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Friday, August 27, 2010

NEVER TAKE FOR GRANTED WHAT YOU ARE TOLD IS NECESSARILY ACCURATE

View of Pythagoria

It's pretty usual here in Greece to get mis-information from the locals and even from tourism people when you ask directions. Often it's a shrug, meaning "I don't know" or it's a wave of the hand and something like "10 meters down the road..."  etc.  This was info given to me when I arrived at Pythagorian on my quest to visit archaeological sites.  I was told I could walk to the tunnel (she neglected to say it was all uphill and 2 ks) and at Ireion I was told I could walk 'down the road' to the Temple, but there were no markings on that road she indicated. I would have done well right from the start to take Inka's advice and take cabs to where I wanted to get to. It would have been worth the euros and I'd have seen what I went to see in a more leisurely fashion.

Inka and I noticed the first day we arrived at Samos that the girl in the travel/ticket agency didn't seem to have a clue about the most common of sites we wanted info on, the temple of Hera.  She claimed there was no bus to Ireion (which there is) and was very vague about any information we requested.  She told me the boats were all full til Thursday so I booked a ticket for then.  I noticed later that the ticket was illegible, so the night before my departure I went to the ticket office to check if the time marked was "8" or "9".  "Nine" she said, and explained the ticket printer hadn't been working very well.  The tickets are always marked with the name of the vessel you are to sail on, as well.

As always, I got to the port well in advance. I'd noticed a big Naxos Mykonos ferry pull into the port at 8 am and there was a crowd waiting to board it.  By my ticket had a different vessel name printed on it so I was waiting for another boat to arrive, thinking I was on a different ferry line.  When it drew near to 9 am and no other ferry or other passengers appeared, I finally asked the port police and she said "That is your ferry! And you have 5 minutes to board!"  So I had to make a run for it lugging all my baggage and just made it on time. But I was so upset by this mishap that I was really shaken up.  Fortunately, for a change, the ships stewards were helpful with my luggage as in many cases they are surly and unhelpful.  I found a nice chair on deck and planted myself there for the entire 10 hour voyage.

Karlovassi, Samos

The trip back to Pireaus was pleasant, with the ship stopping at several islands including one sweet little unknown place that reminded me so much of Lala. And later a stop at Ikaria, the island where Ikarus wings melted and he fell into the sea.

We arrived at Pireaus at 7.30 and I discovered that we were at a part of the port that I had never seen before, quite a long distance from the main port.  There were no direction given and if anyone has ever been on those ferries you know what a mob scene it is getting luggage and disembarking.  I began to trudge along with my (far too heavy) baggage trying to find my way off the docks to the main street but each time I asked directions I got a shrug or a vague answer.  There was a young woman with a child and two big heavy pull-alongs trying to find her way too. I eventually lost track of her and felt so sorry I couldn't help her.  At last I asked another man who said something about a bus, and then I found a young woman who said yes, she was waiting for the bus.  Apparently there is a bus to transport you to the main port like there is at the airport.

So I finally got to the main street, thanks to this  young lady who gave me a helping hand, and then I somehow managed to find a phone to call Carol, got on the metro and headed for Petrolana station where she'd meet me.  I set my bag of souvenirs (and camera) down on the seat to put on my backpack and organize my pull-along with the camping gear and thank god I snapped to just in time to realize it was there otherwise I'd have left it on the train!

Anyway, I got off the train okay and there was Carol waiting for me. She has been so helpful and generous and I truly appreciated this as I was very exhausted from the travel and hassles by then.  So here I am safely in Athens again and waiting to hook up with my girlfriends.  So look for a few more adventures (though no more ferries on this trip!)

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