Cows in the Funhouse
And I Walked Into India
My Very Own Personal Armed Guard
Dance Party in Esfahan
And onto Tehran
First Day in Iran
Crossing the Border into Iran
A Travel Companion for Iran
From Greece to Turkey
November 10, 2003
From Greece to Turkey
Because of packing and saying goodbyes, it took me longer than I had thought to be ready to go, but ready I finally became. With my backpack on, I walked out the door and took the Metro to the port city of Piraeus and got on the overnight ferry for the island of Chios. From there I'd take a smaller boat for the 45-minute stretch to Turkey and start my trip overland to India.
On the boat I went to the highest deck and as the sun set warm behind me, I watched the white urban sweep of Athens shrink away as the dark blue waters of the Aegean Sea grew larger and larger until all there was ocean, thick and dark around me. Athens was a glimmer of lights on the horizon and a memory away.
Because this was an overnight journey, and because I didn't reserve a room due to my shoestring budget, I found an empty place on the floor to sleep for the next six hours, until the boat’s docking at Chios at four in the morning. I suddenly woke up at 4:30 and jumped up to see the coastline of Chios fading away. I was told that we had just pulled out of the harbor and wouldn't dock again until Lesbos, an island that was three hours away, and that I wouldn't be able to get back to Chios until ten that night. I missed a connection my first day of traveling! At that point, I didn’t think I’d ever get out of Europe!
I sank down on the floor and buried my face into my hands. What to do? There was nothing I could do but wait. Oh well, so it goes. Normally, it wouldn’t matter if I was a day late in my travels, but because the Muslim holy month of Ramadan was starting in four weeks, I wanted to get through Iran and Pakistan before it began. I was looking forward to travelling through these countries, but figured that it’d be a more pleasant experience if everyone wasn’t hungry and holy. Once I got to India, I’d have three months to travel through the country at a relaxed pace, but was in a bit of a hurry to get there.
So it goes, I spent the day on the island of Lesbos, which proved to be an interesting experience and also proved to me when travelling, mishaps can turn out to be happy mishaps. Lesbos is the island of Sappho where lesbians come and pay tribute to history's leading lesbian. There was even a hotel named "Hotel Lesbian" and shops selling various pro-Sappho souvenirs in bad English such as T-shirts that read “Lesbians Living For All Days” and “Loving Girl Is True”. So though I was a day behind in my travels, in the end it didn’t bother me much as I found enough entertainment on Sappho to last me until the next boat came for Chios.
I spent the night in Chios and the next morning sailed to Turkey on a boat filled with chattering and excited Korean holidaymakers. On windy and rocky seas, I made it to the port town of Cesme and then bussed it to the cool seaside town of Izmir, birthplace of Homer and home to Turkey’s best bazaar; a labrynthe of stalls and alcoves selling anything you could possibly imagine in the world. If it wasn’t in the bazaar of Izmir, then it probably didn’t exist.
Because Turkey is the official start of Asia, I am no longer in Europe. My trip has begun. And finally!!
Posted by Tina on November 10, 2003 11:13 AM
Category: The journey