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Photo by Sonja Brzostowicz

At last a Saturday morning dawned cold and clear, and we enjoyed perfect conditions on our downhill-all-the-way mountain walk from Strinilas to Lafki, followed by the ever-brilliant feast at Stamatis Taverna. A slight hiccup occurred when we encountered a large herd of rather aggressive and sharp-horned ginger cows, but we were able to avoid them by scrambling down a rocky bank. Thereafter, we were followed by a tiny kid (goat not child!), alone and desperate to belong to a herd – any herd – which was being violently rebuffed by the cows. The little one followed us to the end of the track, then walked nicely on a lead as far as the cars. One of our group took her home (not for Easter!).
My mind went back to a previous Lafki walk, in 2002 I think (was that when the Euro came in? It seems like the distant past.). A breakfast TV programme had contacted me to arrange a meeting with some ex-pats to record our opinion about the new currency. But they were arriving on Saturday morning and leaving in the evening. But I would be leading our walk.
So I suggested that they join the walk from Lafki, and take this opportunity to speak to lots of other ex-pats, with some wonderful scenery footage to be got as well. They agreed, and I provided them with a detailed description of how to get to Lafki, with special emphasis on the crucial turning to Spartillas just after Ipsos. Since they had acquired a Greek-speaking Englishman from Athens as ‘gofer’, I assumed that they would be in the care of a responsible person.
We walkers met at Lafki, and we waited… and waited… and waited.
Finally – mobile signals being more limited in this days – I got through to them from the Lafki phone box. Where are you? I asked. The answer came back: somewhere called Kalami. DUH! They had missed that crucial turning!
I carefully explained to the gofer how to get to Lafki from Kalami.
Then we waited… and waited… and waited, far longer than the time it should have taken for them to arrive. I called again, and the conversation went something like this:
Me: Where are you?
Gofer: In Lafki.
Me: No, you’re not. We’re in Lafki and you’re not here.
Gofer: Maybe we’re in a different part of Lafki…
Me: No, it’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it village. Can you describe your surroundings?
Gofer: Well, we’re standing beside a sign that says Petalia.
Me: You’re in Petalia then. Lafki’s the next village along. What led you to believe you were in Lafki when the sign reads Petalia?
Gofer: I thought the village must have two names… This chappie should not have been allowed out on his own, let alone in charge of a TV crew from the BBC!
And the burning question is: How is it that the BBC has funds to fly out a crew to a Greek island (via Athens) for a two minute report on breakfast TV, when its budget doesn’t stretch to a MAP?

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