The blog is not finished! But after the Theft (yes, capital letters), the want/need to update the blog took second fiddle to dealing with the Theft and just finishing the trip sans computer. Since being home, it's been hard to get that motivation to complete it. But I will. Ever so slowly. Please be patient!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

“I would walk 500 miles . . . “

The following takes place on Days 207-210, June 22-25, 2011

I’m going to prologue this with a reminder: Kelly was on a tight schedule. She had her return flight to Saskatoon leaving Rome on July 1st. And with us wanting to see more of Italy than just the Eternal City, it meant having to do a lot of fast, expensive traveling. The start of all this was to get ourselves back up to Athens from Santorini. The cheapest option would be a 9 hour ferry ride. There is an airport on the island but the prices are a bit insane, especially for my budget.

Our end goal for the next few days: Venice, Italy.

Without leaving the surface of the Earth.

The ferry to Athens started off arriving in Santorini nearly an hour behind. When it finally did arrive, Kelly and I scooted aboard and found a quiet corner in the restaurant area to place our bags and just relax for the nine hour ride. With no seat assignment besides what deck we were to be on, we could pick anywhere. It was relatively comfortable and we both agreed that we would have to find the same spot on our next ferry.

The 27 hour ferry from Corfu, Greece to Venice, Italy. It would be horribly uncomfortable otherwise.

We arrived in Athens at the time we expected, an hour late. A pretty simple navigation of the metro got us to our hostel before the sun set. As we were checking in, we noticed a poster promoting a number of different tours. Kelly was particularly interested in the full day trip to Delphi. Unfortunately the hostel only offered that particular one on certain days. Remembering our tour desk at the other hostel in Athens, I suggested we walk there and try.

So we did. And lo and behold, they had a group leaving every day of the week. Kelly immediately signed up for the tour. I opted against it. I had seen more than enough ruins and temples to last me a long while, and the price was a bit higher than I would be willing to pay. Instead, back at the hostel we were booked in, I signed up for the day sailing trip they had available.

IMG_8632The next day then, while Kelly left early in the morning for her tour, I headed to meet the small group that would also be going on the sailing trip with me. Once we were all together, we followed Skipper Chris to the public bus that took us down to the Port of Athens. With the sun bearing down on us, I was already happy to think that I’d be on the water, and in the water, for the majority of the day.

All in all, there were eight of us altogether. I was the only Canadian. The rest were American’s, including one guy who had just finished his second tour in Iraq. Once we had motored out of the harbour, the sails were hoisted and the engines cut. We were sailing. It was my first experience in a real sailboat. Kelly has actually competed on the Provincial Sailing Team for Saskatchewan during the Canada Summer Games and I immediately gained a new respect for her. The boat is tilting so much to the side it looks like it’ll tip right over.

It took two hours to reach the first, and ultimately the last, island on the trip. I couldn’t quiteIMG_8647 understand the terminology being used. Something about either the wind was too strong or too weak for us to see another island and get back to the mainland before dark. Meh, I didn’t care. I jumped off the boat into the crystal clear water and swam to the shore.

We enjoyed a wonderful lunch of grilled fish(little ones that you just eat the whole thing like finger food) and calamari. This was another first for me as I’ve never had calamari before. I was honestly shocked that I enjoyed the taste. It didn’t have that rubbery, fishy taste I feared it would.

When it came time to head back we all took to the water again for the swim to the boat. The majority of us sat on the front of the boat for the entire ride back, soaking up the sun. It made for a great outing.

IMG_8708Our last day in Athens, and Greece in general would be pretty easy. Considering what lay ahead of us, it was probably a good thing too. Kelly and I checked out of our rooms in the hostel and set off to spend the day in the Agora which lies in the shadow of the Acropolis. This is the official birthplace of Democracy, the part of the city that decisions with the public were made. We wandered the site for a couple hours, hopping from shade to shade to stay out of the sun. I was surprised Kelly was not completely blasé about ruins yet.

What surprised me was after we were done when she said we should just go to the hostel and hang out before going to the bus station. Again, another great idea. The bus left Athens at 8pm for Corfu. It arrived in Corfu at 5am. This included an hour and a half hour ferry ride from IMG_8718the mainland port city of Igoumenitsa to Corfu. In Corfu, Kelly and I just had to wait another hour or so to jump on that ferry we mentioned earlier.

And unlike the ferry from Santorini, the restaurant workers were much more strict. “No Bags!!” they yelled at us when we tried to settle in to the same seats we had on the Santorini-Athens ferry. So, dejected, we found a place against the wall on the outside deck, laid out our sleeping bag sacs and towels to make a little campsite and settled in for the long trip across the sea to Northern Italy.

We really should’ve splurged on a bed.

1 comment:

  1. I still say that bus ride was one of the worst travel experiences I have had in my life... It was so hot and cramped :( The ferry was kind of neat. I really did not mind sleeping on the deck it makes for a good story. We slept under the stars :)