The European Adventure … Part 4 – Becky Bye

Day Four- Saturday 24th July- Ferry Crossing from Greece to Italy

The day began with what could have potentially been a disaster, in that none of our alarms went off for our 6am start in order to make our trek towards Italy! Luckily, Lexi’s uncomfortable sleeping place on the balcony meant that she was naturally awake in time!

After packing and re-packing our enormous rucksacks, we left the hostel. We reached the end of the road and met a nice Australian girl who needed to get to the metro station the same as us, so we teamed up to make a taxi cheaper. Unfortunately, the nearest taxi which appeared was up a steep hill, so, rucksack in tow, I took it upon myself to attempt to sprint to hail it down. I think the ridiculousness of the sight of a 5’1 blonde girl running up the hill with a giant rucksack was more likely the cause of the taxi pulling over for us, rather than my shouting and waving arms! The 5 of us piled in the taxi, with me once again drawing the short straw and having to sit on Hannah’s lap so that there was room for the Australian girl. Needless to say, driving rules that we have in England do not seem to apply in Greece!

After a taxi ride, 3 metro stops and a bus, we arrived at the main bus station, where we were to get a coach to take us to the ferry port, where we could get the ferry to Italy. The success of our travels so far was quickly tainted, when Kat and I used the bathrooms at the bus station, only to discover that we had to squat into what can only be described as a shower tray with a hole in the middle! (We came to realise that this travelling lark was not for the faint hearted!)

We had a brief moment of panic when the wrong bus pulled up at the wrong platform, but we eventually made it onto the correct coach, where once again our best friend air conditioning was waiting for us!

Flitting glimpses of the sea sparkling against the horizon flew past the coach windows, and after only a couple of hours, we were in Patras along the Greek coast. We soon boarded the ferry and were in awe of the lavish interior of the boat! We were booked into couchette rooms consisting of 6 bunks, 3 against each wall, where we would spend that night during the 26 hour ferry ride to Italy.

Settling down in the ferry lounge, it wasn’t long before the cocktails started flowing and the gentle bobbing of the ferry as it danced across the ocean was more than enough to make us feel relaxed. We had rather an extravagant dinner of bread, wine, salad, and stuffed chicken thighs, (as we came to realise that we were definitely not traditional backpackers!) and headed back up to our couchettes. Yet again I drew the short straw, as a foreign woman had stolen my bunk, and pulled across the curtains for a little nap! I was too stunned to laugh, whilst Hannah, Lexi and Kat rolled around hysterically, gasping for breath! I reported the stolen bed incident to the reception, beginning to think that I would actually have to sleep on deck that night, only to be told calmly that ‘she hoped the woman would be polite enough to move, but that there was nothing herself or the staff could do about the situation!’ Returning dumbfounded to the couchettes, to still find the other three rolling around laughing, I politely asked the woman to move, which thankfully she did and invaded one of the adjacent rooms!

It was an odd night’s sleep with the humming of the boat’s engine shaking the bunks and a rather large waves occasionally making me roll over in the bunk! But nonetheless a better night’s sleep than any of us was able to achieve in the fiery pit of Athens!

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