Startling revelations

Trip Start Apr 08, 2007
Trip End Oct 01, 2007

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Flag of Greece  ,
Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Mayu and I went on separate paths this morning, with her returning to Japan and me moving on back towards Italy. Subways are not meant for easy goodbyes. It doesn't help when neither person is 100% certain that the subway train is heading in where it needs to. Hopefully she got to the airport alright and was able to check in on time.

After seeing her off, I walked back to the hotel and packed my own stuff up. The main train station was conveniently located within 10 minutes walk of where we were staying, so that meant I was able to get there well ahead of my intended departure time. Compared to the inbound trip, there don't seem to be too many people going between Athens and Patras now, so getting a reservation was no problem.

Trains in Greece are weird. On the way in from Italy, we caught a train out of Patras which was meant to terminate in Corinth in time for an onward connection to Athens. For some bizarre reason the conductor came out about 30 minutes before our planned arrival in Corinth and herded everyone off onto a pair of buses. No explanation was given, so there's no telling whether it was a mechanical failure, a severely late connection that had to be remedied or something else entirely. The buses drove on to Corinth and we got on a brand spanking new train onwards to Athens. Then when we finally got into town, it proceeded several stations beyond the center of town towards the airport. Then it turned back around and hit the same stations once again before arriving at Larissa station. Eh?

So I had to go through the same strange arrangement of going three stops up, returning through the same stations and then going out towards the Peleponnese. The trains and depots all the way to Corinth are beautifully modern and slick, probably thanks entirely to the 2004 Olympics. Then at Corinth you have to jump off onto a dilapidated old set of train cars that are bewilderingly freezing on the inside (overactive AC evidently). From there the train rolls down to another station also called simply "Corinth" station (but much older and graffiti-ridden), stops, then reverse again and moves on. Half the foreign travelers on each leg couldn't tell whether they had taken the right train or not and were looking out the window paranoid at every stop.

Anyhow, I found out some very interesting information upon checking in at the ferry company's office. Apparently first-class railpass passengers are supposed to automatically receive free couchettes with their tickets. Funny how absolutely no one mentioned that on the ferry from Bari. Perhaps they were full up? Then again, I remember some of the Liverpudlians getting couchettes after departure. So our stupidly uncomfortable and restless voyage over could have been a lot more relaxing. Well, assuming the drunken football fanatics weren't as loud in the dormitories. Anyhow, Mayu's gonna flip when I tell her.

Here's hoping it's a restful night. So far it's looking pretty quiet on board.
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