Monday, May 30, 2011

I'm On A Boat In The Middle of the Aegean Sea

It’s almost too much to process.

We decided against taking a short plane ride (apparently about an hour) from Athens to Santorini, opting instead for an eight (or, apparently ten, if the guy who hops on the announcements every so often is who you go to for this sort of information). We pass islands pretty regularly, and we’ve made one of our two stops on the way to Santorini, at Paros, which the travel guide we bought (which has all of two pages on Santorini) describes as being easy to explore and having a “trendy fishing village”. I’m not sure what that phrase means. Anytime you say to me that I’m about to enter a “trendy fishing village”, I’m going to stare at you like you’re insane.

We got up to the top deck, which was cold as we set off at 7:30am, but has gotten warmer. We picked a largish table with benches, which people kept walking up to, contemplating and passing until a French couple decided to stop screwing around and sit down. Which is good. I’ve been alternately reading a book (American Gods, which I should have read by now) and attempting to sleep in a variety of ineffective but no doubt hilarious poses. It’s actually a pretty lightly packed boat, so there are a bunch of seats inside in what appears to be the interior of an airplane, but on a boat, which has wall chargers. So I’m writing here.

I had been warned before we left that it’d be hard to actually get to the boat once we were at the port, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at all, really. Getting to the port, however, was entirely different. I thought that it’d be easy. We just take the Red Line from Metaxourghio to Addison Omonia, then transfer to the Green Line which would take us all the way to Piraeus. This didn’t happen. We took the Red Line to Omonia, then hauled our 50-lb suitcase up two sets of stairs to get back to just under street level, where we were informed by a bunch of construction equipment and tape that the Green Line connection was closed. There was probably some warning of this, but it was evidently in Greek, or I was inattentive. There are signs in English everywhere (as well as the metro announcements taking place both in Greek and English), but apparently, I missed it. So we went back down to where we came from and boarded the train back towards Aghios Dimitrios to get to Syntagma, where we could transfer to the blue line, which we would take to Monastiraki, where there was a working Green Line connection according to the guy in the booth at Omonia.

This all miraculously worked, but there was a lot of running and sweating. The Green Line train at Monastiraki hung out at the station for about five minutes (which added to the Panicked Ryan expression I’d had for the past half hour of being on every train that exists), but we were eventually on our way to Piraeus. We went into a ticket office, but not the one that had the tickets we’d purchased, so we ran out to pick up everything near the boat. Happily, there were a bunch of vendors selling bread and donuts so, bread in hand, we boarded.

We’ve got a stop coming up at Naxos (which the guide tells me is the largest of the Cyclades, and which The DK Eyewitness Travel Guide felt was worth two and a half pages) and from there on to Santorini. We’ve already seen some of the white, blue-domed churces on Paros, and Jordan recorded some of the ridiculous disembarkation music that plays when the loading hatch is being opened.

Now, to try for sleep and hope we eventually find Santorini.


Andy Leigh said...

Beautiful. I miss it already.

If I had the means to warn you about the Green line being under construction, I would have let you know. My dad fell victim to the same problem.

-Murphy said...

We didn't see anything going through Omonia on the way to the airport indicating that it was closed, so my guess is that they closed it solely to laugh at silly Americans.

Though now, we all get to note that we successfully worked around confusion on the Athens Metro. I'll gladly mark that as an accomplishment.