Will You Remember Me?

To continue my tale about our travels in Greece, today’s story is about another peculiarity I noticed – the roadside memorial.

I appreciate that roadside memorials are likely a common feature in most parts of the world, however I’m used to memorials comprised of flowers.  They are temporary in nature, and usually die away within a few weeks.

However, in Greece, they are virtually permanent – and therein lies the problem.  They don’t fade away after a couple of weeks.  They remain for years and are accumulating.  The sheer number of them is unnerving.

The structures vary from modest to elaborate, with some that were deeply rusted from age, while others appeared to be recent.

Now, layer onto this the appalling driving behaviour we encountered on the roads.  As if the twisty-turny single lane mountain roads weren’t challenging enough, too many drivers were actually PASSING slower moving vehicles.

INTO A CURVE!

ON A HILL!!

It was terrifying.

On each mountain curve, I keep expecting to see a car approaching us head-on.  I found myself starting to wonder how long it would take for our bodies to be identified, and our next of kin notified.*

Given our experience on the road, the preponderance of roadside memorials was starting to make sense.  It was easy to recognize particularly bad areas because 3 or 4 memorials would be clustered together.

If these memorials are intended, in part, to act as a stark reminder to people to slow down and exercise greater care, they don’t appear to be working.

************************************************************************************

*My husband and my sons will tell you that I’m not a bundle of joy to drive with – unless you can overlook the random involuntary gasps of terror.

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
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101 Responses to Will You Remember Me?

  1. Oh my goodness, that would be completely unnerving! Pauly says I have ‘air breaks’, that’s when I draw in breath quickly. He knows if there are too many ‘air break’ noises coming from me that he needs to tone it down!

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  2. Applesauce! Joanne, I’d be gasping too. This is a fascinating post. The driving must be hair-raising! Hugs.

    Like

  3. A narrow road with #RIP road side reminders would have had me white knuckling all the way as a passenger 😱.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We have some roads that look similar from a curvy standpoint. I don’t passenger very well! I would find a plethora of permanent roadside memorials to be disturbing as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your road in Greece sounds similar to ones I’ve been on in the Côte d’Azur region of France. Thankfully I was not navigating, because it seems no matter how fast you drive there is someone who thinks it isn’t quick enough and wants to overtake at the narrowest point!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      That’s so true!! I’m always astounded by how fast people think they need to go – and on twisty-turny roads, it’s outright insane!

      I’ve always wanted to go to the Côte d’Azur. Now I know what to expect on the roads!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My comment seems to be MIA, or this is a repeat…
    But was saying that the custom and tradition in Indonesia and India of cremation, burning the body once the soul leaves, seems to make more sense than the land that cemeteries take up. Just a thought to share in light of your post.
    Those kinds or roads scare the shit out of me… 🙂
    Peta

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha you can def delete one of these.. it repeated…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joanne Sisco says:

        Glitches in the blogging world seems to the theme of the day. So many people – including me – are noting various problems, and now you are too.

        In turns of cremation, I’m noticing a new ‘trend’ that there is a greater acceptance of cremation here, but now these cremation ‘condos’ are popping up in cemeteries. It seems that as a culture, we are still having difficulty letting go.

        Gilles and I have long said that we would like to cremated, but recently I’ve started to question ‘then what?’. While we’ve firmly declared our preference for cremation, what about the ashes? I never reached an answer to my question. It appears I too have difficulty letting go 😉

        Nice to hear from you Peta. Hope all is well in your world.

        Like

  7. Somehow the custom and tradition of burning a body once the soul moves on, in Indonesia and in India to name two that come to mind, makes so much sense. If you think of how cemeteries take up so much space and land in so many parts of the world.
    Peta

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sue Slaght says:

    Joanne it seems like most countries other than North America have roads that were designed with enough space for one vehicle in mind. In Ireland I could barely keep my panic undercontrole sitting in the front. Betweenthe stone walls on the side and vehicles seemingly wanting to touch each other in passing my nerves were frayed.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I haven’t seen roadside memorials in such abundance. As for the driving – I’ve experienced what you describe in many countries, Joanne, and the terror never subsides!

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Looks like an adventure with consequences. Too bad the memorials aren’t working as warning signs. People are crazy when they get behind the wheel.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ooooh boy! I don’t think Greece is the place for me to be driving or even be a passenger either. Imagine passing by all that fantastic scenery but seeing almost none of it because of being focused on NOT being run off the road. Glad you are home, safe and sound Joanne!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. de Wets Wild says:

    From the sounds of it there’ll be a bunch of new memorials when you return to Greece on a future trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Rebel Girl says:

    I am joining the nervous passenger group!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. nrhatch says:

    I’m glad you LIVED to tell the tale!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Dan Antion says:

    I would think that would be hard to drive by. Are you a user of the imaginary brake when you’re a passenger?

    Liked by 2 people

  16. DailyMusings says:

    wow- I have never seen anything like all these memorials! and those roads – not for me!! stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. karen207 says:

    I remember seeing lots of roadside memorials when I went to Greece in high school, but they looked a fair bit less permanent than the ones you’ve taken the photos of. I understand why there are more of them, given your description of harrowing drives, but I wonder why they are more permanent and far more elaborate than I remember.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Heyjude says:

    I have never driven in Greece (or anywhere in Europe actually) but I hitch-hiked a lot and that was pretty hairy (for lots of reasons). I remember seeing roadside memorials even then (back in the ’70s). As the driver in the family (my OH falls asleep within minutes too) I can say that I am not a good passenger – for one thing I feel travel sick – but I am fairly calm when my daughter is driving. When my son started driving my car down here I was always looking at his speed and warning him of traffic cameras or where the police hide out. When I drove he too fell asleep… what is it about men as passengers? (And whatever you do don’t drive in Malta)

    Liked by 1 person

  19. mickscogs says:

    I’m a bad passenger too. And in Greece this would be coupled with my inability to drive on the right. At least you didn’t have to worry about that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      GAH!! Yes, that would have been so much worse!
      We survived Gilles’ driving on the right in Australia, but it was touch-and-go a few times. He really struggled with the concept of driving on the opposite side. It wasn’t pretty and I aged prematurely on that trip 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Ally Bean says:

    These hills with curvy roads make me worry for the safety of all those Greek cats. But your photos are gorgeous, so maybe I’ll focus on them instead of the fate of the cats.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      It’s interesting you should mention that. I’m used to seeing a lot of roadkill in the city – but in the form of squirrels and raccoons.

      There were just too many cats as roadkill in our travels. I appreciate it comes with the numbers, but It still bothered me 😕

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I’d be a terrible backseat driver too, Joanne. Those memorials are one thing but passing on blind curves? Yikes. It’s scary just to read this! BTW – are you home safe and sound now so I don’t have to worry about you?

    Liked by 1 person

  22. C.E.Robinson says:

    Joanne, I remember back in the late 70 s driving those horrendous winding roads in
    Greece, and the drifting drivers in and around a Athens. Strange, the memorials don’t stand out in my mind. Not sure if they would be a reminder to drive carefully. With the newer, safer cars nowadays in the US, I’m not the extreme watchful passenger. I do monitor speed limits and mention stretches of road where police cars hide! Here in CA there’s a huge texting while driving problem. We pick them out on the road and stay clear! Really enjoy your posts about Greece. Brings me right back there. 🌷 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Thanks Christine. I’m glad I could help trigger some good memories 🙂

      Texting and driving is a big problem everywhere. It is illegal here and the penalties are pretty hefty – almost $500 and 3 demerit points – but it doesn’t stop people. The reality is that unless you cause an accident, the chances of getting stopped and charged are pretty slim 😕

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Anabel Marsh says:

    Oh, I remember these shrines and the terrifying driving – seems nothing has changed in 30+ years. I also do the gasping thing and I’m a seat clutcher too. I think it’s because i’m a more cautious driver than John and would be reacting much sooner to what’s ahead. He might disagree, but that’s my excuse and i’m sticking to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      hahahaha!! We’re kindred spirits 🙂

      Too many innocent people get killed on the roads because someone else was drunk / texting / fell asleep / etc. It scares me to the core and adding in the challenging terrain doesn’t help.

      I often complain about Toronto drivers, but now I’m appreciating them as being pretty tame!!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. It’s funny is a kind of macabre sort of way.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Murphy's Law says:

    Yikes! These roadside memorials are creepy and morbid. Clearly they aren’t deterring reckless driving because, as you say, they seem to be growing in number. A few flowers, a cross, ok. But the victims of these accidents I assume are buried in a cemetery with a headstone or plaque marking their resting place. Overkill….no pun intended! 😜 A donation to a charity “in memory of…” would be nice!!

    —-Ginger—–

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Susanne says:

    I’ve driven on some hairy mountain roads in BC, including logging roads. Not fun. I’m definitely like you in the backseat driver (or passenger) camp – a motor mouth. I’m constantly telling my husband to slow down!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      So many women have commented on the same problem. Now I’m starting to wonder if it’s because we’re used to driving ourselves, and then when we’re required to be a passenger, it’s really uncomfortable.

      I suspect men generally don’t have the same problem because they’re almost always in the driver’s seat. On those very rare occasions I’m driving and my husband is a passenger – he falls asleep within minutes. I COULD NEVER SLEEP IN A CAR!!

      Like

  27. Su Leslie says:

    I am loving your posts about this trip Joanne. I haven’t been to Greece and appreciate you sharing it. I am however re-evaluating my desire to visit, certainly to be a car passenger (there’s no chance of me driving there — ever). I’m like you, an involuntarily nervous passenger, and it drives T crazy. I’ll join the consensus and say I find these memorials sad and disturbing, and clearly ineffective as road safety messages.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      All of us nervous passengers need to unite!

      On a positive side note, I usually grind my teeth at the traffic in Toronto. Now, in comparison, I think it’s a cake walk. This is TAME!

      Please don’t let this discourage you from someday going to Greece. It is an astounding place if you love history. We both live in very young ‘baby’ country. Visiting the seat of ‘modern civilization’ is mind-bending.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Su Leslie says:

        Thanks Joanne. I do want to visit Greece one day. It’s one of the places I kick myself for not going to while I lived in the UK!
        Traffic here is increasingly bad — and with Christmas round the corner people are even more stressed and crazy. But at least the roads in Auckland are good, and if I travel at the right time (5am is good), I can avoid the crazy drivers. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  28. JT Twissel says:

    I’m no fun to drive with either! Especially on curvy mountain roads.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Helen C says:

    Another interesting post, Joanne. I wonder who owns the land by the road? Did they pay someone to have that piece of land, no matter how small it is?
    Your story reminds me of my Ireland trip. The roads are narrower. Even though I sat in the back, I had to close my eyes several times.
    Have a wonderful day.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. joey says:

    The memorials are lovely. That little house is particularly sweet.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Yikes! I don’t know if I’d just close my eyes (not as the driver) or try to keep them solely on the view and not on the road. Those memorials are lovely but eerie… and apparently not very effective.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      I think I have serious control issues – like, if I don’t have my eyes glued to the road watching every possible obstacle, we will surely die in a crash.
      I’ve tried sightseeing and not watching the road, but in fact it makes it worse.

      I’m a real treat to drive with 😳

      Liked by 1 person

  32. prior.. says:

    you are right – we usually have flowers and maybe a cross – sometimes a sign for a trooper – but these memorials are so different and maybe it does help slow some folks down – not all – and maybe it reminds folks of their mortality.
    we see a lot of bad drivers on the highway – going way too fast or crossing three lanes (while going way too fast) and just being so careless – ugh – but how the more nerve wracking when on such mountainous roads – yikes

    Liked by 1 person

  33. www.retirementreflections.com says:

    “Random involuntary gasps of terror”? We would make well-matched driving companions!

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Tippy Gnu says:

    I wonder how many deadly wrecks have been caused in Greece, when drivers have veered slightly off the road and struck a memorial?

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I think more effective ‘memorials’ are where they leave the twisted metal of the vehicle as a message – I’ve seen that a few places. Your take on Greece is unique but I’m not surprised 😊.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. I am a terrible backseat driver. I’d be a wreck, at least emotionally if I were to travel those roads.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Very interesting in a good and a bad way – nice reminder to drive carefully but pretty morbid. The only thing of late that I understand less is the memorial bumper sticker that states it is in memory of so and so with the dates and kind words. Really? Do any of us aspire to be remembered on the back end of a vehicle. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      I’m glad you mentioned it, Judy, because I find them really morbid too.

      At first I wasn’t even really sure what they were. The contents of the first few we stopped at didn’t give any clue as to what they were – except some kind of little chapel. The fact I couldn’t read Greek was also a factor.
      … but then I encountered one that left no doubt and it really rattled me. It was full of photos of a young man, likely in his 20s – including his wedding photo.
      At that point I no longer wanted to stop and look when I saw a new unusual one 😕

      Liked by 1 person

  38. bikerchick57 says:

    It seems strange that they would erect permanent memorials and continue to drive in such a manner. I would not enjoy driving on those roads.

    You remind me of my mom. She would gasp at other cars and scare me half to death. Her response was always, “I didn’t think they were going to stop.” I would respond, “Mom, that car was a mile away. Stop it!”

    Liked by 1 person

  39. loisajay says:

    I would think going for a Sunday drive might be both nerve wracking and morbid?

    Liked by 2 people

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