Santorini to Venice
26.06.2007 27 °C
Leaving our campsite on the shuttle late Sunday night we met Tim, a very well travelled Aussie and Angela from NZ. It was great to compare stories and photos of the Greek Islands as we leave this wonderful part of the world.
The first overnight ferry ride was spent in reclining lounge chairs between Santorini and Athens. Although not entirely the most comfortable it was good to get a bit of rest before hitting Pireaus and Athens. Saying our farewells to Tim and Angela we headed into our well known region of Plaka to set up for a day of internet, postage packaging, MacDonalds lunch and getting lost trying to find the bus station. In the end the subway was necessary to make our was to the train stop for Patrai on the opposite side of Greece.
Steve fell fast asleep on the station leaving Camilla with the noddies and the daunting task of staying awake. Finally we got into some comfortable seats and sat back listening to the lost French tour group making their way to Corinth. Unfortunately, even with the greatest of patience Steve set up the camera to take a shot of the Corinth channel linking the sounthern and northern seas of Greece through the narrow stretch of land. In an instant this milestone pasts unphotographed and we got off only minutes later for the final 3 hour train ride to the port.
Diligently Steve past the time reading aloud to a very grateful Camilla on a train that could have been mistaken for jumping the tracks and driving full pelt down the worst bumpy dirt road. Surprisingly neither of us were sick and we remained on the tracks pulling into Patrai. It is funny revisiting locations like Athens or Patrai as we know the orientation of the towns and feel immediately more comfortable.
So comfortable infact that we could not think of anything better to do than hang out at the closest Cafe Restaurant for over 3.5 hours reading (Dan Brown is very additictive), eating American sized burgers and to polish it off the bar tender took pity on us at 11pm and gave us each a free coffee liquer (just the right price!).
Shipping two weary travellers from Patrai to Venice was as easy as climbing aboard the enormous sea ferry at midnight and being directed to the top deck. When we re-read the ticket it clearly indicated deck passage, which for the previous boats has meant a comfortable reclined chair however on Anek Lines it literally means deck passage. Setting up camp (no tent required) Camilla found a niche underneath a fixed table and an unused fridge. Fortifying our territory with plastic chairs it was almost 1 am before the mattresses were inflated and we were settled. If it weren't for deck showers we may have been charged with violating some sort of international ocean passage regulation.
To our amusement, early the following morning an young American girl (without tour group - please read between the lines) was entirely disillussioned when we happily informed her that we would not be arriving in 1 hour but that Venice was a mere 25 hours away. Totally shocked she exclaimed 'I have a booking in Venice today' as if someone here could help...
The day on deck passed as follows, eat, snooze, read, stretch, eat, tea, tea, tea, finished book, analysed book, eat, tea, cards, tea, sleep. It was fun watching the pool on the back deck materialise out of nothing, get filled with seawater, used by those who are warmblooded and then emptied before any lowly deck passengers could drown in it.
Arriving in Venice by boat is one of the greatest introductions to a city we have experienced so far. While we remain vigilant not to judge a city by its bus or train station and surrrounding suburbs this rule does not apply when we were watching the Lido materialise out of the morning mist to starboard and the grand canal open up on port in the breaking daylight.
Look out Venice, here we come.