Friday, May 11, 2007

Pirates Of The Mediterranean

What shall we do with the drunken sailor,
What shall we do with the drunken sailor,
What shall we do with the drunken sailor,
Early in the morning?

I'm the wrong person to ask that question to as neither did I see a drunken sailor, nor did I get up early in the morning to observe them, had they been drunken. Yes, the passage to Greece was pretty uneventful and I was mighty glad that I had managed to find a second-hand English bookshop in Haifa before leaving. The boat was a rather small ('only' 150m long) ferry that mainly transported containers although there were a handful of drivers sharing the passage with me. There wasn't much to do aboard except reading, sleeping and eating, all of which I did in abundance. I'm certain that the cook, despite being Greek, had learnt his trade at a greasy spoon cafe in the Eastend of London: breakfast consisted of bacon, processed sausage and eggs over-easy, whereas lunch and dinner were invariably a combination of pasta, potatoes and some sort of meat.

On the second day I was looking forward to some time looking around Limassol (Cyprus) but we were docked for only a few hours and were denied shore leave (and since the second mate had my passport I was in no position to argue). At least I knew I was well and truly back in Europe as the sky was heavily overcast and there was a constant miserable drizzle. Our excitement for the next day (it is in short supply on the monotonous seas and therefore has to be rationed) was passing between Rhodes and the southwesternmost tip of Turkey. But at least the sea was calm throughout the voyage, with only a slight, soothing rocking to accompany the low, enveloping vibrations of the motors. (How Odysseus managed to get lost for 12 years on these waters is completely beyond me.)

And now here I am in Piraeus, Athens's port. I'm somewhat disoriented and need time to regain my balance as I was popped out at the goods terminal some way out of town. I was looking around desperately for the immigration office but was told that there's no need (god bless the EU!) and so I hopped aboard a random bus and hoped it was going somewhere useful. I managed to find the town centre and an internet cafe as well as a metro station (yay!) and so now I am desperately searching for places to stay (anybody have some room to spare in Athens??).

1 comment:

Ex-Shammickite said...

I spent a week in Athens a few years ago. The husband at the time got his wallet stolen on the train from Athens to Piraeus. Pickpockets everywhere.
Unfortunately we couldn't visit any of the monuments (Parthenon, Acropolis, etc) as the Govt workers were all on strike and picketing the entrances.