6.4.08

Ferry to Paros


Planning to get up early at any time is difficult for some people. For me its usually a piece of chocolate cake, especially when I have something exciting to do, as I did today.

At this moment I am aboard the Blue Star Ferrie "Blue Star Paros" preparing for departure for the island of Paros.

When I finally arose from my slumber this morning I checked out, again, gave the owner of the hostel my sheets and blanket and then headed for Monastiraki metro station. The walk took me at least 45 minutes as I tried to remember my way down the thin and Greek language named streets. As I made it, I purchased a ticket for €0.80 and then grabbed the train to Pireas.

After 7 stops, I minded the gap and left the platform. I made my way to the exit and saw for the first time the inner harbor, laden with cruise and ferry ships. With thoughts (worries) in my mind about getting a ferry ticket, I ducked in the first travel agency booth I saw and waited. The middle aged Greecian man running the desk was on the phone, with another phone ringing the entire time. As he paused from one call, I said "English," to which he said, "English yes, yes,." At that moment I asked him if I could get the cheapest ferry ticket possible to Paros. He told me there was a ticket for 5:30 p.m., later than I wanted but I bought it for €29 along with a return from Paros for tomorrow morning.

After that, my mission was accomplished so I decided to wander down the busy main street that ran parallel to the harbor. The street was buzzing with traffic and the sidewalk wasn't any less busy, as mopeds will cut through sidewalks whenver they see right, bringing back memories of Florence and Rome. I ducked into a McDonald's, as I do in every country to see what they had special on the menu. Offered at this McDonald's was a shrimp burger as well as a "farm" burger and beer on tap, as usual. The patrons were all smoking inside, heavily and it made me think of how restaurants used to be everywhere.

After leaving, i headed down the street adjacent to the McDonald's, busy with a daily market I had read about in my "Top 10 Athens" travel guide. The market offered mostly produce, which is never a disappointment, along with screaming booth owner's advertising their "superior" fruits and veggies. After passing most of the produce dealers I turned left into a warehouse-looking part of the market that was full of men with white aprons stained in blood. Ok, ok, the blood was from the meat they were selling and like in all countries in Europe the displays are not modest. Whole skinned lamb hung from each booth along side displays of freshly cut port and sausages.

After passing through the warehouse that reiched of death, I took in a fresh breath of air and turned left to looked at all the vendors selling flowers, some real and some fake. I wandered a bit more after that grabbing another Gyro along the way for €2.30, the most expensive and worst yet, and then I walked back towards the docks. I had close to 5 hours before my departure and my back was hurting from my backpack that seems to get heavier every day. So, doing my best Otis Redding impersonation, I plopped down and whistled his tune in my head.

The breeze was blowing in from the sea and the sun was out shining, while I sat in shirt sleeves soaking up the rays, which I'm sure I will have to wait on at least another month back home. At that moment I realized how truly incredible it was that I was sitting on the main dock of Pireas, Athens, Greece. Four months ago, I never would have dreamed I'd be here.

After my break, slid my arms through the straps of my pack, grabbed my camera case and headed back to where I had come from. After grabbing a bottle of water from a lady that had to point out how much I owed her for it, I continued on, walking down some of the same streets I had walked earlier. I settled down close to where my ferry would be coming into port at 3:00 p.m. about 2:15 p.m. and layed out once again on my outstretched sweatshirt, leaning my head against my pack, while soaking up the rays.

As my ferry came into port about 3:00 p.m. I followed it along the dock until it backed up and all the passengers came spilling out. After I watched the unorganized mess of people leave the ferry I made my way back up into town.

Wandering and wondering what the words on the signs meant. I thought, there might be something I really want in one of these shops but with them only using “their” language there is no possible way I would ever know.

(I got up at this point in typing because I headed outside)

As 4 p.m. drew close I headed back toward the ship and boarded once I got there. I toured like I’d never been on a ship before and to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever been on a ship this big before. Unlike all of you out there who have been on a cruise or cruises. But, lets just call it even as I’m in Greece, on the Aegean Sea right now.

I made my way to the top deck and took a seat, noticed there were four American girls close by so I left. The other day I met some American’s and they couldn’t believe I was American, they said when I started talking to them they thought I was from Europe. So, to all of you, if I’m different, be prepared.

The ship was not to leave port until 5:30 p.m. therefore, I had plenty of more time to sit in the sun and get add to my sunburn that I just noticed I slightly have. In the mean time, I sat, read my book and listened to my iPod.

As the ship left port, I stood and did the camera switch (note; you must have read the previous entry) before I waved at a man standing by the lighthouse point just before we left the harbor. And, guess what; he waved back.

4 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Nathan,Greece sounds wonderfuly warm.How was the Island , Did you walk on the beach for me.Thanks again for sharing your stories with us back home, see You in 2 days were on the count down.Love Mom and Dad

Anonymous said...

Sounds absolutely amazing, glad that you where able to find some sunshine, the weather in London didn't look too inviting...are you going to try something besides Gyros???? Look for Dolmades, my friends from Greece, their mother used to make it for me, rice, meat and tomatoes rolled in grape leaves and baked, similar to a cabbage roll, they are wonderful!!You should also try some Saganaki- flaming cheese yummy!! have fun Heather

Anonymous said...

PS....why not olives and feta cheese and bread for your lunch instead of Micky D's, Im sure your Market had those too.....Im sorry I just loooooove greek food!

Paroshep said...

Hmmm, I'm confused. You describe the ferry to Paros but said your ticket was for Poros.

What's appropriate is in my travel advice for how easy it is to get from the Athens airport to Paros I often say: "The only possible difficulty is buying a ticket to Poros instead of Paros, as I once almost did."

Enjoy your journey!

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