Not as planned.

Driving is thankfully what I do a lot of and therefore I love having a comfortable and big car to do my trips in. Athens – Porto Heli and back is a weekly commute and there are two ways of getting there. I described one in the previous blog post and this is also my favourite road. The other one is a lot straighter, but who does straight… and past the old capital of Greece, Nafplion.

Anyway… as I was doing my weekly commute last week and really enjoying 6.2 litres of pure muscle (I am referring to the engine here), I was looking for an opportunity to pass a car travelling less than light speed. The perfect opportunity arose and then suddenly the broken Starship Enterprise in front me threw his car half a metre to the right and there in front of me a big rock! Thank G. it was smaller than a mountain but still I jumped over it at some speed. Then my dashbård went red and I could follow in real time on the computer the air in my tire deflating. From 2.6 bar (warm tires) to 0.0 bar in half a second.

I managed to stop at a lay by 10 metres down the road and was safe. I thought. I stepped out of the car and a big lion came charging towards me. No, that is not true. But I was standing in the middle of nowhere with a very flat tire. I started laughing. What a crazy thing. Around me was open and dry landscape and it felt like I was a million miles from the nearest water hole. Luckily I had packed food and water. And really just down the road was the nearest village. Still… I felt a bit lost. Like when I got lost in Brixton, London at night when I was 18. I survived that too, after a big man came over and told me I should probably not be there… Comforting. And the fact that my cousin guided me with a map, on the phone, to safe Sloan Square.

Lipon (“so” in Greek). I phoned my insurance company not really knowing what to expect from a Greek company but how wrong was I to assume. The woman on the other end spoke perfect English and said I would get a phone call soon. Again, I thought… yeah right. Where is my food, water and tent. 5 minutes and an SMS said someone would come in 45 minutes. 5 minutes later I got a phone call from the rescue services saying he was 15 minutes away. In English! Though I explained to him in perfect Greek the name of the nearest village where the lion had attacked me.

A big lorry came around the corner, and I was hoping he didn’t hit the rock in the middle of the road and he didn’t. He stopped, looked at my flat tire and said: “Where are you going?” “I am going to Porto Heli”, I said. “Let’s get the car on the back of the lorry and I will drive you there, and we will find a tire dealer and get you a new set of fronts.” Again, I thought… who has two 295/40/20 in stock… He said: “If this dealer doesn’t have it, I will take you to the next one, and so on until we find you some help.” Wow – service!

15 minutes and we were at the fist dealer, they put on a spare tire and told me that someone would deliver two brand new Pirelli P Zero (yup, I have racing tires on my SUV) tires from Athens tomorrow morning. The recovery service guy made sure everything went perfect and then said goodbye. I didn’t even sign one paper.

The morning after my new tires were fitted and I was very happy again. But how impressed am I. This country works in so many ways. I wonder if Norwegian rescue services would sort out things this quickly. I was back on the road 30 minutes after my little accident.

I am so happy with my choice to move here. The sun keeps shining on Greece, as it is pouring down on the rest of the EU…


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