Day 135-LXI, from Ρηζά to Κανάλι, 12 km.
Day 136-LXII, from Κανάλι to Πρέβεζα, 17 km.
Preveza, March 22
Act one of our march through Greece has been completed. After a week we have arrived in Preveza, the first place that can qualify as a town, for Greek standards.
The geographical position of Preveza is extraordinary. It’s built on the tip of a peninsula at the entrance of a large internal sea. To boost expectations I have been spreading myths about the place in these last few days. By now people believe that this is one of those towns which are known as ‘the Venice of the South’.
You should be warned, I’m notorious for spreading bull shit. I once tried to make people believe with a straight face that Venice was also known as the ‘Dordrecht of the Adriatic’. Unfortunately, the myth didn’t stick.
But seriously, we have experienced our first troubles with police these days.
Police here are like the cossacks during Napoleon’s retreat from Russia. They only attack isolated units. Yesterday, on the road to the modern seaside resort of Kanali, two of our comrades got stopped and had to undergo molesting interrogations and searches. One of them was forced to undress right next to the national road.
In the evening a group of us gathered in one of the hip pubs of Kanali to discuss the case and form the Strategy working group. It seems that according to European directives we have a list rights in dealing with police, of which we should be well aware. Things like the right to a translator, the right to film the procedure, the right not to be forced to undergo humiliating searches, especially in open space etc.
I tried to find all these things black on white on the internet, but I felt like the character of Kafka who seeks access to the law. In other words, I didn’t find anything.
One of the things we decided was to march as a group today. We chose two reunification points on the route to make sure we would enter Preveza all together.
Before we went I rallied the troops.
“Comrades, the offense suffered by comrade Chino cries for bitter revenge!”
All words, of course. The revenge had already been consumed by Chino’s pet rat who had bitten the officer who had searched him.
Our first reunification stop was planned near the ruins of the ancient Roman town of Nicopolis.
It was appropriate enough. Nicopolis means ‘town of victory’. It was founded by Octavian to celebrate his victory over Marc Anthony in the sea battle of Actium, where the last remnants of the Roman Republic came to sink.
Octavian was the adopted son of Caesar. When Caesar was murdered in 44 BC, Octavian allied with Marc Anthony to hunt down the conspirators. They succeeded, but afterwards the two became deadly enemies. Marc Anthony was seduced by Cleopatra, queen of Egypt and former mistress of Caesar, and the senate feared that she would use him to gain power over Rome.
Octavian and Anthony clashed here, right off the coast of modern day Preveza. Anthony’s fleet got defeated. He and Cleopatra finally committed suicide and Octavian would go on to become the first emperor of Rome, under the name of ‘Augustus’.
We march on over the paths of history. We enter Preveza, and we are mentally prepared for a confrontation with police.
It turns out there is nothing to be alarmed about. On the square along the seaside we find the same two cossacks that had molested our comrades the day before. When they see us arrive in group the bastards were most amiable. They don’t ask for ID or anything, they praise our effort with a smile, and they soon drive off.
All the better. We celebrate our arrival in town by a collective plunge into the harbour.
In the last few days our march has had to cope with reduced rations, but she keeps going stronger. One of the former marchers has returned, and another one has joined us, both of them are from Spain.
There are still no Greeks coming along with us. Comrade Marianne hasn’t returned, as some of us had hoped. And maybe it’s better this way, because having to depend on her for our communications would likely cause new frictions in the group. Still we’re doing fine, for the moment. We communicate anyway, especially with the youth. And I’m confident that other Greeks will join our march, sooner or later.