Baklava+Backpack=Big Mess.

Trip Start Aug 27, 2007
Trip End Jan 30, 2008

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Flag of Greece  ,
Friday, September 7, 2007

Arriving at the port is chaotic, you come out of the metro and theres the harbor with massive ships docked and lots of them.  A big electronic sign tells you which gate to go to. The boats are so far apart you have to get on a bus to take you to it.  I managed to figure all this out and still with time to spare. I left extra early just to be safe. 
I booked a 4 bed cabin and my roommates was a mother, her teenage daughter and her younger daughter of about 5.  They didn't speak very much English but we were able to communicate a little!  I took a shower, in the dark.. the light didnt work. Then I set off to explore the ship. I was hopefull for fun an excitement when i saw the signs for "disco", "lounge" "bar" etc.  But it soon became aparent thatI was on something more like a floating old smokey Vegas hotel,and not a Carnival Cruise ship. This was my first time on a ship. I walked out on the deck, watching the the bright lights of Athens slowing move further and further away. Looking down at the churning tourquoise water, chatter of "Ever heard of ice fishing? " and "You jump I jump" ran through my head. 
I browsed around every floor and every area and couldn't find a single other backpacker, indeed i seemed like the only tourist. Everyone was Greek!  So I didn't meet anyone to talk to and went to bed early watching an episode of the Sarah Silverman Show on my ipod.
I slepted on and off . Constantly replying another scene, "What was that? I felt a shutter" "It was nothing madam, may i bring you anything?"  this is what's runing through my mind over and over in the middle of the night!! I kept thinking the ship had hit something and we were going down and would I be able to escape or would i drown to death! I have a big fear of death by drowning! Ah this is what I get for watching Titanic 50+ times.
The  ship docked safely at 6am, it was still dark. I boarded the bus to get to the center of town. I sat on a bench to read my guidebook and map. There was a place that claimed was a "backpacker favorite" so that's where I headed.  I probably spent an hour trying to find it, then sat out front for another 2 hours. I watched the town come to life, the sun came up and slowly people came out, sweeping the sidewalks, setting up their shops, the smell of something sweet baking... I didn't mind the wait.  No one ever came to open the place up. A man came by and asked me if i was waiting for this place and he said he's friends with the owner so he called her for me, apparently she's not running that place right now but her other place is available and it was just around the corner so he showed me the way there.  There are no hostels, a few hotels, but mostly pensions, rooms for rent. It was a great room, but a bit expensive on a backpackers budget. 25 Euro when I was paying 13.50 in Athens.  So I declined and went in search of the tourist information office.  After another hour or two of searching i was getting pretty hot and sweaty and was carrying a huge pack on my back and one on my front with guidebook in hand looking like a fool no doubt.  1 old man pointed me in the right direction but I didn't see it.  Finally i heard people speaking English and egearly asked for help! They were a nice couple from Canada and both spoke Greek, they asked directions for me and walked me to the tourist office. 
So relieved I found it, then was told her girl who works there isn't here and to go to some other information place. No way was I walking anymore so i sat down and waited.  She didn't show up for about 20 minutes and it was 10,30 am .  She mentioned she'd be there till 1:30... nice work schedule huh!   She was pretty much no help to me, so I went back to that room I had looked at and just decided to take it.  So that's where I'm staying now and I absolutely love it.  It's the first room when you get up the stairs, I have big window/doors that open up to a little balcony over looking a busy little street with tourist shops. It's like a 30 second walk to the harbor that is beautiful.  I walked all over the town yesterday so much that I don't need to use the map anymore I pretty much know my way around. 
I didn't dress up that night because I planned on getting up early to go for a hike in the Samaria Gorge, it's suposed to be gorgeous, a 10 mile hike that takes 5-6 hours. I've never hiked in my life but I figure nows a good time as ever to start and if bus loads of tourists could do it so could I.  Well I didn't make it up in time. 
I walked around looking for a bar to chill it but there arent many mostly resturants. Someone told me there was one though and I stumbled upon it. It was all military guys from all countries, there is a NATO base here nearby.  I sat at the bar and the guy next to me was from Riverside! He has his own house here with an ocean view and his family owns an Irish pub back home.  I chatted with the bartenders who were Swedish girls. There are so many Scandanavian people here!  I havn't seen any other tourists from other places and usually you run into lots of Brits and Aussies but nope not a one.  Also starting talking to a girl named Courtney from Laguna Niguel ! She is living there now teaching English. 
The owner of this bar was a very friendly flirty old man named Theo! Everyone who came in knew him and had to hug him or shake his hand. He talked to me a long time about traveling in New Zealand, that is where his wife is from. Their family owns a fish and chips shop in Christchurch and he gave me the buisness card so i will have to go find it when I'm there ! I was taking to Theo about how I hadn't met any nice Greek boys, so he said he'd wink at me if one came in that he trusted as a good guy. lol.  I can't remember his name now but I chatted with him for a while and he was very nice and interested, but then didn't leave my side all night and Courtney kept refering to him as my boyfriend!
I headed out with Courtney and her friends over to another place which was filled with more military people and played hip hop music, I felt at home!!  I talked with some German guys as well and before ya knew it the night had flown by and it was something like 4 o'clock.
So I didn't make it on the hike today but it's my plan for tommorow.  Today I headed out around noon, and went to the harbor to book a 3 hour cruise, they go out to a couple of islands and let you snorkel. Sounded great.  Came back 2 hours later and they said they are canceling because its too windy. Of course!!  So I'm going on a 1 hour sunset cruise tonight, not as good as the islands and snorkeling but it's something to do at least so I can say i didn't waste my whole day in the internet cafe.  I did sit on a bench by the water for an hour and wrote in my journal and postcards. So that's something !  
I think i'm going to have to go to the doctors when I get home and get a screening for lung cancer. I'm sure I've breathed in more second had smoke than i have oxygen in the last 4 days.  It's unreal!!
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Jess on

I stumbled upon your blog as I'm on the plane heading to Greece...googled the bar, found it, and can't wait to visit! Thanks for the heads up. :)

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