By Hannah Gwyther
As the calendar pages turn and the long evenings of the Greek summer slowly start to draw in, anticipation mounts for the return to Andros and the start of the new season digging at Zagora.
There are ferry tickets to book, dig clothes to dust off and endless supplies of Bandaids and Voltaren to purchase (in preparation for the Known Ailments – blisters of slightly scary proportions and joints and muscles aching beyond redemption), we pack and prepare for the season ahead.
On embarking the ferry, you sneak a peak at your fellow travellers, could this be a new dig friend? Looking around for those tell-tale signs – a dusty looking bag or possibly the unavoidable fashion faux pas of the dig boots. While they do no summer frock or board-shorts justice they are simply too heavy to pack and make for an interesting ‘look’. As the boat comes into the port and the ramp is lowered, people, bags and cars all tumble out into the gleaming sunshine of Andros. Then, with the ferry accomplished it’s onto the distinctive little blue island bus, and you are bound for Batsi.
The excitement rises as you pull into this quaint little village, memories to relive and memories to make. Suddenly the faces of old and new friends surround you, all bonding over the unique experience that makes Zagora. Amid much laughter and high spirits, bags are carried to rooms, new roommates are found and everyone starts to settle in.
First up is the obligatory trot down the street for the first gyros of the season (souvlaki to Australians). After happily munching away on these delicious creations, the sea beckons. Following a good swim and some hours soaking up the sun, dinner is served and talk slowly turns to the next day. With breakfast scheduled only a few hours away, the groups gathered at the tables begin to dwindle. Gradually the team members disappear into their rooms to gather their strength and revel in the anticipation of the weeks ahead filled with hard work, much laughter and the hope of lots of exciting discoveries to come.
Note: Hannah wrote this post as the excavation season, which commenced on Monday 22 September 2014, approached.