days in Maroneia, only because I could. Thank you everybody. I had more than just a good time 🙂

So here is my first little #traveltip: If you want to get stuck in Maroneia, simply follow these steps:

1. use a creditcard that is good to use in europe.
2. don’t care about getting an new one long-term for out of europe.
3. suddenly get close to the turkish border, where the old credit card would be      way too expensive to use.
4. decide to get a new one, with better conditions, but definitely make sure you do not choose a courier, definitely send it with the greek mail!

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