Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Our ferry left Corfu for Patras 45 minutes late. The ride was pretty nice since we got to walk around and there were tables to sit at. If only we could travel by ferry everywhere. Since we left late, we were worried about missing our bus. Once it was time to disembark we started getting agitated about this. We rushed out of the port area and asked a lazy police officer which way to the buses. We hurried in the direction he pointed and finally arrived at the station to be told that the bus just left. Gah! We haggled with a taxi-driver who agreed to take us to our hotel which was in Selianitika for €35. That was an interesting trip! You know how people will say "Geeze, he drives like he's on a race track," and that normally means he drives really fast. Well this guy literally drove like he was on a race track. He ignored lane lines, including the yellow line that divides the road into it's opposite directions. When he accelerated we were all pushed back into our seats and he threw his car around the winding curves of the road. After 10 minutes in the car I was holding onto Chuck's hand for dear life! It was kinda fun in retrospect though. And he got us there safe and sound, surprisingly. Chuck and I were hungry so we went out and found the only restaurant that was still open and ordered souvlaki pitas. The owner was a tall man who looked like he could be a Texan in my opinion. He had one of those mustaches whose ends fall in a straight line along the edge of the mouth to meet with a tuft of beard on the chin. He was really friendly too. When we accidentally gave him €4 for our food instead of the €4.50 it actually cost he told us "It's ok, you can give it to me another time." We did pay him right then, but he was willing to let us walk away without paying the total! How nice.

We woke up in time for some breakfast downstairs which was, eh, okay. By 11:00 we were at the bus station waiting for the bus to Aegio. We waited almost an hour before it showed up. We tried to buy tickets from the driver but he spoke no English and eventually just waved us through to have a seat. He stopped at a roadside kiosk two minutes down the road and motioned for some money from us. He then hopped off the bus and actually bought us three tickets! I felt rather sheepish and guilty that he stopped to buy our tickets for us, but we didn't know that you couldn't buy them on the bus. Some places you can, some places you can't. We were very grateful that he was nice about it though. From Aegio we found the main bus station and caught the bus to Diakopto, our final stop. The plan was to take a scenic train ride up to Kalavryta and back. Since the train didn't leave for another hour or so we found lunch while we waited. It was pretty good - like a bacon, ham, cheese, and french fry pannini. The train ride was indeed beautiful, but not worth €19 a person. There was a distinct Splash Mountain (you know, the Disney World ride) feel to it. The mountains were massive red and tan rocks covered with pointy pine trees and scrubby brush. Below the rickety tracks was a lovely river that ran in little waterfalls over tiny cliffs and bubbled through piles of rocks. The river had me captivated the whole ride up - it looked so clear and inviting. I wanted to go play in it. At the top, in Kalavryta we got off the train for a 10 minute break. The ride back was still scenic, but I chose to read my book instead: Dan Brown's Deception Point. I thought his characters were rather flat and boring (although they had potential). The story itself was exciting, but felt like just a Hollywood script in book form. Entertaining but nothing great. Just in case you wee interested. Back at Diakopto we caught a train to Selianitika instead of going by bus. Did I mention how the train stations around here are different than most of the rest of Europe? Usually they have stern warnings about walking across the tracks and they build underground tunnels or overpasses to get across them. In Diakopto and Selianitika they don't care about that. The only way to get across the tracks is to just walk over them. I suppose they figure most people are smart enough to be able to cross the tracks without being hit all on their own. When we get off at Selianitika (which really has no actual station) we find goats on the train tracks. Their just grazing away and when they see us they stare at us with their goat eyes. For some reason goat stares are... creepy. At first I was all "Oh goats! Cool!" I figured since they were tethered I could just jump out of range if they got feisty. But as I approached them at they stared their goat-stare at me I chickened out. Creepy goats. Back at the hotel we were hungry so went to the place Chuck and I had gotten souvlakis the night before for dinner. Robyn ordered a Greek drink called Ouzo. It is an anise flavored liquor, and is pretty strong - about 40% alcohol. It's a neat drink though. If you go to the store and buy a bottle it's clear. Once you pour it into a glass of ice it turns cloudy. I looked this up and it turns out that there's a little chemical reaction that occurs call spontaneous emulsification. It occurs in many anise-flavored drinks and when the alcohol hits water it turns cloudy! Like a magic trick!

On the 6th we had breakfast at the hotel again, and I discovered the joys of Greek yogurt and honey. I'd never thought of this before and only tried it because I saw someone else do it. It's very good! I don't know how it would taste if you used non-Greek yogurt (whatever that's called). Greek yogurt has a thickness to it that blends well with the silkiness of the honey. So that was a nice discovery. Robyn ended up going to the beach (Selianitika is right on the coast) while Chuck and I hung around the hotel a bit longer. Our room looked right out across the water and the sun shone brightly on our balcony in the early morning, so I sat out there for a bit, enjoying the heat. We eventually got up and headed out for a walk. We found Robyn lying on the beach reading her book and stopped to harass her and skip stones for a bit. Chuck is pretty good at it - some of his skipped 7 or 8 times. I can only get little stones to skip twice. If I try to throw any harder for more skips, it ends up plopping into the water with no skips. We walked some more and eventually ended up back at the hotel. At some point we went and got some lunch. While sitting there looking out at the water (pretty much all the restaurants are on the water), I saw a blobby mass bobbing along. It turned out to be a big jellyfish, about one foot across. After we ate I checked on him again and found he had floated right up to the shore and was just brushing up against the rocks there, quite dead as far as I could tell. He looked like a dark pink brain covered in a thick layer of goo with a bunch of purple-y tassels hanging underneath him. Lovely. That was about the extent of our day - very laid back. I enjoy days like that.

On the 7th we ate our breakfast (yogurt and honey for me), packed, and checked out. We headed to the bus stop to catch the bus to Aegio, and this time we were sure to buy tickets beforehand at a corner shop. In Aegio we walked to the train station, which was quite run-down, and bought our tickets to Athens. Then we waited for 4 hours. When our train finally arrived it took us 10 minutes down the road to Diakopto where we were supposed to catch a bus. We could have walked that 10 minutes in our 4 hours of waiting! It all seemed a bit ridiculous, but whatever. From Diakopto we took a bus to Aegio and from there a train to Athens.

No comments:

Post a Comment