07-May-2022 -- As I had a long layover at the Athens airport en route from the European Association of Geographers conference, and as the focus of the conference was all about fieldwork, geotechnologies (including GPS), geography, and spatial thinking, I decided to visit this during my layover. After a bit of difficulty finding where the taxis leave from at the airport, I found the taxi stand, and contacted a driver, saying "kalimera". Since we did not speak the same language (I know about eight phrases in Greek), after I showed him the map on my phone, we set off. The driver was probably around 70 years old. I kept the audio on from the mapping app and the driver was able to follow it, based on that and also my additionally thrown in directions. We made our way through some housing developments and some orchards on extremely bumpy narrow roads with a few near misses of oncoming cars. But it was an adventure!
The driver began smoking the first of many cigarettes and I unrolled my window as I had to wear many of these same clothes for the next several days. But I was truly thankful to have a ride. Anticipation mounted as meandered to the northeast: When we got closer, the driver gingerly made his way up the gravel road next to the orchard where I knew the confluence would lay. I then got out of the car, even though the driver was very insistent to drive me closer on an even worse road that bent to the northeast perimeter of the orchard. This was all reminding me of my trip 10 years ago to Tunisia to a confluence point, where the taxi driver wanted to actually drive on the confluence field. I paid the driver and took my things and just gesticulated as best I could to please remain and not leave me there!
I then set out briskly through the orchard whereupon many thorns quickly found their way into my socks. After about what seemed longer but in reality was probably only 5 minutes, I was able to get within a few meters of the point. After taking videos and photographs I moved closer to one of the trees there and there was able to zero out the unit. I placed a video online on my Our Earth YouTube channel, here. The confluence therefore lies on ground sloping around 8% with particularly nice views through a few of the trees. As previous visitors have mentioned, the confuence lies in a pistachio orchard with some houses scattered around. This was not far from the coast. This 38 North line is a rather significant line of latitude for me as I have been on at least 25 points along the same line of latitude in North America. This was my first time along this line of longitude. This was my first confluence point in Greece and my second on this trip, the other being in Austria. The temperature stood at around 70° F (21 C) with some winds but sunny skies. It was mid morning in mid Spring. I am sure I was the only person to stand in this field with a coat and tie on.
I was very glad to be here but felt urgently the need to get back to the taxi. I breathed a sigh of relief: He was still there. And somehow, he had managed to turn the taxi around to face outward. We then had a very interesting conversaton with perhaps his dispatcher on the cell phone, none of us understanding each other. I am not sure why we were talking with his dispatcher. I was going to explain the significance of this point with a drawing of the Earth, but as the discourse was getting a bit heated, I abandoned that plan. Having still a bit of time before my flight, I had found a church on the hill top on my mapping app and now asked the driver if he could take me there. He agreed; after 10 to 15 minutes, we arrived and found a beautiful view and a beautiful church. A few people were on the grounds. On the way back to the airport without any prompting for me the driver took me to one more church which was also magnificent. He even offered me a gel candy. In retrospect I had probably enough time to go to the Parthenon, instead of those local churches, but I was worried that traffic would prevent me from getting back to the airport for me to make my connecting flight. Thus the churches were the back up plan.
Upon my arrival back at the airport, the driver charged me 30 more euro. I thought it was going to be 30 round-trip instead of each way, and he was very insistent. Not wanting to cause an international incident, I paid him the additional funds. So, it was not an inexpensive journey, but despite the stresses, I was out in the field where geography all began, in Greece. Thus, it was all good. Get out there and explore!