Santorini to Athens – Thats All I Have To Say About That

So, the alarm goes off, and I’ve had 2.5 hours sleep.

A combination of watching boxing on American time, and catching up with blogs has ensured that I’ll be on struggle street a little today.

My head feels like it is on track, but my body just feels drained.

Bec gets up earlier than I do, and lets me know that she is heading down to the beach.

I get up about 30-40 mins later, and decide that I should go and join her on the beach. Being that she has the only key for the room, I just chuck some clothes on, and hop over our balcony, onto the landing out the front of the property. We are literally the first room in the complex, which means that if you walk up the steps to the apartments, and we are sitting out the front of our place, you can reach your hand across, and just say G’day.

Its kinda cool, but kinda not.

I mean, if I want to attempt to be naked again, then usually the privacy of a balcony might work. Not in this case.

I head down to the beach, and I see Bec just sitting there. I know she’s been there for a while, and she is sitting there so calm, that either something is up, or she is super chilled out. The closer I get, the more I see that the sea is sooooo still. The waves crashing on the shore are only about ⅓ the size of the smallest waves that we have seen so far. They’re so soothing and the water just has this beautiful glass-like look about it until the wave collects on the shoreline.

Its mental and so so calming.

It is the perfect way to start our last day in Santorini.

We hang out for a while by the shore, and take in everything that the beautiful beach has to offer. Give it a while before we bother to make our way back. The cool thing about travelling in the off-peak season is that we are able to pretty much do what we want. Most places we have been, are happy to just let you check out at lunchtime. This is a huge bonus, only because I am a lazy hoe while I am away on holidays.

Getting to Athens-1

We get our gear, load up everything that we have with us (which is slowly growing as time goes on), and we make our way to the bus stop. We need to catch a bus to Fria, then another bus down to the port. We get to the bus stop, and just behind us are this Taiwanese couple who are in Santorini for a break, but have been over, studying English.

At first, I am trying to exchange words in sentences so that it would make more sense, but to the trained ear, I would probably just sound like a sped trying to sound smarter than I really am. In actual fact, I am just trying to make their life easier to communicate. Once I find out that they are learning english, all the easy, baby words go out the window.

English?…

Oh…

You gon’ learn today!

Getting to Athens-3

I keep having to hold myself back from wanting to talk easy. You wanna learn english? You are going to finish the conversation with the knowledge that you have just heard every bit of slang in the english vocabulary.

“Soo…. Where you guys heading this arvo?”

I only get blank looks in return, but this time I am expecting it.

“Oh! Arvo means afternoon”
“Oh… Ok. Tank you”, I get back in return. This happens and continues to happen time and time again throughout our conversation. The guy seems to know a few more words than his female counterpart, but he still will have to hold up every now and then.

We exchange stories about each other’s countries, but I feel like I have got more to wow them with. We tell them about the kangaroos that you can pat at Lucky Bay, and tell them what Kangaroo meat tastes like. We’re pretty much the freak show everywhere we go in the world, but its ok. We make friends wherever we go.

One thing I was surprised to hear was how much Taiwan is influenced by western culture. For instance, it is very normal for Taiwanese to be given an English name in primary school, and it is very beneficial for you to learn English too. Very surprising.

We chat with them until our bus arrives.

The doors open, we chuck our bags in the baggage hold, and the ticket guy is hurrying us up, telling us to get on the bus. The door isn’t even closing before the bus starts moving again. Bec and I look at each other, and are confused. We caught the bus a couple times in Santorini, and never had that happen, but whatever.

Getting to Athens-4

We get off at our favourite cafe, which is where our bus to the port will pick us up from. We get the thickest piece of pizza you have ever seen, coffees, and then wait for the bus. We don’t have to be at the bus stop for a couple hours, but we also want to be early, so we just kinda try time is as best we can.

The bus rolls up, and Bec has been pacing the bus stop nervously, hoping that the bus wont be late. Every time we are in transit, we get nervous. The last thing you need is for one of the connections to not line up, and you’re screwed. The doors open, and it is the same bus as before, and yet again, the bloke on the bus is telling us to hurry up, and the doors have just opened. Its a bit of a laugh.

Getting to Athens-5

We ride the bus down the side of the island, zig zagging all the way down till we reach the concrete edge of the port. We hop out, carry our packs to the edge of the dock and just flump as we wait for the ferry to arrive. We see it coming from the edge of the island, and we are interested as to how it is going to dock. It was cool to watch it happening from the inside, but we are keen to see how it happens from the outside.

Getting to Athens-8

The water is crystal clear and has this rich turquoise hue. You can see right to the bottom of the port, and it doesn’t look like it’s just a meter or so deep. You could give a proper dive into that, and you would be fine, yet you can see clearly, right into the bottom of the water.

Getting to Athens-6

It’s truly mesmerising.

Getting to Athens-7

The ferry rolls in, and it is obvious that it is a pretty decent sized boat. Instead of coming to a halt and being spun around, it kinda just does this funky drifting manoeuvre, landing it’s ramp on the concrete landing at the port. We are super impressed. Whoever is manning that boat, knows what they are doing.

Getting to Athens-9

Its frigging poetry in motion.

Getting to Athens-10

It comes into the port with a decent speed to it, throw’s the back end out, and kicks the motors into place as it gentle against the face of the concrete wall. We are all getting ready to board the boat, and this chick next to us just asks if we have the time.

Yeah, we tell her time and get talking with her about where she is heading and what she is up to. Turns out that she is doing this whole international research on what alternative media is doing around the world. In my mind, alternative media doesn’t sound so great, but it is pretty much just media that isn’t owned by a corporation. We get talking about the politics of it, and how as journos, you need to be objective, but how in a way, it is almost impossible to completely objective when it comes to some discussions.

Alternative media is where people who feel strongly about a certain viewpoint don’t really need to be so objective because they’re often not making money from it, and therefore, there isn’t a need to be

Her name is Sandra, and her and her team have been studying this for the past 5 years. We jump on the boat with her, and she makes her way to the upper deck. She ends up sitting exactly where we had sat on the ride to Santorini.

We go to chuck our bags down in the baggage hold, and as we are stacking up the bags, I look in the tray, and there is Bec’s Medieval Times flag. We went to Medieval times while we were in NYC, and on our way to Santorini, while putting the bag in the cargo hold, the flag had snapped off. Nobody had come to collect the flag or clean the place up, so we were able to nick the flag.

Getting to Athens-11

The universe has spoken.

The flag comes with us again.

The biggest surprise we had was that nobody has bothered to clean up the place where people store their bags. Its left with all the stuff from the previous trips.

…including the flag we left behind.

We watch the sunset on the ferry as we chat with Sandra on and off throughout the 8 hour trip. We talk about the social issues in our respective countries and the different ways we see our governments actually helping and changing the situation. Its really interesting to hear and see the way things work in other countries, and also to hear of things that would seem to work, but don’t practically.

Getting to Athens-12

The sun sets, and it just shimmers across the ocean again, slowly slipping in behind the mountain ranges where the land meets the water. I get my camera out and teach Sandra a few new tricks on the camera. She is a real legend and continues to discover new features on the iPhone. One thing I didn’t know about the iPhone was that there is a feature where when you take the photo, it will record the last few moments, so that if you miss something in the moments leading up to the image, it will still capture it for you. How good is that?! But, I still give her a hand and show her how to get the most out of her phone’s camera, learning all the while.

Getting to Athens-15

We play cards, I blog, and Bec reads her book.

Just another casual ferry ride.

Getting to Athens-13

We worked out that so far, we have used most forms of travel already. Planes, Trains, Ferries, Cars, Scooters and Busses. I cant think of any others, but feel free to throw them at me so we can do them haha.

I look over to Bec in between blogs, and I see her mouth twitching and moving along with her eyebrows. “Oooooo. Who died?”
Bec looks over at me. She knows that she was pulling some face which gave it away.

This is good for me too, because this way, I know that I was on the money.

“You’re going to have to read it for yourself…”

Since we have been away, Bec has got all nice and cheeky, and that is exactly how I like it. Gotta be able to have a good laugh with each other.

We arrive at midnight, but it is just 11 something right now, and I am starting to feel pretty damn tired. I put my stuff down to have a nap, and then I see that we are pulling into Athens. I guess not then… We go and grab our stuff, and for the 2nd time, say by to Sandra. We hobble out the front of the boat, and follow the crowd. I am sure that Bec wasn’t sure where it was leading, but there were enough people going that way.

We get our tickets, and wait for the train.

Who else would it be, except for Sandra!

Getting to Athens-16

Our train arrives soon after, and as it pulls up, we get to see all this graffiti littered across the sides of the train. Sandra has been here before, and tells us that Athens is loaded with graffiti everywhere you go. Doesn’t matter what you build, when you built it and how much it cost to build it, it will have graffiti on it, no doubt at all.

We find a cozy little corner on the train, and Sandra just decides that it is easier to come and join us, instead of swapping booty sweat with someone else. I shuffle over as the train fills up, and my bag is on the other side of this chick. When I ask her for my bag, and she is on the phone, she doesn’t even break a sweat, she just picks my 20kg super-sized bag up with one arm, and passes it to me.

Getting to Athens-17

I am super impressed.

We get off at our station, and find out that we are only a few blocks away from her place. Sandra isn’t wrong though, everywhere you look, there is graffiti.

It would get to me if there was something important that they had no respect for, but most of the time it is the government buildings that get tagged. Every now and then, you see some graffiti on a point of importance or significance. The history is so rich in Athens that it is almost that they take it for granted.

We get to the front of our place and say by to Sandra. We stand out the front trying to work out how in touch with the guy. We find out that the place we are staying isn’t the number that we call. We actually call some sorta fitness business or something, so we ring that instead. Seconds later, the guy buzzes the door, and in we walk.

Getting to Athens-19

We step into the elevator, and we get moving up, but the really odd thing is that there are only two closed walls, so being that we were so jam packed in this closet elevator with our packs on, its either your sleeping bag that is girinding on the concrete levels that we are passing, or it’s your face. Bec went for the sleeping bag, and I just go tin the wrong way.

I had to lean back on the door way to make sure I wasn’t eating some Athenian concrete.

We reach level 7, and the guy opens the door.

He shows us around, and the bathroom is actually a kitchen with a bathroom in the corner, separated just by sheets being strung up.

We say thanks to our mate, as the room is super straight forward.

The bedroom we are staying in looks like a bit of a backyard job, but we also do get a balcony which is awesome.

Getting to Athens-20

We are really looking forward to Athens. We weren’t expecting to, but it happens all the time, where people will tell us how much we will love a place, and we don’t end up liking it so much, and other times that we really like a place, we feel like we have cut ourselves short a bit with it. Athens is one of them.

The atmosphere of the city is amazing.

The graffiti is really sick too, and we are doing the walking tour and getting to know everything we can about the city.

Come back for the next story,

Billy

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