If you know me at all, or occasionally read this blog, you'll know that I happen to love old cars. This was one of the reasons why I loved our trip to Agistri in the summer so much: I saw so many interesting cars and an interesting culture that has developed around car ownership on this small island.
You see, Agistri is a small island. Like, very, very small. There is one bus (not one bus line, one bus!) that takes you between the settlements around the island. There is one fire truck and one professional fireman. In the summer, they have an extra pickup truck and some volunteers. There is one ambulance, but they can't find a doctor to move to the island, so sick people are taken to the pharmacist who will give advice and help if there is something urgent.
It is not a rich island - international tourism hasn't picked up as much as on many other islands and it is mostly popular among Greek holiday-goers, although it is starting to get discovered now. This also means that if people buy a car, they intend to use it for a long time. So cars are maintained by local mechanics and are driven until they fall apart. If cars break down and are beyond repair, they are just left in the backyard or out in the field. It's not worth getting an immobile car off the island and there is no local scrapyard - so the locals' backyards and gardens often hide their old, broken-down cars.
It was really interesting looking at these old abandoned cars, but it was also great to see how many of these 30-40 year old vehicles were still kept alive and were driven every day.
Finally an interesting, but fairly random story: I took a picture of an awesome VW Westfalia camper and I posted the picture on Instagram. The owner of the car, who runs a kayak company, accidentally found the picture and we talked a little about the car. He said it it was a childhood dream of his to own a car like this and he finally managed to get it in his 20s and build it into this epic adventure rig. It's still a little rough around the edges, but it is seriously cool!