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Category 6

Although I still wonder daily how the hell we got into this global mass hysteria, at the same time I try to accept our fate: in lockdown living aboard our Coco on the beautiful Greek island of Samos. There are worse places to be stuck and fortunately the strict rules also offer some escape options, like our favorite ‘category 6’: personal exercise and walking with pets.

Ormos port with a beginning of february snow covered Kerkis on the background

For the time being, there are no conditions attached to category 6 in terms of time and distance, so it offers us plenty of space to further explore the surroundings of Ormos Marathokampou and to escape our ‘brave new world’. The first time we hit the road, we are immediately checked. When we walk for a short while along the main road to Kampos, a passing police car stops next to us. After showing our text messages (see previous blog) we can continue our way. Two cars that pass are also checked. It soon becomes clear that the lockdown is also in our hamlet in an ‘ungreek’ way seriously enforced.

Along the beach on our way to Mt. Kerkis

Via an empty beach we continue towards the goal of our hike, the Kerkis: at 1.400 meters the highest mountain on Samos. Even more than usual, we now avoid villages and main roads. We are reluctant to explore the exact limits of what is and is not allowed within category 6 or to encounter many people. The latter would not succeed anyway, because the streets are more and more extinct every day. Sometimes it seems as if we are walking over an empty film set. From a garden further on, a family waves enthusiastically at us. A single individual that we pass looks shyly at us. I don’t like this brave new world.

View over Ormos from Mt. Kerkis

Fortunately, walking clears and lightens our heads. The journey to the foot of the Kerkis allready takes so long that we don’t have enough time left to walk all the way to the top. We therefore limit ourselves to the climb to the abandoned nunnery at an altitude of 650 meters. Like many walks on Samos, this one has also been described and marked, something that we have not often encountered in Greece. It is not necessary in itself, because the path is easy to follow as it is.

Hiking route information
Flowering fields

While enjoying beautiful views over a misty sea, we slowly ascend through forests and abundantly flowering fields. The temperature is rising steadily and we are happy that there is indeed a working water source at the monastery. Thirsty from the long walk, we all three eagerly use it.

Having a break at the nunnery
View over the west coast of Samos

But God is seriously smiling down upon us today. When I check the doors of the nunnery, I soon come across a dingy kitchen that is apparently still used by hunters or mountain hikers. The majority of the stock consists of wine, coffee and a few ice-cold beers. With our legs up high we treat ourselves to one leaving a few euros behind.

The kitchen
The cupboard

The way back is just as beautiful as the way there. Only downhill it is easier and a bit faster. Just before we return to civilization, we send two new text messages just to be sure. It is not necessary, because we don’t bump in to the police anymore.

On our way back

In the meantime, the lockdown has been extended to April 27 and the Greek government is taking additional measures to prevent the Greeks from traveling en masse to their families on the islands or the countryside during the Greek Orthodox Easter, the most important holiday of the year. Swimming, fishing and other recreational water sports are prohibited until May 15. When I ask the lady that runs the supermarket about the rumor that the date for celebrating Easter got changed to May 25, she looks at me a bit pitying at hearing such a lack of knowledge of the Christian holidays calendar. “It’s not the same” and in her best English supported with a lot of gestures, she explains to me that 40 days after Easter there is another Christian holiday and that ‘He’ takes off on that day. So Ascension Day. Still, light shines at the end of the tunnel. The Greek government is already speculating cautiously about easing the measures in May if everyone behaves ‘neatly’ in April.

Poppies with a seaview

In anticipation of what is to come, we go for another hike. This time we take a short walk to ‘Kaladakia beach’ surrounded by beautiful sea views. Normally, this small beach is a popular tourist attraction, as can be seen by the parking lot and the foundation for a large beach tent. Now it is quiet and deserted. I look over the sea musing. Who could have predicted a month ago that humanity would make such profound changes in such a short time in response to a bad flu? Why then, with the same vigorous and energetic approach, can we fail to put an end to the real problems on this globe, such as other diseases, hunger, poverty, war, violence, exploitation and climate change?

One of many bays

6 thoughts on “Category 6”

  1. Although I still wonder daily how the hell we got into this global mass hysteria, Ik vind de woorden” massa hystrie een een totaal misplaatste onderschatting van het drama wat zich op dit moment op onze gehele aardbol afspeeld! Verder wens ik jullie wel een goede vaart, of verblijf toe!!


    1. Hi John, zoals ik aan het eind van mijn blog probeer uit te leggen, gaat het mij om de verhouding met de aanpak van andere grote wereldproblemen, die naar mijn mening veel minder is, terwijl de problemen minstens zo groot zijn…


  2. how can you make a mockery out of the Greek government, by doing as you please? You may only travel short distances for exercise and this is classed ‘around your immediate area’ . You are a guest in Greece. Behave accordingly!
    Maybe read this – written by the owner of the link below – written especially for people who seem to think rules do not apply to them

    It seems there may be some confusing (still) about personal exercise, taking the dogs for a walk and swimming at the beach…. How? I have no idea cos the government regulations are quite clear… but there is.
    So, in an attempt to clear this up, here we go… these regulations, of course, apply countrywide… i.e. Kefallonia has to abide by the same bloody set of rules as all other places do… you’re not on a different planet.
    PERSONAL EXERCISE… brief periods of time, near your home… and ON FOOT. This does NOT allow for taking the car, bicycle or motorbike and going for a ride or a drive, with or without a pet. It does not mean 3 km from the house… 3 km is nooooooot near, unless the whole expanse of land is your private property.
    TAKING THE PET FOR A WALK:.. brief periods of time, near your home… and ON FOOT. No you can’t take the bloody dog in the car across the mountains for a drive to let it have a walk. You can take the dog for a walk at the beach, ON A LEASH, as long as the beach is within close walking proximity of your home.
    SWIMMING… Swimming, fishing, water sports and activities have been ruled out for EVERYONE. The water activities have only one exception; PROFESSIONAL FISHERMEN. The ONLY exception to no swimming is for those who have health issues which demand swimming or soaking in the sea. In this case the person in question must carry with them their travel paper, passport or ID and a doctor’s verification certifying their condition and the requirement to swim etc.
    So many continue to whine and whinge…. WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU??? These people do pretty much nothing more than complain and try to maneuveur… what do they think they’re doing? Haggling at a bazaar?? There are no windows and loop holes to jump through. The regulations apply to everyone.
    To anyone flaunting these regulations? (This is me practising bitchcraft…), I bloody well hope you get caught and slammed with fines! Irresponsible and selfish, not a thought for others… countless are asymptomatic carriers… Why do you think these regulations are in place in the first place?? If you don’t like it, pardon me, shove it… go back to wherever you came from and take your entitled sense of irresponsibility with you. Greece HAS PROVEN the measures work and it’s morons like you that drag us down and further endanger lives.
    P.S. Should you witness behaviour like this, you are fully entitled to report people to the police. Take a snapshot with your phone, hand it over to the police, you can remain anonymous if you wish. About time some examples were set!
    Please note: I’m not taking pot shot at Brits… you’d think I’d have better things to do… even though the complaints from expats about the behaviour of other expats (and not just on Zakynthos) are countless and constant… I’m taking pot shots at anyone who needs to read/hear it in English cos they do not know Greek, but would take the same pot shots at any Greek who was caught behaving the same way!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are woefully ignorant and completely ignoring the lockdown rules, that we ALL have to obey. You are living in someone else’s country, you could at least obey the rules. No it’s not fun and yes it is inconvenient, for visitors and natives, but this Government are doing what they can to keep their citizens safe. Sorry to say, but sailors like you and your desire to stretch what is and is not allowed under no 6, gives all of us who live aboard a very bad name.


  4. Mass hysteria? Bad flu? Are you serious? Traipsing for longer and further than the restrictions permit round a Greek island, knowingly flouting the restrictions (sending another number 6 message whilst STILL OUT on your first trip) is offensive, as is handling everything inside someone else’s kitchen, possibly infecting everything.
    You have the nerve to say adhering to the restrictions in ‘unGreek’ yet look at you both, flouting the rules and risking everyone on the island, which has no proper hospital.

    Liked by 1 person

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