The 4-step journey from Miami to Naousa is tough, especially as I grow older. Nevertheless, here I am on the last leg, the 6:15 pm bus from Thessaloniki that takes about one hour fifteen.
I can't help feeling emotional as I see the oh so familiar, heart-tugging landscape whiz by. Sun-kissed farm fields in various stages of use (or not), bales of hay, tractors awaiting their next assignment, homes in distant villages, a water tower here and there, sheep and their shepherd -- and now the toll booth on the impersonal "Ignatia Road." Impersonal because the bus no longer goes through villages except on a couple of non-"express" runs each day. There aren't even any signs to say, "Valtohori this way"...
Most disturbing are the abandoned buildings for homes or businesses that were never finished or later closed down -- and now stand still in silent protest to all that has befallen Greece financially in the past 10 years. Those snake-bit buildings are everywhere. The setting sun only accentuates the negative.
No matter what you hear, things are not yet good for the average Greek citizen. And despite the cheerful demeanors, everyone on this bus knows it.
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