Spring Day Novel 1 chapter 2
by 15 pupils of the 2nd High School of Komotini
Spring Day novel 1
Looking at the map they decided to make a journey along the
coastline wherever it was possible. June was already a hot month
– the climate is going mad! – and July was going to be hotter.
They had heard it on Euronews TV programme.
“OK, then. We drive through the South of France, then through
Italy and we travel to Greece by ferry” , said Pierre.
“I think it is the best idea”, answered Rafaela, as she was
tired after her exams and she preferred to be near the sea.
Nobody had any objection to Pierre’s proposal and George marked
the main route on the map:
July 1st! As they woke up very early in the morning they left
Spain behind them -about 10.00 o’clock- just showing their
identity card to a polite policeman. It was the border, which
man had built on the past, though the surface of the earth was
united. There several years before passengers had to wait for
hours at the checkpoint like they were creatures from another
planet. Now they were driving, enjoying the scenery with a lot
of picturesque villages. Rafaela in Pierre’s car was looking at
the map. She suddenly read aloud :
“Agthe, that’ s a wonderful place for coffee in 500 m. Do you
“I am sending a message to Sarah’ s mobile phone”, said
Pierre took the right part of the road and George did the same
behind him with his company - Hose, Sarah, Tilde and Christofer-
in the second car. None of them knew that this small town full
of multi-coloured flowers was founded by ancient Greeks.They
read it on a marble sign in the central square, where there was
also a marble statue of Goddess “Agathi”. She was born in
Katania in Sicily and her nameday is celebrated on February
5th.They enjoyed their coffee and Hose paid, as he was the
cashier of the company. After half an hour they were again on
the main road to Marseille. This would be their next station for
lunch. Jacqueline remembered a famous tavern where she had eaten
once with their parents and Pierre helped her to find it.
“Would you like to try bouillabesse?” asked Pierre of his
friends, when they had already sat down in the tavern near the
big port of Marseille.
“Is it taste? I am so hungry!” complained Tilde.
“I’ve never heard of it”, said Christofer.
“OK, trust me all of you. As we are tired and hungry this fish-soup,
specialitè of South France, will be the best” confirmed Pierre.
The waiter, a middle-aged man, smiled politely on hearing their
order and said : “Perfect”.
“Do you know, sir, that bouillabesse was a very common food in
Fokaia,an ancient Greek town in Asia Minor? It was brought here
by colonists. Kakavia is the greek name of the same soup” George
told him smiling as well.
“I know it very well, my friend, as my grandfather who was a
seaman used to tell me a lot of real stories from all over the
world. Kali orexi (Good appetite), he pronounced in Greek.
All the group was attending the conversation with interest. They
knew that their Greek friend wouldl be invaluable in Greece,
they would learn a lot of interesting information. After they
had enjoyed the delicious soup they went for a walk to the noisy
and crowded port of Marseille. Seeing many ships they were
trying to recognize their flags: Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Italy,
Turkey, Romania, they said all together, as if it was a game.
But it was time to go as they had not decided yet where to spend
the night. Rafaela suddenly turned and shouted:
Three brown-haired heads and a rather dark one with long hair
turned in her direction.
“Ciao, amica!” answered three boys and a girl with one voice.
They were standing in front of an italian ship and they were
students coming back home from France. They had got their MS
Diploma of Oenology in the University of Bordeaux. Rafaela
introduced the two groups. Beatrice and Pedro from Portugal and
the brothers Stefano and Antonio from Southern Italy, from
“bella Napoli”. They were going to Greece for summer vacation,
but they had to stop in Napoli for a couple of days. The two
boys wanted to see their parents and to guide their friends
around their nice town. Of course a new car, a new model of FIAT,
their parents’ present for their Diploma, was waiting for them.
The company had three cars now and they were driving to Nice.
The discussion about cinema started in the first car as they
were passing the area of Cannes. Jac sent a message to Sarah in
the second car and Rafaela did the same for the third car. The
Italian fellows were smiling as they got the message: “ Think
about titles of famous European films”. Beatrice started saying
titles as she was very fond of cinema. But they were so many!
“Mama Roma”! That’s my proposal, Antonio interrupted her.
OK, but it is too old. “Life is beautiful” of Roberto Begnini is
a new one, said Stefano.
“Everything about my mother” of Almodovar, completed Beatrice.
“Never on Sunday” of Jules Dassin. First prize for best actress
for Melina Merkouri. Festival of Cannes, 1960, said George.
“Excellent”. I have seen the film 4 times, said Christofer.
“Mona Lisa smile” of Mike Newell, added Tilde.
Pierre, Rafaela and Jac talked about a lot of films.They
remembered the films “Reconstruction” of Christoffer Boe,
“Amelie” of Jean Pierre Jeunet and they finally agreed that the
older film of Kieslowski“Three colors:Blue” was something
impressive and exceptional in the story of the cinema. They were
anxious to learn their friends’ points of view. It would be a
good subject for discussion in the evening.
The motel they found near Genova was not big but it had some
free rooms.The afternoon was really hot as there was no wind.
They rested for a couple of hours and they met each other at the
living room for dinner. The receptionist, a young, thin very
tall girl with short blond hair, told Stefano where they could
eat. Her pronounciation was not Italian and Stefano asked her
where she came from. He guessed correctly.
Gerta came from Austria and that was the last day of her
practice as a receptionist. He invited her to go with them for
dinner and she accepted, but she would be free after an hour.
Gerta and Stefano exchanged their phone numbers and the company
went out for a walk in the small suburb of Genova with its
It was already dark and they were so hungry that they went in
the first pizzaria they met. Eating the delicious pizza and
drinking cool beer Jac mentioned the discussion about films.
They knew all the films as they were famous all over the world
and they could not choose the best. The art of the cinema – the
Seventh Art – creates bonds among people of different countries
on the continent of Europe, on all the continents of our planet.
In the meantime Gerta appeared as she had promised. They spent
one more hour planning their journey. Gerta accepted Stefano’s
proposal to travel with them to Greece. She found it very
attractive because she would not only visit Greece but she also
could find a job on an island and get good experience.
“Thanks a million all of you and especially you, Stefano” said
“You’re welcome! We will be happy if you spend your vacation
with us” answered Stefano.
The sun rose but nobody wanted to leave his bed. Only Gerta was
awake as she was used to waking up early in the morning. As she
heard the first alarm clock ringing she left her room and
started to knock on the doors of her friends.
“Get up, please! We have a long journey until…” shouted Gerta.
She suddenly thought that she had not paid attention to the
journey plan, because she had been really surprised with the
chance of this new friendship. It did not matter! She only knew
that the end of the trip was Greece and that made her very glad.
The three cars were travelling in the way to Rome and Gerta was
in the third one, Stefano’s car. They stopped two times but just
for a quarter of an hour as they wanted to arrive in Rome early.
It is true that everybody would have liked to have much more
money and time to visit every village, every town on their way.
Florence and Venice, two “cities-museums” would be the
destination of another tour, who knew when! Now they had a long
way to Greece.
Early in the afternoon they saw the first signs to enter Rome
through different entrances. They had to leave “Autostrada del
sole” and to take the way to the west entrance of the “eternal
city”, as Gerta knew a hostel at which they could stay. It was
easy to find it but there were not free enough rooms for the
company of thirteen people. Fortunately the man responsible had
a solution. He sent four of them to another hostel nearby. Gerta
agreed to go with Pierre’s group in order to make the separation
“Pierre and his women” said George loudly and everybody laughed.
Their evening out was on foot. They were at the side of the “old
city” and they were impressed seeing a lot of historical
monuments, “international treasures”, which were illuminated.
They walked for about an hour and then they found a pastizzeria
and ordered many kinds of famous italian pasta: ravioli,
spaghetti, tortellini, farfalle, gnocchi, rotelle and rigatoni.
The table filled with the different kinds of steaming pasta,
which they ate rather greedily. After they had eaten too much
the walk to the hostel was necessary. On the way no one had a
different opinion: they would stay the whole next day in Rome!
The day was cloudy but they found it helpful as they wanted to
walk around the city. Sarah had a good digital camera and
started to take photos, as she had the previous days too. She
thought of preparing a photo album for each friend, a good
memory of this summer, of this age, of this friendship!
The city was crowded, the traffic difficult both for people and
for drivers and the cloudy weather was helping the air pollution
to stay over the city. Piazza di Campitoglio, Basilica di San
Petro, Colosseo, Piazza Venezia, Via del Corso,il Monumento di
Vittorio Emanuele B΄, Fontana del Moro, Fontana dei Trevi…
“Here we are! I hope that you did not forget to bring with you a
coin of your country before euro. You were sure that you had
some in the cars” said Antonio.
“Yes, we did. Come on, boys and girls, take out your old coins
and make a wish!” said Rafaela smiling.
All of them threw their old coin into the water: Drachmi, lira,
French franc, sterling, Belgian franc,Swedish krone,transferred
their wishes, which they had a common point. They wished for
European Union 50 years later to have among its members a lot of
countries and all of them to live in peace, to be defenders of
human rights, to exchange their cultural ideas, to share the
goods, to make a progress and to protect the sustainable
They enjoyed that day in Rome very much. Now they had to take
different roads. The third car with Antonio, Stefano, Pedro and
Beatrice took the road to Napoli. Gerta stayed in Pierre’s car
as she was in a hurry to be in Greece as soon as possible. Their
meeting was to be after three days in the hotel “Aphrodite” in
Plaka, the picturesque area of Athens.
Arriving at the port of Bari they went directly to the queue,
which was not so long. Though they were crazy for a cup of
coffee they had to wait about half an hour to get in to the big
ferryboat. They wanted to feel the fresh air of the sea as the
day was too hot and in the noisy port of Bari not a leaf was
moving. Their journey would last about eighteen hours, so they
would have the opportunity for a good rest especially the
drivers, Pierre and George. The Adriatic Sea was calm and had a
dark blue color as it was already 8.00 o’clock p.m.The European
friends sat on the highest deck and were enjoying their cold
coffee. Later they found another place on a lower deck and
opened their sleeping bags. They slept at once.
When George opened his eyes the ferry was entering the Bay of
Patras and in half an hour it would enter ithe port of Patra.
One after another they were waking up thinking that in two hours
more or less they would arrive in Athens.
It was early in the morning, about 7.00 o’clock, and they were
driving to Athens. The day was apparently going to be very hot
It was Saturday and the weekend traffic in Athens was not so
terrible as on weekdays. Now George’s car was the leader and
Pierre followed. The hotel was at the foot of the Acropolis.
They got the keys and went to their rooms. Jac was standing
surprised at the balcony looking at the famous monument. After
they had had a shower and put on clean light clothes they met
Penelope, George’s friend, who was a student of Archaeology in
the University of Athens. She was going to be their guide as she
loved to do it and wanted to refresh her English. She would also
be Jac’s advisor for her school project.
They were in the entrance of the Acropolis after half an hour.
They bought bottles of cold water and wonderful white hats with
“Phoebus and Athina”, the symbol of the Olympic Games 2004 and
were going up. Penelope explained to them every part of the
Acropolis – the walls, the temples, Parthenon, the architectural
order, the Irodeion theatre, the theatre of Dionisus - and she
answered their questions pleasantly. At noon everyone was tired
and they accepted George’s idea to have lunch in Plaka. None of
them refused to go once more up to the Acropolis when their
friends came from Napoli. And that second time they felt the
biggest surprise. Listening to Penelope’s words they felt that
another group had joined theirs. They were teachers of Greek
language in secondary schools and Universities from different
European countries: Nina-Maria from Luxemburg, Alex from Holland,
Anniken from Germany,Trine from Denmark and Andriew from Ireland.
They were attending lessons of Greek language and culture in a
monthly summer school organized by the University of Athens. The
company became bigger and all together planned a lot of
They had already spent three days in Athens using the Metro for
their movements and visiting Lekabetus, museums, Monastiraki – a
traditional open market with antiquities – the Ancient Agora,
small and big churches, Zappeion, The Houses of Parliament,
Stadion, the University, the Academy.
Their evenings were splendid sitting in Greek tavernas with
“souvlaki” and “mousaka” and many kinds of delicious well-cooked
food with olive oil and summer vegetables or hearing all kinds
of music in the bars along the seashore. They met people from
Cyprus, Poland, Esthonia, Romania as they tried to learn Greek
Four days were left. They wanted so much to be on an island in
Aegean Sea, but George adviced them to avoid it as that was the
high season and the islands were crowded. They had to discuss it.
Maybe a daily cruise to the nearest island? They could not
imagine that they would not see Mykonos. George had to make some
deals with a tourist office.
One thing they knew very well, that their return home would be
Who was going to stay in Greece, who was going to return and
which was going to be the way of return?
2nd High School of Komotini
15 pupils of the group for the “Spring Day in Europe 2004”
and the Teachers responsible
Vanda Papaioannou, Deputy Head, Teacher of Greek Language
Theodora Kordokonidou, Teacher of Greek Language
Monika Darginidoy, Teacher of Maths
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