BootsnAll Travel Network

Greece Makes It All Better

Written at 5:45PM, 9-25-06 in Corfu, Greece

The ferry trip was not all bad, but it was mostly bad. I think Jacob had the worse time. Allow me to explain.

Because our ticket was free through Eurail (although we still paid 24 euros in “tax”—lame) we were to stay on “Deck.” Now true to everything in my last blog, no one ever explicitly said what this meant. All the ferry’s “floors” were called “decks.” Does that mean we can go and stay anywhere? Well, in the beginning, we decided to play it safe.

After arriving on the ferry, we went to the top deck where there were a bunch of plastic lounge chairs and an empty swimming pool. All the tables were taken and all the recliners were taken. Jacob and I tried to sit in the bar area, only to get chased out by a man who looked like just about the meanest person I’d ever seen. We retreated up to a floor that overlooked the pool. We carried up a few of the white plastic chairs and tried to get comfortable.

I was exhausted and managed to make myself a little nest out of my clothes. I ended up sleeping a lot on the ferry, which I assume was possible only because I was sick (and because of a little thing called Tylenol PM. I slept for a couple hours while Jacob went and explored the ferry. When I awoke, he told me that he’d found some possible places to sleep. We were still pretty unsure where we were allowed to sleep, but I was certainly not going to sleep on the top deck if I could avoid it.

We walked around the ferry a bit and then settled in at a place with some relatively soft chairs and a power outlet. This allowed me to finally charge my computer (the hostel in Venice didn’t have a single available outlet except in the bathroom). Jacob worked with some of his pictures on my computer while I did some reading. We had decided to eat dinner on the ferry as late as possible because we didn’t want to have to buy more food in the morning. The food prices were expensive, though they were about the same as Venice, which had very expensive food.

I should mention that the ferry ride from Venice to Corfu was to be roughly 24 hours. At least, we thought it was going to be 24 hours. In fact, it was 23, due to a time change. This time change figured into a very unfortunate incident. As “8:30” rolled around, Jacob was getting very hungry. We decided to go into the restaurant in shifts so one of us could watch the stuff. Well, at about “9:00” they shut the doors. A few minutes later, Jacob exited.

What we had neglected was that the time change would come into effect when we boarded the ferry. Thus, the restaurant closed at 9:00 to us and 10:00 to the ferry. It seemed I was going to go hungry.

We were located next to a little store, and though I was loath to eat poorly when I was feeling sick, I didn’t really see any choice. My dinner therefore consisted of some chocolate cookies, a can of coca cola, peanuts (salted), and a few of these poppy-seed crackers. Yum yum. The food (particularly the peanuts) actually filled me up pretty well.

The manager of this store deserves mention. We’d been forced to listen to him for about an hour and had decided that he was basically a prick. I don’t think I’ve ever seen worse customer service. He was pushy and unwilling to explain anything, and when he did, it was about as painful as pulling out teeth. I didn’t have any problem with this guy when I bought food, except that he rather rudely wouldn’t except my ten dollar bill and made me find change so he wouldn’t have to dole out as much change back. Jacob, on the other hand, had an experience with this guy that soured him for the rest of the night. He went to buy some snacks and after this man rang up the snacks, he crumpled up the receipt and said five euros. Well, it wasn’t five euros, it was 4.95, but Jacob called him on it, saying that he owed him change and that he wanted to see his receipt. The man was apparently none-too-pleased about this, but gave him his change. I think it was kind of the final straw for Jacob.

Fortunately, the guy closed up shop pretty soon and we were left to ourselves. I did some reading and Jacob worked with his pictures. Eventually as things quieted down around the ferry, we watched some stand-up comedy on my computer. We figured that it’d be loud in the morning so we may as well get to sleep. We set up the chairs around us, forming a wall between passing people and our “sleeping quarters.” I popped a couple Tylenol PM and settled into my clothing-made nest. It took an hour or two to fall asleep, but once I was asleep, I slept very, very well.

Jacob didn’t sleep so well, and when I awoke in the morning, he was gone. He’d been off around the ferry and eventually came back. He explained that he’d slept only a couple hours and that it was too hot below deck. I said we could move up, but first I wanted to get some breakfast.

I indulged. After a cheap and meager dinner, I decided to spend whatever it took to fill me up. And it took 12 euros. Expensive, yes, but I felt so so so much better. Unfortunately, despite this rejuvenation, my throat continued to hurt and it felt as though the sickness had moved down toward my chest.

We moved upstairs to the deck at around 8AM, and by this time, I was already getting sleepy again. I guess I never really was unsleepy, except to say that my need for a real meal outweighed my need for more sleep. It was already fairly warm on the ferry’s top deck, so I felt quite content to wrap myself back up in my bedliner and go promptly back to sleep—which I did. I woke up off and on, though perhaps on more than three times over the course of the morning. I managed to sleep on my back, which saved me a vast amount of discomfort. (It’s much more comfortable to lay on your back on a hard surface rather than on your side). Jacob tried to sleep, but had little more luck than before.

By the time I got up, Greece was in sight. The Island of Corfu lay on our right and the Grecian mainland on our left. The water sparkled blue and the sky was devoid of clouds. It was beautiful and a wonderful change from the past day’s troubles. We took pictures and enjoyed the sites until the ferry’s announcer came on and told those departing at Corfu to make their way down to the exit.

It was only on the second announcement that we actually started down. Only we couldn’t find the bloody exit! We went to the garage level, but the place was too jam packed full of cars to get through. We went to the next garage level and managed to find someone who gestured where we should go. By the time we got to the ramp, there were people down on the docks gesturing frantically that we should hurry. Not more than ten seconds after we were off the boat on the dock, the ferry’s enormous metal door started lifting. In other words, if we’d been a minute later, we’d have been stuck on the ferry as it headed toward the Grecian mainland. The main reason we couldn’t find the exit is that there were, once again, no signs. No “EXIT” or anything. I can’t imagine what would have happened if we’d have needed to get off in case of an emergency.

Jacob made all the reservations for the hostel in Corfu and had requested that there be someone to pick us up from the docks. Only, when we got off, there was no one there. We looked around for any indication of Sun Rock Hostel, but we found none. Instead, someone drove up in a car from the Pink Palace and harassed us. Pink Palace is the most well-known hostel in Corfu and is renown for its party-sex-drinking atmosphere. Fun, but not really our style. We told the lady politely that we were staying at Sun Rock. She drove off, but then as we wandered down the docks a little, she came back, looking smug. She seemed to think that we would prefer Pink Palace after not being picked up by our hostel, but then after we told her we’d already paid, it took care of things.

We found a phone booth and called our hostel. They said they would send someone right away. We didn’t have to wait long. Apparently whoever was meant to pick us up was nearby, because it wasn’t ten minutes before the van arrived.

It was cool. So Sun Rock hostel is a family run hostel and consequently, we ended up driving the 10km back to the hostel in the van with the hostel’s two proprietors, a man and woman, as well as their two children. One of the kids spent almost the whole car ride explaining all about the card game, Yu-Gi-Oh, to Jacob.

The hostel itself is quaint. A couple minutes from a secluded beach, it offers a nice friendly atmosphere. Breakfast and dinner are part of the price and are served at 1PM and just after Sunset. Who ever heard of breakfast at 1PM? I’m not going to complain though. Most of the produce is grown here and the hostel, inside and outside, are tended by other young people who live here. Jacob and I have our own room and are paying less than I have at almost any other hostel. There’s wireless internet access, which means I’ll be able to repost all my blogs—that is, if I don’t spend all my time basking in the sun and swimming in the beautiful blue waters. It’s just about time for dinner now, though, so I’ve got to be going. More to come soon…

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