Set out at 6:30AM to make a good start on the walk during the cool hours. I knew that the distance to my next stop Elefsina was at least 25 miles which would mean 9 hours of walking—I figured I could do five hours in the morning and then four hours early evening and arrive at my hotel in Elefsina where I had a rest day the following day. I realised that the coastal path, which I had assumed was flat, was in fact undulating, beautiful but a roller coaster. In many ways this was a metaphor for the walk itself: lots of amazing highs and lows. A friend and fellow supporter of Newcastle United once reflected with me after another 3rd Round cup exit to a pub team from the Rothman’s Sunday League—“I can cope with the disappointment, it’s the hope that gets me!”
Along the way I stopped at Neo Paramos and visited ‘Dada’s’ an exceptional coffee house owned by Catherine Tiga (pictured). Catherine was very interested in the Truce and took time to read the website. She spoke excellent English and had been a Customs Official during the Athens Games in 2004. Everywhere you go in Greece you may find cynicism about politics, economics and even sport, but the Olympic ideal is something which commands the greatest reverence still.
As I left we had a photo taken and she asked, “Why hasn’t this been on TV?” I smiled and said that I feared that it was a complex idea not easily fitting in a short news slot and most crucially it lacked a celebrity, she responded, “but you are a celebrity”, I laugh, “Catherine” I said ,“it may be different in Greece, but in the UK fifty year old political ‘has-beens’ aren’t great box office, but my hope is that through the walk some celebrity Bono, George Clooney, Martin Sheen, David Beckham might just pick up the issue—actually is Demis Roussos still around?” “Yes, I think” she said.
I set off in the direction of Elefsina and reflected on our discussion and concluded that actually what I would want is not for a celebrity to pick up the issue, but for the media to conclude that the Olympic Truce was a worthy story on its own merit……ah, there goes that ‘hope’ again! Newcastle for the cup!