mariël tten

Το όμορφο χωριό μας - Ζιάκας in 1983


mariël otten © 2012

Pindochori 1983 → Ζιάκας 2013
October 1983
η Τραγωδία του Ζιάκα
"My great-grandfather was a kλέφτ"
Return to laughter: I will not return a failure
Left, write and Riki van Boeschoten
Ζιάκας on the internet


Ζιάκας 1983
Ζιάκας revisited 1986

See also:

Vrouwenstudies een afweging [Dutch]

october 1983 [diary notebooks]

mariël (μαρία) otten

A small bus is climbing high into the mountains. Apart from the driver, the ticket seller and three passengers, the bus is empty. It's six o'clock in the morning. For the greater part of the journey, the village remains hidden behind the low-hanging cloud cover. It seems haphazardly thrown against the mountainside. The street-lightning is still on, contributing to the image of a charming village.

Getting off the bus, I am startled by the bitter cold. I left my winter coat back in the hotel. Due to the severe coolness I notice the difference in altitude between here and the town below. As I make this trip more often, I also notice how slowly the bus progresses the last kilometres. It is quite a climb.

This trip from Γρεβενά (Grevená) to Σπήλαιο (Spíleon) through Μαυραναίοι (Mavranái) and Zákas is made three times a week. Mondays and Wednesdays early in the morning and Saturdays in the afternoon. On Friday afternoon the bus brings home the children who attend school in the nearby town of Γρεβενά and stay with relatives during the week.

The 22 km trip up the mountain takes 45 minutes. The first stage until Μαυραναίοι is smooth. It's a two lane road and there is no significant difference in altitude. The final 8 km however the bus moves ahead laboriously. Here the construction of the new road is progressing slowly.

Now and then my heart sinks. The road is narrow with lots of curves, bumps and pot-holes and in constant use by tractors and bulldozers. Often oncoming traffic suddenly appears from behind a curve. I feel relatively safe with Greek bus drivers and the fact that each trip is made by the same driver inspires confidence. In Greece buses are usually owned by the driver. He has every reason to be careful and he knows the road well.

The ticket seller is always the same as well. After two trips he recognises me and when I get on the bus for the last time with all my luggage, he asks me where I am going and when will I be back.

The villagers constantly complain about the size of the bus. But only on Saturdays the bus carries more than a handful of passengers. In their view the village is modern and important, it has electricity, it should also have a normal-sized bus.

Apart from that it is sociable in the bus. Everyone knows everyone else. Usually we already look for each other while standing at the bus stop in Γρεβενά. My only regret is that this driver does not have the habit to listen to music while on the road. I can't enjoy the beautiful mountainous landscape with the sound of δημοτικων τραγουδιων (folk music) in my ears. Instead, I enjoy it with my stomach turning due to the many curves, bumps and pot-holes.