The weekend had arrived, it was early Summer and the weather was fine, this combination always prompted a “volta” (βόλτα). I`m obliged to introduce you to this word, as it carries importance in Greece, meaning “take a walk, trip, drive” etc. You would “voltaris” with your girlfriend, “voltaris” down to the Kafenion, or the local bar, and there seems to be no equivalent word in the English language which creates the same image.
So, the vaguest of plans were made for a Sunday morning departure. With the family still fast asleep in bed at 9 am the next morning, the dogs barking alerted us to visitors. I allowed Vagelis to investigate. I failed to decipher the muffled voices and closed my eyes to snooze some more. He came crashing back into my dreams, yelling for us to get up and out of bed NOW! In fear of an earthquake, or some other unimaginable natural disaster, we all stumbled to our feet with bleary eyes, to be told that they were closing off our drive entrance to hold the annual road racing event along the old National Road, where our house is situated, and if we did not leave now, we would be trapped in the house for the full day. A calamity in all senses of the word, when the whole of Crete beckons to be explored!
In the next few minutes, outright havoc reigned at Kanakary. Three frenzied females and Vagelis, attempting to grab the necessities required to leave the house for the day, created quite an alarming sight. Half dressed and clinging on to shoes, t-shirts, beach clobber and hairbrushes, we all jumped in to our old Fiesta and made our way up the driveway, where the official in the yellow fluorescent jacket was gesticulating and shouting that we should not leave, as the race was due to begin any minute.
Determined not to be trapped at home for the day, Vagelis stubbornly indicated that we would leave in the opposite direction. We left Mr. Fluorescent with his stripy plastic tape half tied across our driveway entrance and sped off in the opposite direction of the race start line.
Adrenalin pumping after this unusual “wake up”, we all started giggling as we tried to finish dressing. As Vagelis sped around corners at breakneck speed, we were flung from side to side like rag dolls, whilst his chuntered, “it isn`t funny” and “this is serious” comments, made us laugh all the more.
On a tight left hand bend, a small group of spectators applauded our speedy approach enthusiastically. As we hurtled around the corner, their applause faltered as they glimpsed us pulling on clothing, combing hair and applying lipstick. Puzzled looks flashed across their faces, as they wondered why this “race car driver” had three attending females, which appeared to be dressing as they went.
The sight of the applauding spectators accelerated our laughter and hysterics took over, till tears streamed down our cheeks.
Once we had safely exited the “race track”, Vagelis`s mood lightened and he allowed himself to laugh at the extraordinary way our Sunday volta had began.