So for the next week we have no idea what we’re doing yet, just that we’re going to Greece. We want to visit Athens, Crete, and Santorini…but not necessarily in that order. In order to get there we’re taking a 32 hour ferry from Venice, Italy to Patras, Greece. We’re almost there; we should be pulling into port within the next 30 minutes or so. Let’s just say it was interesting…the tale of two days…cruise or ferry?…to sail or not to sail?…I had a tough time deciding on the title of this entry. Day one: we arrived 3 hours before departure because that’s what we were told to do by the ferry employee we talked to on the phone. The ferry is definitely more than just one of those tour boats you take through Chicago or London, but definitely not a Royal Caribbean monstrosity. All we get with our EURail passes is deck passage for 16 euros per person…what did that mean? We weren’t quite sure at the time…over 30 hours removed from setting sail we have a much clearer picture of what this meant. We thought to ourselves as we walked onboard, surely deck passage doesn’t just mean you get on the boat and that’s it? Well, that IS basically it. If you don’t have a cabin reserved it’s a free-for-all to claim all deck furniture as your property for the next 32 hours. We, unfortunately, innocently sat in one of the lounge areas on the main floor as all the good spots on the deck were claimed. Literally it’s like junior high where the rule of “dibs” reigns supreme as the only form of structure and government. As soon as you place an article of clothing, a piece of luggage, or your body on a chair or deck lounger…you have claimed that land as your own…like the great land rushes in the 1800s (what’s that Tom Cruise movie?). So with that in mind…we had nothing to call a home at the onset, but managed to scrape together two loungers and two chairs after a couple of hours…our main problem still loomed over our heads, our location was right out in the open where Mediterranean winds incessantly whipped through the deck…I should note that the weather was cloudy, windy, and not too pleasant. We spent most of the evening inside roaming the lounge areas, playing cards, and once we found an outlet we watched a few episodes of My Name is Earl. (we had to endure many unpleasant glares from the lounge waiters b/c we were taking up valuable customer space). By 10:30 pm it was time to face our fears: sleeping on a lounge chair, outside, on a boat deck, with no blankets at all. I’d be lying if I said it was an enjoyable experience, but with the help of some earplugs and a sleep-aid we braved the windy night and stayed relatively unconscious until the sun came up again.
Day two, much better, good weather, and the premium for land on the deck was greatly reduced after dumping the majority of passengers at the port in Igoumenitsa around noon. Yesterday I was wearing three layers of clothing which included my hoody and jacket, today I’m wearing shorts, sandals, and sunglasses. We met a couple from Australia, hung out with them for a couple of hours on the deck, and exchanged two-person card games…we’ve realized you can only play Speed for so long. Today was much better; I realize I’ve written much less about the good day…but in this case less is more. We should be arriving in Patras in a couple minutes…later.