8/12/08 - 8/13/08
On our first ferry ride they actually sold us tickets for plastic lawn chairs on the outside deck. You heard me right, they sell you tickets to sit in those seats. Did i mention they are plastic and outside. The ride was overnight and 14 hours. Now I realize they see the backpacks and think are willing to rough it but they do not know who they are dealing with. We like fancy things and this was just not going to do for us. We only brought backpacks because the thought of rolling a suitcase over cobble stone roads and up many flights of stairs seemed the far worse evil than the backpack.
People actually just slept on the floor wherever they could get space - inside or outside on the deck. We don't think so - puhleeeassee!
btw - that leg of the trip we upgraded to a cabin with bunk beds and private bathroom. Not ashamed at all...
Throughout this entire vacation we have had some long travels, Italy to Greece, boats throughout the Greek Islands, lots of buses and trains. The journey that we are currently on might just be our longest to date, our trip from Ios to Istanbul. We started out in Ios, the pretty Greek Island with the Italian resort. From there we took a ferry to Pireaus, which is the port city just outside of Athens. That trip in and of itself took us about 11 hours. Luckily we ended up on a somewhat nicer boat this time, and managed to score some plush club chairs near a tv so we could watch the Olympics.
Once the boat docked in Piraeaus, we made a made dash to a cab, as we were running a little late for our train connection. We hopped in a cab, and took a half hour ride to the Athens train station, where within 20 min. we were on a train to Thessaloniki in Northern Greece. The train was fully booked and an overnight ride which was 7 hours long, midnight to 7am. With her natural chutzpah when it comes to getting things for free, Devin swooped in and scored us a cabin with beds that we got at a discount cause of our Eurorail passes. We immediately fell asleep and woke up in Thessaloniki.
Now mind you, that in all of these travel plans, we kept asking people how to get to Istanbul, which trains were going to Turkey, etc. Some people may or may not be aware of the history between Greece and Turkey, but basically they're not so fond of each other. Therefore, every single person that we asked about travel between the two countries either met us with silence or said you could only fly. Therefore with a somewhat outdated guidebook and our geography skills to guide us, we decided to just keep working our way up through Greece towards Istanbul.
So, from Thessaloniki we got on another train, a VERY hot, sweaty, uncomfortable train, for 7 hours to Alexandropoulos, a small college town near the Turkish border. We were under the impression that from there we'd immediately jump onto another train to Turkey, but the conductor at the station informed us that we had to wait till midnight (it was 2pm at this point) for the next train which was overnight to Istanbul. But, luckily, we scored another cabin for this one and while we relax in Alexandropoulos right now, we excitedly await our midnight train to Turkey.